The Toilet Circuit Diaries #4: The Souls, The Chalets, Maximo Park... and... more!“We demand more live reviews!” scream DiS forum users. Well, one or two of you anyway. It’s true we DiS folk do go to lots of gigs. It’s also true that we have lives (some of us anyway) and jobs (some of us anyway) and do other things like university and school and football and ‘Horace Goes Skiing’ and thus it would be stooooooopid to try and write 500 words about everything. Plus we just get drunk and forget it all anyway. Notepads? What? PAPER? Rubbish.
But lo! and indeed behold! For the extremely irregular Toilet Circuit Diaries is back. CORRRRRR!!! Previously we introduced you to The Rakes. This time… we don’t! Har har har!
Right. Anyway. Some recent London gigs your humble scribe can remember – with as few Art Brut-related side projects as possible - are as follows (chronological order is not important, though it may have accidentally ended up that way):
Over to the Pleasure Unit (look! A Lambretta in the DJ booth!) we brave the temptation of Brick Lane curry pimps and cheap bagels (mmm, bagels) and make it to the venue for the G-Spot festival/fund-raiser in time for Piranha Deathray, who’re still only a few gigs old but getting really rather good at this prowling-around-the-stage-and-sounding-a-bit-like-the-Birthday Party sort of thing, though blonde Jeremy doesn’t sound as pissed off as Nick Cave (possibly a Good Thing) and moustached Jeremy suffers some bass amp problems (Bad Thing). Is that a member of Mika Bomb in the band? Why, we think it is! And he’s playing a double bass!! Sheffield’s 1984 next – another to add to the angular Gang Of Four pile. At one point they may as well have been called 1977, as one song sounds so desperately close to ’Psycho Killer’ it’s just silly. The angular frontman coolly grabs a not-so-angular beer, has a sip, then continues his angular moves. Great and crap at the same time, whereas Ciccone are just great, great, great, hugely underrated, and cruelly ignored by, well, practically everyone in the media and wotnot. Ciccone have more spiky punkpop bullets in their arsenal than should be reasonably expected along with more sophisticated tales of lament. They have released an album called ‘Eversholt Street’ and you really should buy it. Also on stonking form (did I just say that? Shit) tonight are The Fades who open with the ace ’1995’, which makes DiS enormously happy. Angry young English psychedelic garage isn’t going to die that easily. ’Social Misfit’ has a great singalong chorus and there’s that great bit in ‘You Say’ where it breaks down and we all get to clap along like we’re at a Darkness rock concert. Woo! DiS then collapses in a Scrumpy-infused heap and loses a Kaiser Chiefs badge somewhere on Bethnal Green Road. Crap. (Happy ending: the badge was later randomly found by Rhesus’ drummer, Arran.)
Over in the Water Rats for Editors now. Opinion on Editors seems to be divided but there’s no doubting their technical prowess, onstage chemistry and sheer intenseness. There’s little to distinguish one song from the other at the moment and they’re wearing their influences (Joy Division, Bunnymen et al) a little TOO obviously on their sleeves, but the potential is unmistakable. Kids are going to fall in love with this band. Joining them on the bill and taking in not-too-dissimilar influences are The Last Great Wilderness, who briefly flirted with fame a few years ago as Annie Christian. It takes only minutes for singer Larry to name-check Bill Hicks. Some things never change. What’s changed the most is that the songs sound even angrier than before, and some pleasingly loud guitars make the floor rumble and literally shake. Grrrrrr. Keep an eye out…
The Artrocker night in the Garage starts off brilliantly with the SUPER, FAB, ACE, AND JUST BLOODY TERRIFIC drunken Irish ladies and men that are The Chalets, who sound like they should be Scottish with all that Bis and Yummy Fur style keyboard bashing and excitable yelping. By the time they get to the frantic handclaps on ‘Love Punch’, DiS has already gone “coo” approximately 857 times. New favourite band. Then it all goes to shit with Mando Diao, who are The New Hives But Better Looking, except they’re not because they plunder through The Libertines’ first album something rotten. And their new single IS ’Don’t Look Back Into The Sun’, BLATANTLY (and that in itself was BLATANTLY ‘Another Girl Another Planet’ and ’Don’t Look Back In Anger’). You would be hard-pushed to find a more useless and clichéd band this year. Taxi for Mando Diao. The Rocks have a bit of an odd gig with James hanging onto the ceiling for most of it. Hmm. Not much to say about that one. Art Brut headline and the venue is rammed to the rafters. Some strange girls scream at Eddie and rip his shirt and jacket off, and he has to spend the rest of the gig looking a little embarrassed and bemused with his belly wobbling around. There’s an encore of ‘Top Of The Pops’ and we sing, happily. It is ace. But not as ace as ‘Emily Kane’, which is now their best song and monster hit single in waiting. Really.
Trooping over to the Bull & Gate we find Sony trying to jump the totally massive queue for Boy Kill Boy. Ooooh, buzz band alert. ‘Indie’ music is back with a vengeance and Boy Kill Boy look like happily humping it for all its worth - the melodies are satisfyingly quirky, the keyboards jab in all the correct places, and singer Chris drops to his knees to hammer his guitar to buggery. We’re not sure about the waistcoat though; a bit too Brian May. They’re new and they’re playing in a London venue near you soon. Probably. Go see! Getting better all the time after them is Apartment (pictured at the top of the page there), who’re dropping some really swoonsome, swooping tunes, far too (new?) romantic to be lumped in with all the usual Interpol wannabes - try imagining a gloomier and not-rubbish A-ha. David makes for a spellbinding frontman. Girls may want to practise their knicker-throwing now. Early ‘90s survivors Midway Still are left playing to a room full of indiepunks. DiS gets slowly drunk in the bar and watches it on the telly.
Frog nightclub at the Mean Fiddler doesn’t really know what’s hit it when The Futureheads come to town. Crammed in like stroppy battery hens, we shove our way downstairs for some serious fangirl singing. The Futureheads have developed into rock gods with jerky leg-moves still there, bassist Ross (he’s so cool) desperately trying to keep his glasses on, intact. It’s a losing battle. The crowd is going fucking mental and ’Hounds Of Love’, unsurprisingly, makes things worse/better. The Futureheads are the shiznit and worth all the hype thrust in their Mackem faces. Believe!
On our way to the Water Rats we text a friend to see if he’s going too, only to be reminded that he’s in Poole to which DiS replies “oh yes, I forgot” to which the friend replies “indeed and sehr getrunken vier sind”, so he is obviously having a good time. In the ‘Rats, The Souls hammer out their ska sounds. The sound is amazing (has the PA always been this good?), the band are in jocular wide-boy mood with the two frontmen being not a million miles from a young Difford and Tilbrook (that’s Squeeze, children). The Souls are yet another local band – and cheeky drummer Will is possibly the finest around here – who’ve developed into something really special over the last 18 months or so. This isn’t basic heard-it-all-before ska – there’s bits there plundered from some of Britpop’s best moments, unashamedly retro yet obviously out for a good time, wanting to entertain, not giving much of a shit, classic three-piece gang stuff, if Supergrass had listened to reggae. And they’re tight as fuck. It’s the best we’ve seen them play and a couple of us DiS hacks saw (indeed, promoted!) their first gig. So there. They fend off some heckles from impatient S*M*A*S*H fans; those only out for the nostalgia trip. We reviewed their recent New Cross gig so there’s not much to add, other than they have NEW SONGS (which sound like the OLD SONGS), yes they did play ‘Lady Love Your Cunt’ and ‘(I Want To) Kill Somebody’ (with an, ahem, large fan invading the stage to sing the politician hit-list in the wrong bit), and yes there was even a lot of crowd-surfing. In the Water Rats! How queer.
On a mission, we womble over to Frog again for more NE Rock Action, this time namely Maximo Park, who’re great but unlike The Futureheads they are not quite ready for the big stage, mainly because singer Paul Smith is not yet the enigmatic pop genius he seems to think he is. DiS hears they are jolly nice fellows but onstage Maximo Park often come across as pretentious tosspots. The big stage, we suspect, may have gone to their heads. Where they WIN, however, time and time again, is in those tunes, of which they have oodles. In particular, ’The Coast Is Always Changing’ is threatening to be THE debut single of the year, being as it’s stupidly ace in every conceivable way. Jangly indiepop of the best kind. You love it, you whore.
Those last two were on the Saturday just passed... then we rested, and wrote this.
PS. Arran, I want my badge back.