Young Knives and UngdomskulenEdit this event
When images of rock and roll debauchery come to mind, one of the least likely exponents would surely be The Young Knives. Tweed blazers, eloquent speaking voices and a bassist called the House Of Lords: not exactly the sort of people you'd put at the top of the hellraiser's list. Except tonight, one unfortunate girl has the cuts and bruises to prove otherwise courtesy of Henry Dartnall's shotput attempt with a can of Red Stripe... but more of that later...
Later being the operative word all around this evening, as elongated soundchecks cause the doors to open almost an hour later than scheduled, and having taken refuge in a nearby hostelry, my return coincides pretty much with the final few notes of The Housewives’ set. Never mind, there's always next time.
Norwegian trio Ungdomskulen ('Middle School' as the translation goes) are next, and despite their sludge rock sounding quite out of place for such a setting as this, their Seattle-inspired noise fares well on this unusually busy Monday evening. Veering somewhere between Helmet and a Scandinavian Spinal Tap, Ungdomskulen certainly make a change from your average indie slop and in 'Surfs Up' have a genuine tune of undeniable worth.
For The Young Knives, tonight is almost like a homecoming gig. Hailing from Ashby just up the road and having played many a show in the city both in this and their previous incarnation (Simple Pastoral Existence), the reception they receive on arrival suggests many an old acquaintance has turned out this evening, which is just as well as it seems the main exercise of the current tour is to road test new material.
No less than nine of the 15 songs delivered - albeit impeccably - this evening have barely left the rehearsal room, so patience is fairly high on the agenda, particularly for those only here to hear the singles.
Fortunately, the band are in good spirits, mostly joking about the previous night's show in Liverpool which the H.O.L. describes as "possibly the worst we've ever played!", and apologising at least once before and after every new song. So what of the new material? Well it's not really a massive shift in sound to what we've all come to expect, but there are certainly one or two that stand out, most notably 'Fit For', which sounds like Space in a new wave time capsule (sample lyric: "Hey runner, what you running from? This world's not fit for you") or the insatiably jerky pop of 'Counters' ("We're not numbers, we're the counters!"), which sounds like the Police minus the pseudo-intellectual Stingisms.
Other highlights are current single 'Terra Firma', which gets better with every listen even if the second part of the chorus makes me want to sing "Come… Play… My... Game..." from The Prodigy's_ 'Breathe' over the top of it. _'Light Switch' meanwhile is possibly the Young Knives' first attempt at a ballad-esque love song, although no doubt by the time it's recorded it will have changed dramatically. Spliced with the obvious hits - 'Here Comes The Rumour Mill' and 'Weekends And Bleakdays' being obvious crowd-pleasers - the set is at least a departure from the expected.
And so we get to the encore. Returning with another new song and hotly tipped to be the next single 'Up All Night', Henry Dartnall decides to take a sip from his can of Red Stripe before launching the contents - at least three-quarters of a container's worth - sky high through the air like Geoff Capes back in the day. Unfortunately, one poor girl near the back of the room takes a blow to the head as the can falls back to earth while the band play 'She's Attracted To', blissfully unaware of the commotion below.
There is therefore a moral to this story: before purchasing a ticket for future Young Knives shows, make sure you get your hands on some protective headwear.
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