Edit this event
- Rock City, Nottingham »
- The Grates »
Aussie trio The Grates - for the purpose of this tour they're operating as a four-piece, as a keyboard twiddler known only as Dan has been helping out - find themselves in the unlikeliest of settings this evening, playing to a room of almost 2,000 people, most of whom couldn't really give a damn whether they turned up, played or just disappeared off the face of the Earth to be honest.
Having been given the unenviable task of opening for one of the country's most successful pop acts means a disparagingly partisan audience to contend with also, and when pink-clad singer Patience Hodgson arrives on stage, leaping about like a jacqueline-in-the-box after a heady dose of Red Bull and Bally Blast pills before the rest of the band even pick up an instrument, only the brave can predict what happens next.
Because, rather than switch off, head for the exits or the confines of the bar, the slightly confused throng lap it up like a hot dalmatian with a bowl of Evian on a fine summer's day. Ably assisted by her fellow bandmates (the aforementioned Dan, bassist John Patterson and drummer Alana Skyring), the hyperactive singer veers between Björk-approved kookiness, Karen O-style goofiness and Jemina Pearl-tinged tirades, each and every one accompanied by a glowing smile reminiscent of the head sixth form girl you and your mates fancied for the last nine months of your school days, even if no one else did.
Musically there's a slight nod to Join Hands-period Banshees, pre-Kurt pantomime Hole and post-grunge DIY Brits the Voodoo Queens and Mambo Taxi. The likes of 'Message' and 'Inside Outside' startle and stutter with dual aplomb, while 'Rockboys', naturally dedicated to "all the good looking guys in here", is the kind of insidious, heinous lament (chant?) that your cool friends will insist you should hate. But we know better, don't we?
By the time they've rattled through 14 songs in just under half an hour, a tale of the unexpected is borne by the fact their new converts shout for an encore. Of course they don't come back, but then surely that's the whole point, leaving you in suspense crying out for a second dose. And make no mistake, when The Grates return to these shores, there'll be no shortage of patients-in-waiting.
Photos by Neil McGwyre