Live at Faversham on Sunday, 21st November 2004
Clowns. More club and gig night should have clowns. Tonight, The Power Of Omnipotence got some clowns to join the boozed-up throngs. The result, whenever beer tries to drag you off into an alcohol-ridden apathy, you watch the clowns dance, they cheer you up, and don't feel so silly for wanting to dance. For the first time in my life, I feel the need to say: Clowns. Are. Ace.
Talking of ace, The Research opened up tonight's gig, and there's really not much point in me starting to pile on the hyperbole. Fill in the words as you go along: The Research, blah blah blah ace, blah blah blah proper pop songs blah blah blah, smiling, blah blah lo-fi, blah blah endearing blah blah 'I Love You But...' blah, blah, want to hear recorded. Go see this band, then give them pretty things.
After The (amazingly ace) Research, I was all ready for a quiet night bemoaning the fact The Research still aren't headlining. Instead I got The Noisettes. If, as The Mirror, probably tells you, Joss Stone is the saviour of soul, then that must make The Noisettes the fucking MESSIAHS of soul, on acid. Their lead singer is in part a punkier Karen O, and in part a deeper Aretha Franklin. The music jerks around. It is heavy on the highly rhythmic drum and bass lines, but that just means that when the guitar picks out a killer riff, it sounds even more essential. It's heavy. It's punky. It's soulful. It's all you could ever desire. Oh, and there are two clowns dancing at the front. Who could ask for more?
Of course, after two rather spiffing support bands, it was inevitable that there would have to be slip up along the way. I was convinced that when Maximo Park came on stage with a singer that looked like Electric Six!'s Dick Valentine, I was in for an all-round torrid time. Wrong! This frontman was like Dick Valentine; had he been on Byker Grove and a huge fan of The Futureheads. The music that Maximo Park treated us to was punk rock, sir, but someone seems to have been toying with that tried and tested formula. For a start the riffs, the singing, hell, even the drums, kept stopping and starting. Somewhere along the line between Newcastle and Leeds, the band seems to have lost their ripped jeans, piercing and Neanderthallic (look, I'm being inventive with the English language!) simplicity, and picked up suits and an unnerving ear for smart, arty melodies. That's Geordies for you. And if you don't like a song? Fear not, it will be over before you have time to say Gang of Four. Imagine, if you will, The Futureheads (yes, them again, please don't criticise my lack of reference points) with their barbershop quartet-aping sound taken away, and replaced by three dancing clowns. The nice harmonies may be gone, but the clowns are here to make it up. Did I mention that I liked the clowns?