Live at The Vine on Sunday, 7th September 2003
It's the craziest thing, really. Anyone who's been down this boozer of a daytime, or indeed walked past, will know that it's about as "indie" as Idi Amin. This is what they call a colourful sorta gaff, in fact that colourful that up until recently it didn't open at night - you do the maths. Anyhow, the clever young team that is Transmission got involved, and now Leeds has a serious contender for Damn Good Gig Venue - and now the student populace are flooding back, things should get purty darned interesting.
It's a nondescript late-summer eve, but the turnout's okay. First band up are My My, featuring one of Les Flames!' number moonlighting on guitar. A large bearded dude with an alarming striped top bangs a none-more-minimal drum set up with the right, and riffs on an old keyboard with the left. It's quirky, kinda folky but possesses a raw, feral sort of quality. Good song dissing bus-fare cadging smackheads too.
Next up Little Japanese Toy start to create a colourful, psychedelic sprawl with their first track, with echoes of dub. Frontman has fine guitar twitching steez going on, and goddamit they can play. Keyboard dude switches to bass occasionally, proving this. In other areas they have a power-pop kinda thing going on that in a way reminds me of The Jam. I could well be talking shit, but this is a hard bunch to pigeonhole, that much is fo' sho'.
Scots Lapsus Linguae were supposed to go on last, but were wary of local crowd leaving before their set 'coz they'd already seen all the bands they knew. Momentary digression here - this is very, very shit. Complacency is EVIL and must be stopped. Take a bleedin' chance once in a while. MONGS. I for one had heard precisely zero about this lot prior to this rude assault. Four lads in black leather trews and Misfits hair start to wreck shop in a complex, ludicrous and worrying way. BIG keyboard with quasi-classical stuff going on. MANY scary time-changes. Some guttural vocals here and there. The overall effect is somewhere between Muse (in a good way), 80s dark anarcho quirksters Rudimentary Peni and Italian prog-horror-soundtrack gods Goblin. Check 'em out, my puny words do them little justice - they are sick and quite breathtaking.
To round off the evening's varied antics is Les Flames! with the home-field-advantage. This date kicks off their UK tour before a 3-month break from gigs where new madness will be recorded. What can you say? Garage punk BLAH. Three damn geeTARS. Making a stand against the evils of drugs in our modern world and calling for ACTION. Henri is a pint-sized-live-wire sumbitch who could turn a funeral procession into dribbling sweatbeasts. They do "Wrong", new 'un "Commitment To Excellence" and they keep it clean, short and stoopid. I am passed the mic and exclaim "Motherfucker". The French kids make me happy. I turn on my heel and make my way into the night. The Vine is nice as pie, and you should support it the way Playtex supports yer mam.