Monday 31 August 2009

The Martial Arts - The Legion

Its a loud indie rock night from the mighty Tasty Fanzine.

My attractive young ladyfriend thinks the venue is nice, like a department of an All Saints shop, the clientel all wearing black white and shades of brown.

Its rock, not too hardcore, but rock, amongst other fashion vibes, in attendance.

A hushed silence falls over the audience as they take to the stage, The Martial Arts have traveled a long way to be here tonight.

Few people believe the story about how the got to number three in the Swedish album charts but I swear its true. How their MySpace page demos were picked up by a record label and they were flown by helicopter to Stockholm to record the album and then returned to semi-obscurity in Glasgow.

Green Day urgency in the vocals and drums, but fronted by Paul Kelly (who's looking more and more like David Tennent every time I see him).

They started off with their heavier tracks which some found it jarring compared to the rest of the set.

I was trying to explain how I thought The Martial Arts sound like Elvis Costello, but tonight they're not so much, with just Paul's scratchy vocals and 'woah woah wah's.

Nic Denholm joins them on keyboards for a couple of songs, introduced by a convoluted story about The Owsley Sunshine and Joe Kane. Only a couple of people in the crowd know or care. I do, I like the Venn diagram of the Glasgow bands overlap. Pete Frame could do a cracking rock familytree.

Stand out tracks of the set have to be 'Duality' and 'Exploding Crushing Inevitable'. The whole album is available to download for free from here. It was a cracking night, I'm wondering if it was the first time they've played London and will The Martial Arts be back soon?

Saturday 22 August 2009

Inspirition - Dusk Till Dawn

Inspirition appear to be a woman with a splash of pink hair and a turquoise shawl over a Katie-Jane Garside dress, and a grey bearded gentleman on guitar.

Could have been a jazz singer in a previous life, but tonight Matthew she's going to be Kate Bush. The chap is going to be the tuition cover CD from Total Guitar magazine.

They've come from the west country to be with us tonight and left the rest of the band at home. They could have done with bringing a backing tape with them, rather than this. Its not mixed right, the vocals make you wince occasionally and the guitar needs reverb and the treble turned down a smidgen.

I've heard Kate Bush-alikes with lone axe accompaniment before, and its rarely done well. Here its abrasive when it ought to be more gentle.

There's something of the Tortoise Shout about her and the introductions to the songs, she's got a good voice, its just tonight its packed wrong, I bet they sound great on record

Hang on a moment, shouldn't this place be called "Dusk 'Til Dawn" rather than "Dusk Till Dawn"? For typographic reasons I'll let them off the missing apostrophe but misspelling the abbreviated 'until' seems a bit more wrong. Hmm, oh my mistake. As you were.

Witness To The Beard - Dusk Till Dawn

Officially the finest band name of 2009, Witness To The Beard are a London-based three-piece, I know the drummer off of the internetz.

Dusk Till Dawn is an odd wee venue, in the middle the Archway roundabout. Its a warm night so there's a crowd drinking outside, but inside its starting to fill up for Witness To The Beard's second ever gig. Some day these people will be proud members of 'the Beard Army.

They start off a little grungey I thought, but then it carries you away on a wave of roughed up Kingmaker riffs and Longpigs howling. They've got a rare appreciation for guitar hooks, and the tall bass chap does some neat noodling.

The grunge gives way to some nice warm fuzzy bluesy numbers, like a duvet soaked in hot totty. But the White Stripes cover felt a wee bit flat, aiming to be like the original version when they could have made it more their own.

Then a weird thing happens that catches me off-guard, the guitar and bass players swap round, the drummer swaps round her drum sticks and they start to sound like The Fall.

All shouts and jagged chord changes. Hammering into yer heid like rusty railroad spikes. Its wondeful.

The Beard Army's chanting 'Witness! Witness! Witness!' between songs is strangely infectious.

Some songs come over like The Hector Collectors have grown a set of balls. A final cutdown medley of rock hooks, kind of like the Witness equivalent of !!!!111!!roflcopter!!

Truly they are the future sound of London rock, and one day we shall all bear Witness To The Beard.