Live at Stylus on Friday, 31st March 2006
Reviews depend on trust so I'll try and give it to you straight.
This guy from Otherside works at my place. He was obviously psyched to be playing this gig, posting up flyers around the office. Not that anyone bothered turning up, it's that sort of office, but it says something that he put himself up there to be shot at. This guy seems ok to me, I wonder if puts his hours in waiting to play at night, dreaming of a way out, like me.
Anyway, Otherside played first up to a half full Stylus. They're indie rock, emphasis on the rock, with a charismatic front man. The power fused out during their second to last song, leaving singer Phil Clarke to continue his banter with a section of the crowd. They made some friends here and looked a little embarrassed by the warm welcome they received when the techies finally sorted the power out. Otherside remain a work in progress.
Here's a familiar story: Leeds band get signed. Band members quit their day jobs. It doesn't work out, the band get dropped. Upon reflection the band decides to carry on; changing their name and writing a new set. Hey it worked for Parva, why not Infrasound?
However, Walkin Lions (yeah I know, worst name ever) do not seem to be a contrived attempt at making it. Not unless there is some Doors/Deep Purple inspired psychedelia revival scene I'm not aware of. Note to self: check Pop Bitch.
I've known guitarist Joel Dowson since we were five. I think he'd already been playing a couple of years. Go back two or three years and I thought Infrasound were a sure thing. They killed at the Brudenell, won Futuresound in 2002 and got signed to EMI offshoot Versity. This year their Andy Gill produced debut "Out Of Order" was released to reasonable reviews but little acclaim.
Tonight they look tired of the chase. Songs outlast their welcome. It's not until the last two tracks that they shake the mood and re-establish their credentials. Undoubtedly talented musicians, maybe Walkin Lions will get a break this time around.
Completing a night that showcased Leeds bands in varying states of evolution, tonight's headliners are the recently reformed Bridewell Taxis. History lesson: Bridewell Taxis were originally part of the Madchester scene, sounding more stripped down and scuffed up but still in the same mode as Ride and The Stone Roses. Not knowing the Taxis or Gang Of Four, I grew up thinking Leeds was some kind of musical wasteland, Manchester's bereft neighbour.
So how did this refresher course work out? Somewhat hit and miss. The fans looked on in awe. People danced. One girl walked through the crowd swinging her jacket like a helicopter blade. All I could see was what looked like the remnants of a wedding reception when everyone's had a few too many. The mood wasn't helped by the random images projected on to the screen, over and over again. Tony Yeboah's ferocious strike against Wimbledon was bafflingly followed by snippets of The Italian Job.
They played what must have been a similar set to the Bien Venue gig, with old standards Spirit, Just Good Friends and Wild Boar bringing the house down. Again they finished, as they started, with Honesty. I felt bummed out, especially with the killer reviews they've been getting. I just didn't get it. Everything seemed a little stale.
Post-gig I downloaded the tracks freely available on their website. They're good enough to have you considering a bowl-cut all over again. Only considering, mind. Although I'm still hoping they resurrect that trombone, the records give me hope that the fans were right and I'd missed something. Perhaps there's no need for the Bridewell Taxis to fear the reaper quite yet.