Live at Joseph's Well on Monday, 9th July 2001
I know it's highly unprofessional of a reviewer to get on stage with a band, and even worse to dance about like an arse and then throw himself offstage into the crowd, but I just couldn't help it. You try being sensible when Mr Shiraz are in full flight. I dare you. But more about Shiraz later.
THE 42 TONES kicked off the shenanigans and looked totally acellent. The black suits, ties and trainers, not to mention the two-tone guitar straps make you love this band before they even play a note. The 42 Tones play some wicked ska/punk stuff and have two kids on bass and drums who are probably younger than me even if you add their ages together. And they're brilliant. The big, and very young, crowd take a while to warm up but as soon as The 42 Tones burst into a riotous cover of the Ace of Base 'classic' "All That She Wants", the place goes ballistic. The front of the Well is packed with happy skankers (cockney rhyming slang? Not this time!) and the band keep up the momentum through to the end of a great set to leave everyone sweaty, and in need of booze before the next band.
Bombed Out Records very own EIGHTY SIX take no prisoners tonight, a full on onslaught of three-chord punk in the vein of Green Day and occasionally my new favourite band, The Get Up Kids. All the songs sound exactly the same but that's no criticism as what Eighty Six play is a tried and tested formula that clearly works. If it ain't broken, and all that. The kids go mental again and The Six hammer the last few tunes out before exiting to a well-deserved ovation.
There's been a lot of debate recently about "the Leeds scene" and how many top-notch bands are kicking around these parts at the moment. Although we're privileged to have a very wide range of acts and genres (horrible word) it's becoming increasingly noticeable that there is a huge amount of ska and punk bands in and around this city that are pretty phenomenal. Watch and wait, as Leeds Ska City takes off big time in the coming months.
Heading the pack of contenders are the awesome MR SHIRAZ. Now augmented on trombone by local legend/nutter Sir Christopher Colin Catylyst-Shiraz-May, Shiraz really are the bollocks now. And big ones at that. Mike, Chris and Fonts have the crowd eating out of their hands, even convincing people to sway their arms about as if they were watching the great Celine Dion. Rob and Tori on drums and bass are as solid as a three week old turd in October (that's meant to be a compliment), and the horn section comes in and out of the songs at all the right moments to add a touch of style to Fonts' dirty metal riffs, Mike's rasping rockin' vocals, and Kris's dancing/lunacy. I'm not even gonna bother singling out highlight tracks from tonight's set because every single one is quality. Mr Shiraz are a band who correctly place a huge emphasis on giving the crowd the best night of their lives, but they are also seriously good musicians. The band are stirring up a lot of interest at the moment and it's easy to see why on this showing. The kids love 'em and the people in the know seem to love 'em too. Taking their Shirazamatazz to London for the first time this weekend, it's surely a matter of time before they take another step up the ladder to ska greatness.