Live at Leeds Metropolitan University on Monday, 11th March 2002
Why, oh why, oh why?? What is it with female bass players? Now I've been in bands with three myself and my current partner in rhythm, Miss Ravelle, is an exception to this rule...mostly anyway. What makes her so different to the others? She smiles.
It's not hard surely? I mean, you're on stage to a room of around 600 people all watching your band. Your single has just been released in the shops. You could take any one of the strapping young students back onto your tour bus and do things to him that he could never bring himself to write about in his letters home to mummy.
Well apparently for Easyworld's bassist all this is not enough to coerce her lips into a grin. Not even a smirk. Whilst the singer guitarist tries his best to put a bit of energy into the performance he's never going to be able to do it on his own. This is where Easyworld fall down. They have decent enough tunes; "Junkies and Whores" is the standout, a departure from the Placebo-esque numbers it follows on from, with an introduction of mandolin and some good use of drum triggers and pads. The remainder of the set is quite strong and Easyworld are reminiscent of Subcircus in places and, on occasion, Mercury Rev, but that's down to the vocals more than anything else.
It's not a bad set but it's not a performance that leaves you inclined to buy an album or eagerly await their own headlining tour. A single or two perhaps could be worth an investment, but Easyworld look like they lack conviction and belief in themselves, so why should you?
Suited and booted The Bluetones take the stage. One of those bands that seem to have been round forever and have more great songs than you actually remember. A great live act who, for whatever reason, never really did too much damage to the charts. With an impending "Singles" collection on the way to your local record store tonight is going to be a dream for the hard-core tones fan, a trip through all their greatest moments. That's how it should be.
Well the songs are still certainly great; "Carnt Be Trusted", "Bluetonic", "Keep The Home Fires Burning", "Solomon Bites The Worm", all fine pop tunes with sing-a-long choruses, and hell, even sing-a-long verses! So what's missing? Again it's the energy. Mark Morris is a fine frontman and skips, bobs and weaves across the stage evidently having fun and throwing himself into the vocals. You just get the feeling that these songs could really go up a gear. I recall seeing the band play the second stage at V97 after The Prodigy had just played the main stage. The Bluetones of then were awesome, they rocked, the moved, they shook, and it was impossible to stand still.
I guess it's all summed up in the new songs (we're treated to three tonight) that just don't cut it when compared to something like "Slight Return" which is probably the only moment where that old magic is rekindled. "Persuasion" starts off with so much promise but you find yourself wanting to scream "JUST ROCK OUT!!!" It's a song that begs to be hammered out, yet its delivery doesn't make it prick up the ears like you imagine it could at full tilt.
The faithful lap it all up though and there's some of the worst crowd surfing ever on display (basically security guards dragging people out of the crowd after a failed leap in the air). The banter is good and it sees the band through, aided by the aforementioned "Slight Return" and the rousing encore of "If". The Bluetones display what Easyworld could do with having, although they don't have quite of much of it as they once did. The songs are there but the magic is fading, and that just doesn't cut the rug (a song unfortunately absent from tonight's set), or at least make all of tonight's crowd want to.