On 15th September 2004 at 18:21 Anonymous 1493 wrote...
COLIN MOUNSEY IS PLAYING AT THE PRIMROSE TONITE 15/9/04
Live at Tut'n'Shive (Wakefield) on Thursday, 2nd September 2004
So this is the location for Wakefield's newest acoustic night (featuring two non-acoustic bands tonight, just for the hell of it). Cool.
After an hour or so of peaceful drinking, musing about the ceiling (which appears to be made of doors) and the state of the jukebox, Colin Mounsey begins to play. Accessories tonight include a pair of drinks, a brace of hats and a plastic rubber ducky perched on the (really, really low, all the better to see his plain green shirt I suppose) keyboard, nodding in time to the music.
Colin is an excellent pianist, influenced by the Ben Folds Five, David Bowie et al, and in his own words, sounding a bit like early Elton John. He's travelled from Leeds tonight to treat us to his playing.
Opening with "Also Sprach Zaratustra," which sounds like that majestic tune that plays in 2001: A Space Odyssey when that big monolith thing is lifted up straight, but probably isn't, this intro shows off his piano skills then melds seamlessly into the first song, "Society".
By the way, just so you know... the high ceiling in this part of the pub doesn't consist of dark doors, it's a lot more like port-stained patterned lino. And Colin's voice, hitting some pretty high notes pure and clear in this first song, fills the room right up to the strange ceiling and shakes the dust out of it.
The second song, "Total Surrender", is slow and kind of mournful, one of those heartbreak songs, until Colin's mastery of the piano speeds the instrument part into a sudden crescendo, leaving this audience member thinking there's more to come... then suddenly finishes. Maybe there was more to that song than a heartbreak after all.
Pause for Colin to collect his two pints, one of water, one of something a bit stronger (wiser than the next performer, who is drinking the something a bit stronger despite having only had a pot noodle the whole day).
Colin then offers the duck to the first person who recognises the tune he plays next. A large roomful of people, a freely given clue... and no one recognises his rendition of "Theme From The Incredible Hulk." (TV, movie theme? I don't know. Apparently no one else did either.)
The duck stays happily where it is, and Colin gets on with the set. (side-note - he has a habit of picking out high clear notes with his left hand in the higher regions of the keyboard - this just serves to highlight how great the music is).
All through the set I've been peeping over the shoulder of the gentleman in front of me, who now decides to turn round during the next song, "How Is Your Soul?", and tell me all about his cats and how they wouldn't listen to this music. He declined to answer what music they actually prefer, and says only that they wouldn't buy the music.
Personally I'd buy the EP just on the strength of the cute artwork, but the music also happens to be bloody fantastic.
Ag. After that assertion of faith in Colin, the set hits its only dodgy note with me in "The Girl Who Played God." The lyric "took a gun into school-broke all the rules," while being one of those annoying lyrics that wouldn't get past radio censorship ("Teenage Dirtbag", anyone...) just seems a bit naff to me... perhaps it was just because I didn't catch any other lyrics due to cat-related whittering in my ear.
Creaky minor chords descend into smooth full songs, powerful piano parts underpin Colin's fab voice during "Drinking" and "I Watch You Fall" and yet the cat-man is still here, asking the fair-haired young gentleman to my right if he's Liam Gallagher.
At this point, Dee, the organiser of this night (which is soon to move to another venue, a little birdie tells me... well, Dee told me) runs off and very sweetly fetches me a stool.
Out of the reach of the cat-man, I settle down to enjoy the last two songs. "She Is My Energy" has a rolling piano part that could go on forever (in a very, very good way), with bolder chords here and there. To my surprise, when the song is over Colin excuses it as a work in progress. Can't wait for it to be polished off neatly!
For the last song, a music book comes out to help with a near-perfect rendition of Louis Armstrong's "What A Wonderful World" (complete with a cock-eyed baseball cap). Colin's voice finds a new, deep richness in honour of the song, and the audience is left feeling all warm and peaceful. Except for Antony (Interruptor Jones), who's also wondering how on earth he's gonna follow that.
A quick thank you, an even quicker swallow of water (don't know what happened to the alcohol), swift tip of baseball cap to the audience, and he's gone.
To the cat-man's horror, Antony announces happily that he's going to play lots of depressing songs. Politely declining the cat-man's offer of a game of pool, I settle in to enjoy what promises to be a great set from Interruptor Jones, who I should have seen play a long while ago but have managed to unintentionally avoid. Interruptor Jones did consist of Antony and Bruce, but Bruce got stage-fright and left Antony to it.
One big breath, preparing to leap in like a high-diver, and we're into the first song, Alkaline Trio's "Crawl". It's the kind of song that would still sound decent even in a synth incarnation, but fortunately tonight it's played by a guy who knows how to handle his acoustic and his Alkaline Trio songs (not that it's a song, more a song and a half). The Alkaline Trio fan in front of me is inclining his head to the left in an endearing fashion in time to the music.
One criticism... splash out on some new strings! Please! For my peace of mind if nothing else... my worries however were unfounded, and the only snapped string of the night belonged to a Kill Manticore guitarist.
The first original song is up next... surprisingly it's a chirpy, uptempo number, belying the black clothes and the hint of non-goth related black nail-polish. His voice sounds more at ease with this song (which is a goood song by the way).
Antony introduces the next song with a typically self-deprecating comment: "This is "The Most Pretentious", it seems to be the song that people remember which may or may not be a good thing..." It has a languid opening, and the adjective that most springs to mind is "different" (in a good way). It seems almost a bizarre twist on Tenacious D's "Tribute": "wrote this song for you - most pretentious words you'll ever hear..." I think you'd have to hear it for yourself to get what I mean by that. The MP3 I have previously heard of this song does NOT do it justice. I can see why people remember this one. The lyrics are about 7 million times more meaningful and less ridiculous than any song on the radio.
The fourth song is Biffy Clyro's "Solution Devices", and is my first taste of this artist. The intro is a bizarre mix of start-stop monotonous, rigid chords. Ten seconds in, I turn my nose up at the song and begin mentally criticising the horrible Carlsberg posters everywhere. Thirty seconds in... I realise to my surprise that this is one hell of a good song. There's a section where the already sparse guitar is abandoned. Antony's voice sounded really resonant and basically bloody good in that part.
Next up is a cover of a really sweet Brand New song, I forget what it's called. The only way to describe this song is the phrase fucking gorgeous. I love the guitar part. An absolutely brilliant song very well performed, complete with lyrics that seem like a realistic spin on Savage Garden's epic "Truly Madly Deeply."
The penultimate song is one that apparently will only last a minute, and was written this morning. This song is hastily abandoned when it becomes apparent that the vocal part and the guitar part hadn't quite managed to agree on what key the song should be in.
Last up, a song about "regret and rejection," with appropriate hoarser tones to his singing voice. There's a slight awkward chord-change at the outset but the song really hits its stride when it drops into strong open chords. The lyrics are out of a magical teen-movie, possibly starring teenage witch Melissa Joan Hart. In a good way. The song culminates in a yell that, if I hadn't subsequently heard the following band, would possibly have been a bit loud for the place, but well pulled off for all of that. The strong hoarse voice, which appears to have come out of nowhere, gives the impression he's been whispering all night. Pretty damn good for the fourth official gig.
First impressions of Kill Manticore? NOISY. (But they have a black matte-finish SG amongst their arsenal. Mmm...)
The SG, like the other instruments, is heavily distorted. I think you're familiar with this type of band. The first song is unexpectedly joyous, however with the level of noise I don't imagine the cat-man would appreciate it.
The second ditty is replete with heavy riffs, more screaming, but has less pure joy in it which in my mind is a change for the worse. The band are clearly doing what they love. Unfortunately, I doubt their amplifiers are appreciating this kind of enthusiasm.
A brief pause before they launch into the next song causes me to feel a sudden pang of sympathy for my eardrums. The man behind the bar scuttles up nearer the band for the first time tonight, and clears the bar of glasses. I rather think this isn't due to a desire for a tidy bar, more an irrational fear that the ones nearest the band will shatter and injure paying customers, necessitating embarrassing insurance claims, etc, etc.
Despite a band member sporting a Minor Threat t-shirt, this band are displaying a fair few of the characteristics that the whole punk thing was meant to be a reaction against.
Putting on a good show with oodles of passion in spite of that, though, with lots of spontaneous screaming from the audience.
I imagine many an old favourite like AC/DC or Black Sabbath started out like this. I didn't think they made them like this any more.
The third song is "Girly Headlock", if my ears served me correctly, which is quite unlikely under the circumstances. Absolutely fantastic song, with a gorgeous intro riff from the energetic front-man. There's a radio hit if I ever heard one right there, somewhere beneath the distortion. The guitarists are moving their hands around a lot, however it's pretty hard to distinguish from the noise what they're actually playing. The melody, however, is unmistakeable. Great song.
The fourth song has remorseless descending chords. One of those where if you could tell what they were singing you'd probably agree with it. Cool solo (not often I use that phrase).
I think a manticore is some sort of mythological beast, possibly invented for some TV show or something. Personally I'd add something extra to the band's name - "bring your earplugs". I imagine that it would sound just as good, only cause slightly less long-term damage. My ears aren't actually still ringing the morning after... I feel a bit like saying ner ner ne ner ner because that means they can't have been as loud (which seemed to be one of the primary aims of their set) as many other bands I've seen. Oh dear. Forget I said that. I don't want to spur them on to further aural offensives.
Short little (err, what's the opposite to a cappella... is there one?) musical interlude. Then, presumably, the set finished off with another burst of rocky noise but I had to leave to get the last bus home, missing all of the last band's (Truvine - who describe themselves as a rock/emo/funk five piece) set.
However, I did catch three songs when they were soundchecking earlier. Incubus's "Wish You Were Here" sounded as gorgeous as it does on record, complete with sound-alike guitar bits. The Vines' "Get Free" was also given a sprightly airing. One other song was played which I and two fountains of musical knowledge failed to recognise, so presumably that was one of their own. If it wasn't an original song, it certainly showcased the singer's strong voice to very good effect. I will be making an effort to see them again and make up for missing their no-doubt enjoyable set last night.
All in all, a good night... looking forward to next week's!