Live at Fenton on Thursday, 23rd February 2006
Tonight sees another staple D.I.Y. gig at the Fenton, promoted by Pray For Hayden and showcasing three local bands talents alongside the Winchester based-Second Monday who have travelled up the M1 to see what all the fuss is about in our Musical Mecca of Leeds. No current de-rigour scarves or silly haircuts here tonight though; this is a rock gig for rock people... Or rather, a gig attempting to put on a range of bands who all broadly fall into the "rock" genre, yet share a disparate and eclectic range of styles and influences - a brave manoeuvre, but an ultimately triumphant one.
Local Pontefract troubadours Above Them open up tonight, and their brand of melodic de-tuned riffing goes down well with the crowd, the young trio's confidence on stage visibly increasing towards the end of their set as the crowd also grows in number. Perhaps the most obvious influence in their sound is the quite/heavy formula pioneered by Biffy Clyro, however Above Them have much more tricks up their sleeve than adhering to the current emo-rock blueprint, and throw some interesting time-changes and interesting post-rock moments into their songs, which sets the standard for the night.
Pray For Hayden have been playing their own blend of high-octane rock around West Yorkshire for a couple of years now, and their live performance is tight as a summit of scrooges. The four piece bash out a slick, rambunctious set of fast-paced rock with a raucous undercurrent of punk swagger, which climaxes with the rather fantastic "count of Three", complete with a bit of crowd-participating clapping. Well worth checking out if you get the chance in the future, and I got a free CD as well. Result!
Award for the longest sound check of the night goes to Second Monday, who seem to have come equipped with three (3) sets of keyboards for the evenings frivolities. However, the wait is justified by the bands interesting blend of arpeggiated post rock guitar work and heavy breakdowns. If you imagine At The Drive In interspersed with a post-rock Thursday then you'd get a general picture of what Second Monday are about. Although the set does meander at points and the band doesn't always keep the audiences attention, this can be captivating stuff at times, and when Second Monday do "it" well, they carry it off with verve and pizzazz.
Itch don't take to the stage till past eleven, however anyone who has seen these chaps know why they are worth sticking around for. In short, Itch are quite breathtakingly, pant-twitchingly awesome. Songs stop, start, fall over themselves, kick themselves up the arse, explode into cataclysmic burst of melody before suddenly veering off into seemingly irreconcilable tangents that seamlessly reconcile themselves all in the space of a few minutes. The instruments on stage seem at odds with each other, with the drums determined to harass and badger the bass and guitar into demented time-changes and syncopated, choppy rhythms. All this underpinned by a singer who looks like an extra out of Dads Army and sings his bollocks off in the most heartfelt manner imaginable. As Itch have recently signed to Big Scary Monster records (home of the also uber-ace Get Cape, Wear Cape Fly!) hopefully this will provide an outlet from which we can see more of this great bands recorded output. A great end to a grand evening.
Rock, Indie, PowerPop
Three friends, one band, no gimmicks. GOT MONEY TO BURN, GO HERE: http://www.myspace.com/documentuk