Live at Joseph's Well on Friday, 12th January 2001
It's Friday night, it's cold and it's wet, so do you stay in and get depressed because you have no friends, or do you go out to catch some top live bands from your local area giving their all in a great pub which sells decent beer, get hideously drunk in a nightclub afterwards, fall all the way home then wake up in a strange bed the next morning with little or no recollection of how, why or when? This weekend I chose the latter option and the promoters at Joseph's Well seemed to have deliberately conspired against me, putting on four really good bands to get you into a Friday night kinda mood. Which means (for me, anyway) a drinking kinda mood. Oh dear.
The first band on were DB5. Never heard of 'em before but they were great. A cross between Supergrass and Gomez, while still managing to sound like neither of the two. Also reminded me a little of Fonda 500 and The Doors in places, with a little Stone Roses wah-wah funk guitar thrown in for good measure. These songs reminded me of being young and getting ready to go out with a bottle of crap cider or later, when we'd progressed, some top alcopops for that extra touch of class, so I felt compelled to drink some more. Drinking's not cool, it's not big and it's certainly not clever as many of my brain cells later discovered, but it's sure as hell fun. They seemed a little inexperienced in places but they had definite potential, with all of them solid on their instruments.
The line-up was shuffled around because BEAT ROUTE 62 had to leave early due to work commitments, so they got up on stage second. I'd heard a lot about BR62, that they had great songs, fantastic image, good stage presence etc, but I was left a little disappointed after they were so hyped up. Don't get me wrong, they were a good band, but not as good as I was led to believe they were going to be. The only one with any discernable image was the singer, a good-looking bastard with a sharp dress sense and a top pair of sunglasses. The music was well executed but often a little unoriginal, reminding me of The Verve when they were Verve and the Stones when they were good. In fact one of their songs was very Brown Sugar, with an almost gothic tinge that a few of their numbers had and the energy of early Jam tracks.
Some of the stuff featured some quite Gary Numan synth bits from the easy-on-the-eye keyboard player, and the bass player was excellent, but looked bored out of his mind on stage. They've definitely got potential, but need to sort out the image thing. Like I say, the singer looks cooler than a penguin's chuff, but the others need to match this. However, their playing was solid and the songs strong, and they got the audience involved like all decent live bands should. By the end of their set, I felt the bar calling again though.
Third up were UPTIGHT. By this point, the brewery were thinking about signing me up for beer testing capabilities. The walking was less straight and my notes became more scrawled. However, that was more to do with the fact that it was hard to keep still with Uptight on stage. Probably the least original band I've seen in my life, but unashamedly so, Uptight are a proper party band, the kind of band you'd have at your wedding if you are cool. Essentially a mod band, with sharp suits to match, Uptight had the most energy of any of the bands on Friday. Their set comprises of a mixture of their own songs and covers, but their own stuff was so retro that it could have been covers... that's a compliment by the way. All of them could play their instruments really well, and they were very very slick indeed for ones so young. The singer had quite a comedic haircut too. Their cover of Shakin' All Over was the highlight of the set, it sent the crowd into a fit and was one of the best cover versions I've seen in a long time.
MILO ended up headlining to what was by now quite a full Joseph's Well. Oh dear. My memory's shot as it is but when you add beer it gets even worse, and the scrawling that I did for notes is pretty laughable, so, sorry chaps. What I can say is that Milo were really good, another band which reminded me of Verve (rather than The Verve). They were occasionally a bit retro, which may seem hypocritical when taken in context of what I said about Uptight, but the difference is that Uptight were trying to be retro, and I think Milo were trying to be forward looking. They had an ethereal sound, like I say very Verve, Spiritualized, Spacemen 3 etc, but with a slightly modern twist.
The worst thing I can say about Milo is that the songs seemed either too long or too short - the first song took an age to build up then as soon as it kicked in, it seemed to be over. Really good song though. They are good songwriters as well, the songs weren't just blissed out acid anthems but proper tunes as well, which reminded me occasionally of the off-kilter aspect of the Super Furry Animals. The singer occasionally wavered on the odd note but generally had a strong voice, but they could do with some really good backing vocals here and there. All in all, a really promising band that with a little fine tuning could perhaps be a great band. The audience appreciated their set too.
Well, by the end of Milo's set it should have been time for bed but the evil Lord Lager had decided to make me drink more, so Star at Leeds Met beckoned, then it was pretty much Game Over. But even though I was wasted (as anyone who saw me dancing will testify), I felt it wasn't a night wasted. All four bands showed a lot of potential in different ways. Anyone into a bit of indie-rock should really check out Milo, Beat Route 62 and DB5, and any serious mod fans should go and see Uptight. A slightly mismatched bill but a great night out all the same.