Live at Cockpit on Monday, 15th April 2002
Sahara Hotnights: four girls who according to the poster at the entrance play "pop-punk ditties"... that's got to sound like The Donnas then? Wrong. This is more like riot grrrl, with a bit of a new wave edge and a lot more rock (than punk) punch. Imagine what would happen if Billy Joe conspired with Justine Frischmann to create a Ramones rip-off video; mix that in with some dirty guitars (no, think harder - dirtier than that) and an incredibly powerful, angst filled vocal and you'll be somewhere near these Swedish rockers. Girl rock... what a start!
Halo take to the stage looking like rock stars with studded belts and (wee) mohicans, which makes it all the more surprising when they begin to play indie. Ok, so it verges on the rockier side of indie, but errr, Mansun anyone? Whilst everyone waits for the young rock stars to subject them to 30 minutes of testosterone-driven attitude and bollocks, they are treated instead to beautiful, two-part harmonies - such an impressive, though instantly forgettable, collection of songs would normally be great, but not tonight. Halo failed to ignite by simply being that little bit too nice at a time when a touch of gut spewing rock'n'roll noise wouldn't have gone amiss.
Tonight's highly charged, anticipative audience is indicative of the dramatic increase in nationwide support for tonight's headliners The Cooper Temple Clause. In the last nine months alone they have followed their hazy summer 2001 UK-wide introduction - via their limited "The Warfare EP" box set (and for those real fans, the "The Hardware EP") - with acclaimed support tours with Muse and The Charlatans; they have appeared at Leeds / Reading festivals and hit the mainstream with a live TV performance on CD:UK. They've even charted for gawd's sake!
So where Halo failed, TCTC succeed - they are exactly what the kids want: an adrenaline-fuelled aural assault of guitars and keyboards ripping the hearts out of every single member of the audience. Delivered via a continued frenzy of off and on-stage activity, "Panzer Attack" is truly awesome (as expected), as are recent singles "Film Maker" (which no doubt many will have heard by now on MTV2) and "Let's Kill Music". They also manage to make loud-as-fuck unstructured noise sound so good, a trait so sadly missed since Sonic Youth's demise - excellent! TCTC lead the fight to liberate the current indie music scene from its US-dominated mediocrity and on tonight's showing things are going exactly to plan...