Tenner and AmberEdit this event
A cold, wintery night in Coventry seems like a strange place to see Spearmint. Having received an 8/10 review for their album in the usually conservative NME, I’d expect a better turn out than tonight. As part of a club night, they are stuffed into a small room and by and large playing to a mostly disinterested and sparse crowd. Supported by Food Records’ latest tax write-off Tenner and local bunch Amber, Spearmint certainly prove to be an entertaining way of spending an evening.
Opening are the unbilled Amber, who prove to be a big surprise of the night. This bunch of young students at first sound unsure and derivative, but as their set draws on, they prove to be versatile and highly entertaining. Singer Mark may hog the mike stand like Thom Yorke, he may even have Thom Yorke’s moves down to a tee, but they’re not mere radio head copyists. Mixing together the best elements of Muse , Radiohead, early Suede with that indefinable something unique that all bands need means this band are one to seriously watch out for. Some of the material may be embryonic and thrashy, but other songs shine with a delicate touch and tender arrangements that emote places a lot of other bands just don’t reach. Well worth looking out for.
Next up are Tenner, who are everything that Amber aren’t. How this lot managed to land a deal is a mystery to me, and they look like being the Grass Show of the year 2000, they are that undeserving. The singer looks and acts like Matty Blagger, with all of the attitude but none of the talent ; the bass player wants to Richey manic and Paul draper all at once, and the guitarist would like to be Bernard butler. They don’t even come close. Full of rock star pretentiousness and ego (the singer makes a point of staying off stage until the moment he sings), this band are a tax dodge waiting to happen. Musically they are derivative, unoriginal, middle of the road indie with no distinguishing features or originality. Food Records are best advised to sack all their A&R staff right now if this is the quality of acts they are signing, and that’s no word of a lie.
Coming on like a breath of fresh air are Spearmint. Touring to support their recent critically acclaimed new album “Oklahoma!” , complete with Christmas theme, the band cut themselves a rug of fey indie-pop and sparkly tunes. Complete with a simple but effective stage set of glittery lights, tinsel and Christmas trees, they wish us a merry Christmas before playing a great many tracks form their new album, old songs and new songs (the unavailable “Julie christie” for example). , before dedicating “Sweeping the Nation” to all those brilliant bands you’ve never heard of, playing album tracks “Oklahoma!”, and “the Locomotion” amongst many others. Shirley lee comes across like a younger Jarvis Cocker (and admit it, those NHS specs don’t help, seeming more like a intentional homage to Jarvis than ever). Musically the band are like a cross between Pulp, Future Bible Heroes, Steven Merritt (Magnetic Fields), and all the fey indie pop you’ve ever dreamed : all deeply unfashionable of course, and all the better for it. Some of us might be better off not raging against the machine but to these lot reclined in a comfy sofa , feet on lino reminiscing how much better things were in the 70s’ if this is the way forward, a perfect air of nostalgia for this band which evoke a none-more indie attitude. But in a nice way of course. Spearmint may be out of place or out of date, when the indie scene looks forward to the new Acoustic Movement, ; i.e. which the NME made up when they tried to lump together lots of bands that were selling records that they couldn’t catergorise any other way, because they wanted to sell papers and after all, this was happening without their permission, and theres nothing the music press hate more than that!). So much so in fact, that in 6 months time they might be the next big thing. You never know eh?