Live at Cockpit on Friday, 6th August 2004
The Ebb are about to reach make or break time.
Ball-busting, tribally triumphant drums soundtrack the band's rock and Borrell swagger onstage, the supremely confident singer causally sauntering across the pit before thrashing himself into a Columbia sized riff. The drummer's top is off in a display of rollicking machismo and maracas are thrown around like TVs out of a 7-storey window. Why? Well, the Man and around 70 others are here to see their highly rated show.
And it's pretty convincing stuff. All four smash and stroke their instruments with real pride and conviction, effortlessly segueing from Supergrass's best yelpings to the Datsun's rock and roll simplicity. They look and sound confident especially on "You don't change," as the pyrotechnic guitars swirl the band into orbit, creating vistas the boys from Kippax are more renowned for. The bass reeks of pure filth, humping out Whale sized chords that move feet and head in nodding agreement before the screeching and soaring vocals take The Ebb into overdrive. The only niggle is the band perhaps try too hard to impress but you can hardly blame them.
It's very, very catchy and tighter than a nun's chuff. But the man from Del Sony, he says: "You want to write more songs like Keane mate." Not content with just one anaemic, slush-puppy lite group in the charts, they're actively looking for another. Some people.
The Bazaars are also out to impress, but this time it's the spirit of Jim Morrison. Their blend of blues addled raunch-rock wins the Cockpit crowd over immediately, its Santana simplicity and Dire Straits guitar creating a jaunty and jostling atmosphere.
Again, the drummer acts as a focal point, his Alex the Droog bowler hat giving them clockwork timing and fizzing intensity. "Firefly" is the best of the live bunch, strolling like the Coral on a super-stoned walk before hanging a left into a Delta blues swamp rhythm which threatens never to come back. Atmospheric and devastatingly tuneful, they don't need any market magic to help them on their way.
Closing the night, The Blueskins simply don't need to impress. Their Domino-released album and a string of speed coated, blues infused live shows have helped them capture and enrapture a large slice of Leeds and beyond. Ferociously launching into the handclap happy "Change my mind," the vocals collide into perfect three-way harmony before the caterwauling guitars drown everything in a whirling dervish of feedback and reverb. It's so electrifying, singer Ryan orders his acoustic onstage and still proceeds to hammer seven shades of soul-kicking shit from it.
Their duelling guitars and riotous Beach Boy vocals have the crowd jumping in unison, while newie "I could sleep forever" sounds like a future stoned mantra, its fizzing pothead persona building and building into a labyrinth of Stadium sized riffs. "Stupid Ones" sounds like a kick in the teeth to those who weren't there while "Magpie Blues" shines with grimy scuzz, arcing and reaching for the blue skies.
The Blueskins may have sold their soul to the devil in return for musical manna but that's a million times better than Sony on tonight's evidence.