Live Music + Gig Reviews

Aereogramme + Dirt Magic + Thomson @ The Monarch

4 June 2002

I’m late. I’ve been running through the gobbing rain and I’m completelysoaked. So to finally get my arse into the dry and intimate surroundings ofthe Monarch is wonderful.

Its only 8.45 and, bizarrely, it’s already packed. This is almostunprecedented for so early on a Wednesday night. And all these people arehere for a support act; Thomson.

They’re half way through a song when I drag myself in. It soundssuspiciously like The Rembrandts. Remember them? They were the heathenbastards who did made that “catchy” ‘Friends’ theme tune. Catchy like herpes.

The first thing I notice from these Hives labelmates is everyone’s inuniform. Cashing in on their more successful playmates or loving the look?They sport green army jackets with the Thomson insignia on shoulders orbacks. It looks the Yen sign without the Y at the top.

They sound like Dad Rock, that irritating middle-class warbling a laStereophonics. Almost completely unadulterated Dad Rock. The third from lastsong sounds like a Kelly Jones / Bruce Springsteen collaboration, as bad asthat sounds.

There is, on the other hand, one song that saves their proverbial bacon.The second to last is a great Rolling Stones bluesy rock’n’roll number withlovely harmonised vocals from the two lead singers and very pretty melodicguitar. Nice.

Dirt Magic follow this emotional wallowing with a sound we’ve heard athousand times before. Unfortunately, it was better the first thousand.

The lead singer is an extremely shaggable PJ Harvey lookalike, but youcan see the pleading in her eyes. Pleading to be… PJ Harvey. Sorry luv,it’s not gonna happen.

Each song is virtually indistinguishable from the last and is far fromanything original. Harsh riffs and crashing symbols abound, but for thelife of me I can’t remember a single lyric or song title that caught myattention.

And so we get to saving grace with Aereogramme. These teamsters areperfect for a depressing summer’s evening in the garden, watching the sun godown and lamenting over memories.

Their lilting Beta Band-esque guitars drift over you while a darkerundercurrent pervades throughout via Radiohead licks. Each songs wandersinto the next and the band don’t really bother introducing them so theeffect is one of prolonged beautiful anguish.

So I end the night with a comfortable depression and the smell of wetleaves all around me from everyone who got caught in the shower. So I leavewith Aereogramme, still playing in my head.

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Aereogramme – Seclusion
Aereogramme + Dirt Magic + Thomson @ The Monarch