Live at Joseph's Well on Thursday, 3rd February 2005
Matt Knee is the smiliest drummer I have ever had the pleasure to watch! It made my night to see someone up there who was clearly enjoying every moment and who was not too ashamed to show his excitement. Rather than feel that he had to hide behind the more popular rock 'n' roll façade of surliness and aggression, this guy just beamed his way through the entire set and I wanted to run up there and shake his hand for it. He never missed a beat too. Woo for Matt Knee! On the whole, The Old House were a thoroughly enjoyable band to watch. First band on, so the room wasn't exactly packed to the rafters, but they displayed such energy that it didn't seem to matter and by the end of the set the room was pretty much full anyway and very much showing it's appreciation for the band in front of them. They weren't perfect - whilst there were times when I thought Chris Bilingham had a really good voice there were other moments when he went a bit Craig Nicholls and I felt that he couldn't really pull this off. But the backing vocals were good and the spiky guitars even better. I think this band have spent a lot of time with fellow Wakefield-ers The Cribs, they toured with them a few times and Ryan and Gary produced a demo and this has clearly influenced their style somewhat. I was impressed with The Old House and will definitely be keeping my eyes open for them in the future. Heehee, I am so glad they steered away from the whole Coral tribute band idea...
Next up: Five O'Clock Heroes. I saw these guys supporting The Rakes last year and although I didn't mind them I didn't find them at all inspiring, labelling them as 'nothing truly ground-breaking'. I guess in some ways I would have to stick by that. Five O'Clock Heroes do not seep originality, fitting nicely into the genre of Post-Strokes guitar band. Yet, I was so much more impressed than back in November, hardly believing that it was the same band who back then seemed to run the risk of boring the audience. Tonight the audience were far from bored and whilst I listened and watched the guitarist with his ultra impressive swivelling hips I found myself wanting to dance. The remarkable vocal harmonies helped produced a catchy vibe and indeed by the end of the set I stood there singing along to the choruses of songs I had only just heard that night. The duel guitars seemed ever ranging from jangly to piercing and together with the bouncy bass lines and the fierce drumming they managed to produce a really striking sound. There seemed to be a range of influences on show as they were forever changing direction. Throughout the gig, comparisons of a range of bands could be made including Dogs Die In Hot Cars, The Bandits and The Jam. So whilst I think 'heroes' is maybe taking it a bit too far, Five O'Clock Heroes have come a long way in a few short months. They looked good and they sounded good and I found myself leaving the gig with the thought that maybe these guys should have been the ones to headline tonight.
My relationship with The Paddingtons is proving to be a strange one. I have seen them a few times now and every time I have a completely different feeling towards them. My first experience being watching them support Babyshambles, I was totally impressed and thought that they were actually a band worth getting excited about. I then saw them at the same gig as the previous band, supporting The Rakes, at which I still rated them quite highly, though found myself appealing for their own identity to break through the mould of Post-Libertine London influences which seemed to dominate them completely, with Tom at times appearing to think he actually was Pete Doherty. Well tonight I was as confused as ever. I seemed to have got my wish - Tom appeared much more of his own man, stepping out of his hero's shadow almost enough to overcome such clichéd comparisons. Absolutely bounding with energy, the stage was chaotic and actually at times seemed a little crowded, with one guy always having to stay somewhat hidden at the back. There was still the whole Libertines-style male bonding thing going on, both on stage and off as band members and members of the audience embraced each other and kissed as if in total appreciation of the music they were a part of. The Paddingtons displayed as fierce an energy and exuberance as ever and the crowd seemed to be absolutely loving it, with each guy getting just a little bit sweatier than the next. Crowd favourites, including last single '21', certainly displayed the edgy punkiness that had got me so excited in the first place. Though personally, I felt that sometimes everything was so loud - drums, guitars, bass - that the vocals would seem too quiet, getting lost amongst the madness and whilst I certainly enjoyed said madness, I remained a little bit disappointed at this. This didn't seem to bother most of the crowd though, with regular shouts of 'You fucking rock' feeding the band's ego. Yet I couldn't help but leave feeling a little deflated, concluding only that yep, The Paddingtons do rock, just not half as much as I had once expected them to.