Live at Joseph's Well on Wednesday, 29th March 2006
Yes! Finally! I'm in the elite crowd where you can claim you've seen a band where the number of band members outweigh crowd members! Score. At one point approximately (I say approximately, it wasn't exactly hard to count) three punters decided to view main support The Bayonnettes.
Maybe it was the absolutely horrendous promotion afforded to tonight's show or maybe it was because The Bayonnetes were almost overtly dull but whatever the case, you'd be more likely to see more people in any chosen graveyard than at Joseph's Well tonight. Which is a shame because Elle Milano are fucking good.
As were locals The Printed Sound to be fair. A real surprise package tonight, unbelievably they possibly garnered the biggest attendance by roping in friends and casual associates to watch. A very listenable and less in your face emo, hardcore soft rock combo that would usually be about as moving as a song about carrots is turned into a Jimmy Eat World-esque set full of four minute wonders. Through clever use of more than three cord intuitive guitar parts and perhaps too many 'Ohh's' and 'Ahh's' they manage to impress on a night where it wasn't looking possible. They appear to play shedloads of shows in the area so you'll probably have to try hard to miss them this year.
The art of attracting fewer fans than band members will forever be referred to as 'Bayonetting' from now on in my mind. In a small way you have to feel sorry for them, they look (and rightfully so) like they just wanted to get off stage as soon as possible, such was the weight of embarrassment on their shoulders. Intelligently, they cut the set short but by that point the damage is done. The Bayonettes are so middle of the road they'll be lucky if they got home without being transformed into road kill. The softest, most clichéd, emotion void dad rock it's easy to forget is even playing. And as such many people did. The phrase don't quit your day job has never been so apt... 3 people!
Elle Milano on the other hand are equally appalled by the turn out but this time it's the people's fault rather than the musicians because Elle Milano have all the makings of being a superb band. Kobe Winana turns the night on its head from the off by offering up a special acoustic number to open the set. This would prove to be the calm before the storm as 'Men Are Bastards' sends the proverbial rocket up the arse of a show that desperately needed one. The kind of angular post-punk anthem that would need an industrial strength sander to give it any chance of being packaged and sold to the kiddies. I'd go even as far as to say Elle Milano are one of the finest examples of post-punk the British Isles currently possesses. If you asked Kobe Winana, I'm sure he'd say the same. The bloke just reeks of confidence. He even plays a song all by himself when the band abandon him during the encore. He's flanked by the equally elaborately monikered Mr Alexander Ross Petersen and female bassist Betty K who adds a little something else to the band's dynamic if still looking a tad uncomfortable on stage.
The highlights come in the form of before mentioned 'Men Are Bastards', the immense breakdown during 'The Chorographer' is then surpassed by the closing epic and confident mission statement of 'Believe Your Own Hype. Always'. Winana even goes as far as to shake everybody's hand before leaving. All in all, despite the meagre turnout Elle Milano surpassed all expectations and all being well the Reading locals will soon be receiving some hype to believe in very soon.