Live at Mixing Tin on Friday, 18th August 2006
It was with some trepidation that I approached The Mixing Tin last Friday as the bassist of reasonably new boys on the scene The High Chairs, had been sporadically emailing me and seemed like such an affable and friendly chap that I was absolutely terrified that the band would be awful and I'd have to say something negative about them and crush poor Roj's hope and dreams. Sure enough, said lovely chap was waiting at the door with a smile and a brief look of alarm when he realised I'd brought 2 ligger buddies, not one. The crisis was quickly resolved and we settled down amongst the drunken rabble (bless 'em) and waited to be entertained.
Second on the bill were Run Down Square. They deserve a special mention for being, well, pretty great actually. A bit of a motley looking crew, (one band member cannot be more than 16 and looks remarkably like the sweet little chavs at the end of my street who are forever asking me to show them my tits) they have no real definition or streamlining of physical style or real central identity. Turns out it doesn't matter actually as after a bit of a shakey start the band launched into a fantastic sweaty set, the lot of 'em grinning like fools and clearly loving every second. They were fun, raucous, rowdy and totally fierce. They're also in possession of the prettiest lead singer this end of the M1. I'll be disappointed if I don't hear any more from them.
The High Chairs launched straight into 'The Secret Life of Mr Jones'. After listening to the 3 songs on the band's myspace, I was a bit apprehensive about hearing them live. Luckily it's the recordings that don't do them justice as 'Mr. Jones' sounded 20 times better live than it did online. Catchy and fresh, it was a great opener and set the pace of things to come.
'Taking A Walk Inside' continued to revise my earlier opinion. It too worked very well live and had a great Kasabian-like 'be part of our gang' feel. Inclusive and rousing; this is music that, while not the cutting edge of cool, seems born for throwing your arms round your mates and waving your lighter over ya head in the open air.
They played a 'brand new song' which I missed the name of that sounded quite sexy and exerted what can only be described as fuckable rhythmic guitar riffs. 'Wind Up' had the smallest sniff of The Strokes and 'Losing It' had a belting intro that smacked of LCD Soundsystem's 'Daft Punk Is Playing At My House'. I bloody well loved it.
This is a band clearly influenced by 'Madchester' and early 90's northern rock. At times I was reminded of the Happy Mondays, The Stone Roses and The Bluetones. A lot of the songs had very Kula Shaker guitar riffs which sounded surprisingly, so good it frankly made me long for the summer of 1996. The style isn't a depressing rehash, more a cheerful and comforting nostalgia.
The lead singer, Dan, has a voice which, as my sexy girl mates remarked, is really really good live. All he's lacking is a little more showmanship and I wouldn't advise he went for the blue velvet jacket again but I was more than a bit impressed. Melodious and soaring it too is a voice born for festivals and the cowbells and tambourine he dips into occasionally are a nice touch. The guitarist Simo (I think, he has long floppy blonde hair) is simply, fantastic. As are all the band, really tight. They make you wanna get up and toss yourself and your pint around all over the dancefloor.
The only real complaint I would make is that some of the songs are a bit samey and there isn't really anything that would make you rush out and buy it but if you hear it on the radio a couple of times there's a distinct possibility that you'll annoy the hell out of your office/flat/classroom by humming and singing it all day without realising it.
Some are the songs are now and again a little bog standard (and alarmingly the last song was a bit Maroon 5) but as I've already said, it is not cutting edge but for what it is, it's great. It is 'sing along night out with your buddies' music and I found it totally enjoyable.