On 1st February 2006 at 19:14 Anonymous 5346 wrote...
Blackwire are possibly the UK's msot underrated outfit, any delusions of Dans need for ressurance are unjust. But 'Hard To Love' is bloody ace though isn't it!
Live at Carpe Diem on Thursday, 21st October 2004
Black Wire's website promises them to be all about 'smashing your skull open with the kind of nasty punk electronic action that could fuck a corpse back to life'. You could say then, that I went to this gig with high expectations for a night of complete raucous anarchy. I was after grit and chaos. I was after head-rushing irresponsibility.
Hmm. I almost got it. I think...
The gig kicked off with support from Flylife, hitting the audience with their brand of indie-punk rock. But to be honest, I was far from overwhelmed. They just seemed to be churning out the same sound as every other new indie-punk band arriving on scene at the moment. It wasn't bad. But it wasn't good. And it certainly wasn't memorable, as I am finding now trying to write this review!
I think to be honest; I was further distracted by the venue. Many a Friday night have I found myself supping vodka at Carpe Diem prior to a night of fun and frolics at the Cockpit and I have always thought it a good little pub, with, bar one random ice-throwing incident, a nice atmosphere. But this was the first time I'd been to see a gig there. I was actually quite looking forward to it; I much prefer smaller venues for gigs, with The Cockpit being a firm favourite over the Uni's or The Blank Canvas, purely for its heightened level of intimacy. A small dingy pub then? Right up my street it would seem. Only for the entire night something just didn't feel right. During Flylife in particular I couldn't concentrate on the gig, there was just too much going on around me. I think we also made a crucial mistake by, after arming ourselves with previously mentioned vodka, not moving too far away from the bar, thinking that with the rest of the place filling up quite quickly we had found a good spot... Fools!! It seemed that it was during Flylife's set that everyone suddenly needed a drink and my god, how many times and in how many different directions did I have to move to let thirsty gig-goers past? Argh! In the end we just gave up. Sick of to-ing and fro-ing and hearing nothing truly overwhelming enticing us to remain watching the band we moved to the back, losing interest in their set completely.
Somewhat deflated by this disappointing start, we knew Black Wire were going to have to be pretty special to pull this one around.
Black Wire seem to be the band everyone are talking about at the moment. Playing their first gig a month after forming in January 2003 and going on to tour with the likes of The Rapture, Pink Grease and The Libertines, the hype, around Leeds at least, seems to be building at a rather shocking pace.
Bounding on to the stage they certainly seem to be full of the energy I had anticipated. Looking suitably dishevelled, lead singer Dan prowls around in his tight jeans, eye-balling the crowd and encouraging us to take "just a little baby step forward", clearly trying to create some sort of down-the-front madness as the gig kicks off. As he stared into his crowd Dan showed an intense need to satisfy his audience; yet part of me was concerned by this, in that with it I perceived a level of insecurity in him that seemed quite unnecessary. He was forever searching the faces staring back at him as if searching for appreciation. Despite coming across on one level as possessing a don't-give-a-fuck attitude, there was an underlying thought that he needed to be told that what he was doing was ok, that we loved him.
And he really need not have bothered, because it was. And we did. All three members of Black Wire were intoxicating and displayed a real vibrancy. Their sound was just as raw and as dirty as I had hoped it would be and through the spot-on deliverance of such songs as first single 'Attack Attack Attack', I found it impossible to keep still as they played.
The absence of a drummer in a band such as Black Wire though does, in a time when so many bands use the drums to punctuate their sound, seem a truly odd concept. That is until you see them live. Their sound was so tight I really did not see the need for another person to be onstage at all. They displayed all the talent necessary for a quality band between them, why change that?
The only real let down of the night was the equipment failure occurring about two thirds of the way through the set, leaving Dan to claim, "We are professionals you know..." and resulting in the band having to fend off requests for 'Chas 'n' Dave. Hmm...
All this was done in good humour though, partly I think because it seemed that the majority of the crowd at tonight's homecoming gig was made up the band's friends. Although I'm not sure whether this was totally a good thing, at times leaving those of us that weren't feeling a bit like gate-crashers at a private party, bass player, Tom, made up for it by teasing us with the few magnificent opening chords to 'Hard to Love, Easy to Lay' as the technical team desperately tried to rectify the failed mics. I say teasing cos that is exactly what it felt like. We knew what was about to come and boy did we wanna hear it. Perfectly culminating all the grit and the filth of the band in just over three minutes, this song was definitely the highlight of the evening for me.
Black Wire then, on the whole, didn't disappoint. Though not quite as raucous a gig as I had anticipated due perhaps mainly to the venue (I worked out what it was about it too - it was too light! I wanted dinge!), they certainly displayed an attitude of rock 'n' roll irresponsibility and I can see them going far. I would love to see them play at The Cockpit, what better way to further highlight their filth...