I haven't been to too many gigs over the last three months, I'm not sure why. The ones I did go to were on the whole quite cool. I've reviewed all the bands I've seen, except some of the ones I reviewed last issue and who played exactly the same set.
The Farnham Maltings
Wow! What has happened to Avalanche? Well they've changed their name to Silverstream, have a different singer and a batch of new songs that made them sound like the Sex Pistols jamming with Hot Chocolate. The last number was particularly rocking, although their set lacked anything as anthemic as 'White Chameleon'.
Jetpack were definately one of the most popular bands of the day. Their tuneful emo rock is certainly very entertaining live and also on record, proof of which is their 'Neck Mohican' EP. The tracks from that single, 'An Elderly Game' and 'Superhero', although brilliant, did not go down as well as some of their new, faster material. Look out for this band in the future, their live set is particularly cool.
Daytona are a good band, but because they were the only band of the day not to have a strong local support, the reaction towards them was a bit lukewarm. That was a shame because their songs are strong, epic rock that is easily accessible, yet still with an edge. Headliners Inter were as enjoyable as ever; their new songs are going to make a storming album, when they eventually get round to releasing it. I especially liked 'National Paranoia' and 'Radio Finland', both should be on the album. I was disappointed that in their long set they didn't play 'Do You Feel Lucky?' though, I hope they haven't discarded it altogether.
I didn't see all the bands on the acoustic stage, but the ones I did were cool and laid back. Not many people were around for Sonic Blue, but those who were saw some passionate singing and excellent songs. Dick Savage is a good singer/songwriter, his best track being the attack on British snobbery, 'English Arrogance', and the Who Moved The Ground? stuff is solid as well. By far and away the finest band on the stage were The Scrutineers. Their quirky lo-fi jazz mix is not to be missed! I think the singer said that the band had a single out soon, and I advise you to check it out. They produced startingly refreshed music, which created an electric mood, despite the acoustic guitars.
ASH, IDLEWILD, CHICKS
Guildford Civic Hall
First up were new Irish grrl-power band Chicks, who combined punk with pop in the same glitzy way that Kenikie did. All in all, fairly average stuff with lots of high pitched vocals and basic chords, but they are young and will no doubt write some classier songs in the future. Idlewild were completely riotous, but disappointingly played exactly the same set that they did at Reading. Oh well, it was still a frenzied set, with the best moment being the electric 'Everyone Says That You're So Fragile'.
I don't think enough people have bought Ash's latest album, 'Nu-Clear Sounds', there seemed to be too many people at this gig who just wanted to hear 'Girl From Mars' and didn't have a clue what the new material sounded like. Congratulations to the band therefore, for putting on a great show. Their new songs truly rocked: 'Jesus Says', three chords but still sounding magic, 'Numbskull', a ferocious thrash, 'Fortune Teller', a tuneful punk track which I reckon is one of their best ever. I've got to admit though, their old stuff is equally good. Yes. 'Girl From Mars' did whip the crowd into a frenzy but, suprisingly, so did the tracks from 'Trailer'. The best songs of the evening were ones that the band had altered significantly from their recorded counterparts. 'Innocent Smile' was dragged out into a droning, feedback- riddled minimalist composition and the final number 'Kung Fu' has a break beat interlude to keep the crowd in suspense before the climatic chorus. All in all, an excellent gig, made even more so by the brilliant support bands.
SATELLITE BEACH, DC RHINO, JC REGULATOR
Aldershot West End Centre
Support acts JC Regulator and DC Rhino were fairly average. I think JC Regulator were better, particularly the earlier songs which had a throttled pop edge. The singer's voice was cool too, a distinctive, throaty garble. DC Rhino, although sporting a Britpop image produced more of an industrial noise. It was very loud, and technically adept, but needed more variety in sound to keep prolonged interest.
There was a large crowd watching these support bands, so it was very diappointing that Satellite Beach only played to a handful of people, while most stayed in the bar. Their glam-grunge set was not exactly awe-inspiring, but enjoyable on the night. I'd say the single 'Psycho' was their best song, with its strong riffs and rousing chorus. I think Satellite Beach need a large crowd to listen to their music, because although they played well, their brash songs felt a bit empty in a small room.
REDWOOD, JETPACK, KILTER, ENERTIA
Woking H.G. Wells Suite
I last saw Enertia eighteen months ago, and remembeed thema s being a fairly bland grunge outfit with not many tunes. However, they have improved greatly since then, and the crowd really warmed to their blend of pop and grunge. Their best songs were 'Say Something' and 'Don't Believe', which were short and had an impact, unlike their final song, that droned on for ages and was easily their poorest. It's good to see a band who have improved a lot though.
I felt sorry for Kilter, because they are a fine band with some excellent poignant and abrasive songs, but playing them in front of an audience who wanted to hear mainstream punk and metal is bound to result in failure. There was nothing wrong with their performance, the final song and 'Solar' being particulalry enjoyable, but the almost muted response must ahve been hard for the band. In complete contrast were Jetpack who are fast, hard and punk and also brilliant, and played the set of the night. 'The Holiday Song' rocked, the new material is sounding great, and 'An Elderly Game' was furiously melodic. Even their weaker songs are fun because the band just give off so much energy. Definately the local band of the year.
This was Redwood's first gig in about six months and it's obvious they've been writing a few songs for the impending new album. 'Strange' was a commendable tune, with a typical strong Redwood chorus. Although 'Tonight You Belong To Me' was by no means a great song, it was very speedy and I can see it becoming a live favourite. Amongst the rest of their short set the band played the old track 'Gone', B-side 'TV Eye' and a selection of tracks from the last album, which the audience enjoyed the most. All in all, a cool set with some nice suprises, but I have seen them play better.
Issue 2 Contents
Issue 2 Spring '99 © Tim Bragger