Tuesday, 14 August 2007

The Masonics, Preston Pfanz & The Seaton Sands, The Rohypsters, Lord Rochester(?) - Blackfriars

Late night kickoffs ain't good for the soul but, neither is stumbling into the wrong gig at 10pm on a Sunday eve...especially when the band on stage is a horrible amalgam of ex-international football and rugby players. Having shaken off thoughts of John Beattie and Gordon Smith playing pub rock, I successfully enter the basement of Blackfriars to find no wannabee footballers wives in sight and only the rumour of an audience.

Thankfully, around five minutes later the first act of the evening and a smattering of paying customers appeared. Lord Rochester (?) and his cohorts were not on the billing but sparked off this Beatsville Records evening with perfectly pitched rock 'n' roll at it's purest, unadulterated, tartan sports jacket wearing, lo-fi, fiddletastic best.

The Rohypsters are a different story altogether and would likely beat the opening act to death with their own shoes. Of all the acts on show, The Rohypsters are a darker affair but maintain the garage rocking sensibility with the addition of fried guitars and their own brand of prowling menace.

Also through from Edinburgh for the night, Preston Pfanz & The Seaton Sands are a return to the cool clean sounds of rocking days gone bye. Immaculate instrumentals, paired with gentle choreographed sways and melodies to soothe the ol' soul just as you realise it's now Monday morning and you've got to go to work in 5 hours.

Headcoats, Pop-Rivets, Milkshakes...it's a who's who of who's played with Billy Childish when it comes to The Masonics but, on nights like these it's time for them to take their own moment in the spotlight...or pitch darkness...ah, the lights have just come back on...no...actually...they're off again. The Masonics ain't flustered by the temperemental lighting...until the audience are revealed in all their horrific glory by which time they're focused on battering through the opening numbers of their set.

It's a tight, punchy, set from the veterans who are capable of playing this set with their eyes closed...all the better then as they probably can't see their instruments. Fellow Childish scenester Ludella Black saunters on for a handful of numbers for some vocal variety midway through.

Maybe I was just cream crackered, maybe The Masonics were equally tired, with the clocks nudging towards 2am but, there was something missing from their set. There's no spark...no unbridled joy that has been present in their previous work. Perhaps it's all to easy, well within their comfort zone and missing the nervous energy that made Lord Rochester's opening act so memorable. Overall the show was well rounded and covering all the rock 'n' roll bases it can but, Beatsvilles' pick of the bunch featured unfortunately during the previous evening rather than headlining the start of the new day.

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