Tonight’s bill is absolutely band-packed full with artists on Easyworld’s former indie label Fierce Panda, giving the punters more new music than they could have possibly expected for the price of their gig ticket. There’s even a band on after the headliners, but more about that later.
I’m afraid that I missed Coin-Op but arrived just as (X) Is Greater Than (Y) came onstage, who seem like a competent enough band with lots of loud-quiet-loud bits, not unlike Jimmy Eat World. Perhaps this means they’re EmoCore, but the sheer volume of the loud bits made it very difficult to pick out any discernible tune. Even the cello (yes – a cello) was impossible to hear above the squall. A little attention to dynamic range could reap rewards.
The next act on – Simple Kid – initially did little to dispel the initial impression of him being a busker. Onstage alone for his first number, with straggly hair poking out from under a scruffy baseball cap, a harmonica holder round his neck and flying V guitar, he proceeded to play some rather excellent catchy, scratchy pop. His band, in contrast, were dressed in tuxedos with slicked back hair, and the last song bizarrely had a drum beat not unlike Genesis‘s Mama. Apparently the recent single I Am Rock was a favourite of Mark and Lard on Radio One, and rightly so. Simple Kid is breath of slightly deranged fresh air and definitely one to watch.
Anyway, on to Easyworld. This three-piece from Eastbourne did well to not sound like their fellow hometowners Toploader; unfortunately they’ve opted for another band of crushing mediocrity, The Longpigs. Rather brattish vocals, supplied by vocalist Dav Ford, convey pent-up teenage angst and frustration alright, but the songs are musically unambitious and fail to justify the effort made by Dav’s poor larynx. Foxy and foxlike bassist Jo Taylor makes an attempt at sloganeering by wearing a T-shirt scrawled with Better Than Good – perhaps inviting a scornful reviewer to retort: “You’re not even better than average.” However, we’ll try and rise above that kind of jibing here and look on the bright side. The band’s recent single Bleach stands out as a Wheatus-style romp – perhaps they may yet strike lucky and get the title track of a Dawson’s Creek-style US TV show.
Temptingly, a last minute addition to the bill was announced on the night – a Texan 25-piece “orchestral rockestral poptastic combo” called The Polyphonic Spree, seen recently at David Bowie‘s Meltdown supporting The Divine Comedy. I was intrigued to find out what ‘rockestral’ means but it got to midnight and the band still hadn’t materialised. Now, I know it sounds pretty un-rock’n'roll guys, but some of us have gotta get up in the morning, I don’t care how “rockestral” you are.