Live at Cardigan Arms on Thursday, 17th February 2005
I'd gone down to The Cardigan Arms to experience wonderful, shiny guitar pop. Stuff with hooks, choruses you can sing along to (if you wish), and that won't leave your head for days afterwards. Opening band Filth were, however, an unknown entity. If only they had stayed that way. Occasionally they sounded like the kind of funk-rock band that emerge as 'the next big thing from the US' every few months, and then fuck off back there without anyone giving a shit, then they'd go off in waters chartered by The Coral not so long ago, and come back with nothing to show. The whole idea may have been made more stomachable had the band been able to play in time, and were the lead singer not intent on waving his tambourine about to a beat that seemed to come from nowhere.
If a band like Stuffy/The Fuses pull out of a gig, the replacement will inevitably be a disappointment. Actually, that's a lie. The Lodger are far from second-rate, last minute fill-ins. They are one of those bands that you can't help but expect to go places. This three-piece make the kind of music that you have to love. It is lovable, huggable indie-pop. Every chord change is calculated to make your ears prick, every chorus demands to be sung along to. There is something very pure about listening to a bloke singing honest, simple songs about girls, backed only by his telecaster, bass and drums. There are no fancy tricks here, just ace songwriting, a lot of energy, and surprisingly enough for those that have seen the band before, a lot of confidence. You can hardly blame them.
Bearing in mind that the small room at the top of the Cardigan Arms is rapidly reaching a temperature more akin to a furnace than a gig venue, it is to Being 747's credit that people are hanging around to see them. But stick around they did, and a good time was had by all. Being Wrathsters, you kind of know what to expect from Being 747, very twisted pop music, witty lyrics and a general sense of excellence. Opening with (the stupidly long-titled) 'The Girl Who Fell Asleep Whilst Watching Her Life Flash Before Her Eyes', it is very clear why this band have the reputation that they do in Leeds. Whilst bands like Franz Ferdinand and The Walkmen get credit on an international scale for creating great art-rock, Being 747 are doing it better right here, in a sweaty old room above a cheap old pub. Dave Cooke's songs are undeniably marvellous, all clever puns, smart thinking and bouts of surreal humour (like the robot-tastic 'Circuits and Wires', or the song about being a dinosaur, the name escapes me). When it's performed in Cooke's baritone voice, with his guitar weaving around Steve's keyboard and bass (often played simultaneously) it sounds like pure genius.
What's even more to their credit is their range of styles. A quick listen through their Fun & Games album will prove this, but live it's even more obvious. One minute they can be playing the raw rock of 'DIY Prescriptions', then switch to the bordering on cheesy 'Weathergirl', and then the explosive pop of 'Use Your Friends'. That's Being 747 then, a band for every mood.