Anyone else there?
It was a cracking night and much better than last year when we were evacuated cos of a bomb scare across the whole of Birmingham.
The evening kicked off really well with Una Corda. Two guitars, two bassists and a drummer. No vocals. Post rock if you like, although at times they rocked like a mofo. A fantastic opener.
Next up was Voice of The Seven Woods. A two part show with one part just guitar and sparse vocals and the second part the same with some pretty cool drums. It was sort of folkey with a Turkey/Middle East twang strangely enough.
Then on to Hanne Hukkelberg. It was pleasant enough and it's not often you see a sax and a banjo in the same set but despite the oddness (which also included the use of an upturned bike miked up to catch the sound of the chain, which made me think of Mulligan and O'Hare from Vic and Bob) it was just a touch too bland for my liking.
A quick visit to the cinema to watch a doco called Neil Diamond Parking Lot. It did what it said on the tin - vox pops of people waiting for a Neil Diamond concert in a parking lot. A disturbing insight into middle of the road, middle aged America.
Next up were Knives. Ace! Like a heavier Youthmovie SS, full of time changes and stop starts. It rocked a big one and they really did give it some welly. I was especially impressed with the singer who when belting out one line, covered the front row with a nice shower of gob.
US Maple were, well a bit 'meh'. Apparently they challenge the preconceptions of what it is to be a rock band. This means that they all just pretty much do what they like. Individuality's great and I like a musical tangent as much as the next man but it did pretty much nothing for me.
Having heard the latest Broadcast album, i was quite up for their sultry synth rock. They seemed to start where US Maple left off. A dreadful start. One song was stopped after 20 seconds with an 'oh fuck that' strop from the moody lead lady who insisted something was wrong with the sound levels. When it kicked back in, the sound was worse. When they did play their new stuff, it was really good but the old, much looser stuff sounded really out of place, it didn't suit them.
Then on to the act of the day. The mighty mighty (not Bosstones) Isis.
Wow. Just fantastic. The epitome of what it is to be a tight live hard rock act. They put most to shame with the sheer quality of sound and skill. It all sounded incredible. I'm not overly familiar with the stuff before Oceanic so i'm not sure which were new songs but one unfamiliar one really stood out. It made my ribs shake with the double bass drum.
The last act of the night was the none more metal - High On Fire. These guys might as well be called We Are Heavy Metal, although that's a crap name. Ridiculous guitar hero posturing. Smoke and fans blowing masses of hair. Screeches, wails, pounds, blasts and grunts. Absolutely metal up your bottom.
I was stood next to Isis who seemed to be loving it too.
Just to finish this too long drivel off, I spoke to Isis' drummer and the Fishtank session between them and Aereogramme will be out in a month.