Live Music + Gig Reviews

Paleday @ Water Rats, London

9 May 2000

Surprises DO happen. Walking towards the Water Rats in Kings Cross last Tuesday, it suddenly struck me how truly awful the pop music scene has been this year. There has been no real talent emerging, and there has been a huge amount of re-releases and cover versions recently which shows that, to quote a slightly overused cliche, “they can’t write songs like they used to”. So it was with maybe a little bit of dread that I entered this venue, which is more usually associated with grunge and heavy metal than pop. I walked out at the end thinking how naive I had been.

For this venue (no more than a large pub) was treated to something rather special that night – a half hour set by Paleday.

Paleday is fronted by Anthony Stubbs, who co-writes all the songs with Stephen Farrier, who plays hand percussion and backing vocals. They have been working together for six years, and in the past they had mainly concentrated on soundtracks for theatre productions. In early 1999, they decided to form a band, and they named themselves after a ballad they had written several years previously.

The first thing that must be said is that they are all hugely talented. The keyboard player was unable to play in the set, as he was touring with another band, but it was probably better that way because the minuscule stage could hardly fit the seven other members of the band that were present.

The band are influenced by several people – most notably Pet Shop Boys, Simply Red, Lighthouse Family and Jamiroquai. This is reflected in their varied styles of music. They started their set with a couple of simple pop ‘anthems’.

After playing a haunting slower song, they demonstrated their musical and technical diversity by branching off into great Jamiroquai-induced funk sounds. This song was probably the best one that they played. They then played their debut single, High, which has a summery, light feel to it. It has an extremely memorable chorus, which I couldn’t get out of my head for ages (in the event it was probably a good thing). Paleday ended their far-too-short set with a medley of two great ‘disco’ influenced songs, with which we were told were the songs they always ended their set with.

Most interesting of all was the brilliant sound balance they got. The whole band had an excellent stage persona, and at the end of their set I just wanted to hear more. Their songs have witty lyrics, beautiful melodies, and catchy choruses. This is most definitely a band to watch out for.

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More on Paleday
Paleday: “Our vibe is cars in summer, coffee table, chardonnay, that sort of thing” – Interview
Paleday @ Water Rats, London