Live at Joseph's Well on Thursday, 19th October 2000
A few weeks ago I teased Kez, lead singer with local band Albeit, after they secured a support slot with Scottish rockers Idlewild at Bradford University. Her response to how they'd managed to get the slot was "Because we're fucking ace!" And on tonight's showing, too right - the band were on top form, a fine display.
First up though were 5'4", a four piece who play a typical indie-rock set - melodic, well written tracks which get everyone tapping their feet and following guitarist Neil's energetic display. Suffering from the flu, the band began with a count of audience members. Not too difficult as there appeared to be just me. "Where's Our fan?" - sat in the corner, by the stage, is the lone figure of a second audience member. However, the empty surroundings were short lived - in come Walker closely followed by tonight's headliners Albeit. "Thanks to Albert for letting us do this gig" joke 5ft4, with Albeit rising to the bait by making sure everyone knew their proper name.
I think that perhaps the fact that the band members were unwell had an effect upon the vocals, which were occasionally below par. Musically though I was very impressed - I admit though that I'm a sucker though for bouncy indie guitar tracks. Talking to the band afterwards, they are about to go into the studio to record a CD. So of course I state my favourites. "Wicked world" - a song that featured an initial blast of wah-wah - "Whenever you're in the Room" and the closing song "Where U Lie" - the dance track, so called because the band leave the stage mid song to jump around and dance with the audience. And of course, they replied "We're not recording any of those!" Typical! A good band, one I will be watching again.
Following the rock energy show of 5ft4 the show moved onto the technical rock specialists Walker. Although I didn't see much of this set, what I did catch saw a band who were obviously good musicians, a blend of talented lead guitar (but not over the top) with a general indie rhythm. I must admit that despite the well-written songs I couldn't get to grips with the vocals that came with them. They were well sung, in tune, etc but my personal taste made me try to lose images of the Gallagher brothers - now there was no reason why I kept thinking of Oasis, because the similarities were not really very evident. Still, from all accounts it was obvious I was alone in those thoughts as the band received a good reception.
Finally, up stepped Albeit a cut above a lot of bands and a band I last saw in April. At the beginning of the year I came away from the gig as one of their ever-increasing fan club, impressed with their set and the band's unique style - six months on I must admit they have improved ten fold. Nicky was no longer stern and scary - to be honest the word "sexy" could probably describe the Albeit bassist last night - dressed in all black, glimpses of tattoos, the whole image.... Girls with Guitars, eh? Kez was her usual glamorous self and Ramsey maintained the backbone of the band with some pretty amazing guitar. Any band that has you fixed on them purely from their stature is half way there, and if you add in the fact that Albeit can actually write some decent songs it's no wonder why they have supported Mansun and Idlewild during the past two years.
The other factor that impressed me was the change in Kez's vocals - they used to be "love them or hate them", but now they are honed, virtually perfect - and I'm sure that most people will "love them".
Albeit opened up with "Have It Your Way", an exceptional opener to a set that just kicked Joseph's Well to pieces. Imagine the show if the venue hadn't suffered delays in the installation of their new 12k PA system - these guys know how to rock. Lo-fi style mainly, but equally as energy driven as tonight's openers sees the band play tracks from their new CD. "Swapping" saw Kez say, "Come closer little darlings, we want to see your pretty faces" to the forty or so audience members who had filled up from the back. Quickly returned though, "You don't want us to do that, we're all god ugly!"
The band closed with "Shy Drager" and we all went home happy. Thank you to three more good local bands, a real credit to our live scene.