Live at Joseph's Well on Friday, 15th February 2002
Uptight borrow from many sounds mostly from around the 60's/70's period to create a funky mod-rock vibe. There's the occasional bit of Jimi Hendrix wah wah in there combined with an early Beatles pop edge and the look of the Hives only with red ties. The band consists of Jonny Wilson (guitar and lead vocals, you may recognise him from having played in Sleepwalker), Simon Fletcher (bassist and backing vocals), Daz Lee (drums) and Martin Brown (keyboard-type-organ-thing). Later they play what they call their "International Superhit", 'Nothing but Nothing', which again has that funky edge, especially with the Booker T-like organ keyboard. It's original rocking mod music that makes you want to buy a scooter, plaster it with mirrors and don a huge Parker. Definitely the kind of melodic rock that could get anyone with a love for guitar music and 50cc vehicles a-wiggling. Although drummer Daz looks like Liam Gallagher their sound is more than enough to compensate for this fact. They look and sound good, plus they gave me a free copy of their 'Hitman' EP and in my books free stuff from the band is a sign of excellence. There's not as much hype around this band as there probably should be, but it's refreshingly different to hear something that's a tribute to past and present rather than another nu-metal, emo, punk etcetera compilation.
Commonside play a rather slow set. Despite quite some praise from the Yorkshire Post and various other local papers, I couldn't help but think it would be good scrabble playing music. It was nice soft indie rock, not bad summertime music, but the kind that can't be taken in large quantities. Singularly the tracks have their own qualities, the occasional bit of scratchy, rough guitar adding an edge, one particular track with melodic acoustic rhythm and harmonica sounding similar to XTC's 'The Ballad of Peter Pumpkin Head'. That sort of lost gentle rock lingers in the rhythm, mildly reminiscent of 'Crowded House' but don't use that as a direct comparison. The first few songs grasped my attention, the performance was steady, with no exceptional surprises, well rehearsed, but I did end up wondering when they were going to end. By the time the drum outro arrived I couldn't tell if they were going to finish or play another thirty songs. Other than the seemingly elongated set they were evidently a well-followed band, with a very expectant fan base.
Mainline do exactly what Guru's of music such as Mr. Peel advise against. Start on a cover. However, I thought it worked quite well. 'Back in the USSR' caught everyone's attention straight away and people either flocked inside or propped up the bar singing along under their breath. The most disappointing thing ever to happen ever was the fact that the guitarist didn't play the complete version of the lead, with the high notes and all. A huge let down, and subsequently let them down in that cover anyway. After their Beatle's impersonation they turned to some of their own material and obviously no comparison can be made between themselves and the Beatles. They did have a strong melodic and often picky guitar section, but the vocals seemed a bit mismatched with the music like they belonged to another band with a different sound. Later another cover was pulled from the crowd-pleaser hat, 'Get your rocks off' seemed like an ideal track to get all the young uns interested again, it was like being at a sixth form leaving-do. In fact they would make a good Wedding/leaver's-do band. The covers were good; their own material had an interesting guitar sound but was kind of living in the shadow of the interest that's always generated by cover tracks.
Commonside are a four piece guitar/indie/rock band based in West Yorkshire