Six By Seven, David Kitt, and The (International) Noise ConspiracyEdit this event
Seating gigs. What’s all that about, eh? Not only that, but seating gigs where people ACTUALLY STAY SEATED. And so Bowie’s Meltdown festival continues, and what a good lineup it is tonight.
David Kitt plays his semi-acoustic tales of woe and so forth, looking pretty terrified while doing so. The venue gives off an odd theatre vibe, where people are drop-dead quiet inbetween songs. How terribly polite. Kitt doesn’t say much but seems to charm over the audience. Music to suffer hangovers to. It will ease the pain, believe me.
Nottingham gods of doom, namely DiS-faves Six By Seven, look equally uncomfortable in the theatre surroundings. Their sound wasn’t as booming as it could’ve been (well it might’ve been at the front – I was stuck several rows back), which is when 6x7’s sound suits them best. At a 6x7 gig you would want to be surrounded by the sonic airwaves they create like no other band. ‘American Beer’ and ‘So Close’ started well but lost it a bit towards the end – normally building into that magnificent wall of sound, this time somewhat of an anti-climax. ‘The Way I Feel Today’ finishes the six-song set and it’s only now I realise how much of a better single this would’ve made than ‘All My New Best Friends’ (notably absent tonight). This is 6x7 at their true poppiest and heartfelt.
No surprises who was going to steal the show tonight though. The music of Mercury Rev fills the room and rocks your soul. Epic soundscapes of cinematic proportions with Jonathan Donahue's fragile warbling, plus his new-found sense of showmanship (been getting tips from snapping-at-the-heels Flaming Lips, I’ll bet) make for something very, very special indeed.
There is bugger-all in their set to please the fans of fuzzpop ‘Rev of old, though the unexpected twist on Talking Heads’ ‘Once In A Lifetime’ (lyrically, at least) raises a few smiles. No surprise is the majority of the set taken from ‘All Is Dream’ but it’s all so damn good it doesn’t matter a sausage. The influence of The Band is even more apparent than ever, giving them that timeless feel many bands will forever lack.
What Mercury Rev did lack a few years ago was charisma, and they also struck me as being a bit distant from the audience. Somewhere down the line that’s changed. They now connect with you, bring you into their world, yet still remain a band miles above most others. As he sings, “what appears like an angel, stabs like a dagger” - nobody’s perfect, and Mercury Rev aren’t perfect, but tonight they made me want to puke with happiness, as they have done every time I’ve seen them. And just how ace is ‘Little Rhymes’?! They get a standing ovation. How terribly polite.
At the opposite end of the sonic soundscape spectrum are The (International) Noise Conspiracy, who finish the night downstairs with a free gig. For all their politik and posturing, some of their songs like ‘Smash It Up’ sound more like the garage rockiest-moments of Inspiral Carpets (with even worse haircuts) than the band would probably believe. There’s also a healthy dollop of The Make-Up in there too. No bad thing. The band are fun. They are ridiculous. The singer has the longest microphone lead I have ever seen, allowing him to run round the mixing desk and taunt the people hiding at the back. Good stuff!
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