Live at Joseph's Well on Tuesday, 20th February 2001
I have to say I was pleased that this event was taking place, my 82-year-old gran had a full right mastectomy to fight breast cancer only 3 years ago, and I have lost an Aunt to cancer. I also know many friends with relatives with cancer and we all fully support the cancer charities and research. I was pleased to see so many people supporting the cause and the bands. All of the bands said "THANK YOU" to Karl for setting it up, and included thank you's to the bar staff for giving up their wages for the night, also to the sound engineers and a host of other people behind the scenes. Sad not to see Danny Carr tonight, but I have been given to understand that he will be playing another night soon. (Let me know when and I will be there).
We started tonight with CATYLYST. Back to the image thing and Chris and Dave both had glitter in their hair, (nothing to do with the fact I was wearing glitter too... erm - I was shedding a lot of it to. My apologies to anyone I got gold glitter on ... it does come off in the wash.) Shiny people! Having only seen them recently, I knew what was coming and sure enough they open with my favourite Tumblechuff. Having heard it a few times now I am getting the hang of the lyrics, my favourite being "the future isn't what it used to be, yeah".
This time Chris's mike stand was fine, but I think Dave kicked his over, or at least I was in time to see it land in the audience and someone put it back for them. Such is life. They seem to have added (or changed) some of the beats on Roland. I liked it, some crazy disco/dance/clicky/pop beats then launching into heavy wild guitars and much leaping around the stage. Superb sense of timing with the sequencer thingy (I still haven't come to grips with that particular piece of technology, I still think that has the potential to go horribly wrong, but it didn't - very cool sounds coming from it). They also played Sell Out, which will be on the BYT c.d., due out on the front cover of the Leeds guide for April (I think). Something else for me to look forward to! Chris thanked a long list of people (I was trying to write them all down, but couldn't scribble fast enough) for setting up and being involved with the evening. We ended the set with their unique version of "You spin me right round..." A few people other than me were expecting it and we had people dancing and singing along. Great atmosphere!
JUNO-2 are up next, and I am really looking forward to this. I saw them at Royal Park Cellars at the end of January and they were tighter than when I saw them before. I really enjoyed their set, but I knew that tonight they had an extra body with them - Nikki (previously in Albeit - who were fantastic, played the first Blue Star Showcase, but have now split up due to other commitments) as their bassist. Anyone who has not seen them before may not know that Juno-2 are quite a talented bunch and all of them play everything so there is normally a lot of instrument swapping going on between songs. They had this down really well last time, but now with Nikki on bass all the time, there were a few less swaps. This also left Tom free to drop his guitar completely and sing and dance on his own at the front for the last 2 songs. Not that there was a lot of room up there with the 2 keyboards either side of the stage (Rosy and Jim), Dave on guitar/vocals, Nikki on bass and Tom alternatively on guitar/vocals. With JW's new drum riser we could see Alex for the first time too! Dave and Tom both in black tops (someone been reading my posts on the board? - just kidding!) and Rosy and Nikki in smart tiny tops and glitter, a good if a little crowded, visual image. They start the set with a song called Horny Swede, with Rosy singing. Followed by Photograph - excellent! Heard some great comments from various people about both these songs. Juno-2's sound is hard to describe as they don't really fit into any particular genre and have a varied set. Theme for Katy is a slower; more mellow and melodic number, sung wonderfully by Dave (my favourite of their set tonight). They like layered sounds, with the 2 keyboards being used to good effect. I am amazed (but not really all that surprised) to learn that Nikki has only been practising with them this weekend and has got the whole thing perfect already, including backing vocals. Juno-2 already have a lot of melody in the bass (something I am fond of) and Nikki is a master of this. I am sure I heard one or two phrases of her own? All in all a great set and I can't wait for the launch of Juno-2's art/electronica side-project katywithout at Joseph's Well on 7th March.
The evening is progressing nicely and we are swiftly onto MR SHIRAZ. It would be easy to me to review them in 2 words - massive energy - and leave it at that. But that would be very lazy of me... Whatever it is that their energy comes from, I want some! I was exhausted, and I wasn't even dancing (much). The rules of dance for this kind of music (ska) seems to be:- 1) get as close to everyone else as possible whilst also getting as close to the stage as possible. 2) Wave and wiggle as much of your body as possible. 3) Try to keep both feet off the floor as often as possible whilst staying vaguely upright. 4) Don't stop.... Ever! I was having difficulty choosing what to watch - the band and their own personal dancer Chris, or the crowd. They have an excellent lady bassist - Tori, and another lady - Clare, on sax. They have a trumpet player too. For a band with only, drums, bass, one guitar, sax, trumpet and vocals (+ dancer) they very loud, but classy all the same. Rumour has it that a certain famous young lady singer is suing them for their cover of her hit "Baby hit me one more time". They tell us that they can't possible do it for us, and give in anyway with the quip that this will be the last time as they will all be in jail tomorrow, and it's only because the lady in question wants to come and see them and nothing to with fact that singer Mike wants to sleep with her... (Mmmm) It's a good, and I prefer the Shiraz version! They have good presence on stage (despite there not being much room for them all) with Mike and Chris having a mock fight in one of the songs, but always making it back in time to sing the next bit.
ORKA (formally Orca) are set to close the night and it has just dawned on me I haven't mentioned that all night we have had some projections on the screen behind the bands. Lots of swirly colours and effects. (And there is always one isn't there... someone just can't resist the temptation to make hand shapes.... How old are you?) Orka have the band's logo with a red star spinning through it.
I feel I need to say 2 things before I go any further, the first is that as I had to get the bus home (this being my 4th night in a row at JW and not getting paid till the end of next week and being very skint: - I could not afford a taxi) I did miss the end of the set. The second thing is I have seen Orka only once before and wasn't too impressed, so I am slightly biased against them, and didn't hear everything they had to offer, so please don't slate me for telling you all what I think. Right, now I have that off my chest I'll tell you what I think.... I asked one of them for a set list and they did say they would get me one, but gave me a funny look and promptly forgot...(?) They looked a lot better visually then when I saw them last, with ripped jeans and matching studded belts. Even the silver sparkly guitar and matching silver sparkly drums, great stuff. There was some music on that someone at the side of me said was theirs, and I got the same impression from the way people were whistling and catcalling when they heard it. I have to say though - it was totally different to the song they launched into and I just thought it wasn't quite right somehow. I liked the first song, but by the third one, which I think he said was the brand new one, I thought it all sounded a bit the same. I was watching their hands (just something I like to do as I want to learn to play guitar some day) and it seems to me to be the same very fast strumming movement all the time with very little variation. This really isn't my thing I'm afraid, and I feel his vocals weren't very clear either which will have made no difference to those who are already fans, but didn't entice me. They stopped to auction a signed Tasmin Archer c.d. to raise money for the night, which I thought was a great idea, (also that later some Leeds United things were auctioned too). I'm not sure how much it went for as I was inching out of the door saying goodbye to friends as I went. Having just written down "all sounds the same" I was in time to hear them start up again with something much more melodic, so I do feel like I haven't quite got the full picture for this band. My apologies to the band and to you. I do intend to see them again, perhaps on a night when I have taxi money, as I understand they prefer to be the headline slot.
Overall yet another fantastic night with a lot of support from everyone for a good cause. I understand that at the moment £1300 has been raised so far and there is more coming in. Thanks to all of you who came and please keep supporting the local scene.