Live at Joseph's Well on Saturday, 27th April 2002
Review featured with permission from www.whisperinandhollerin.com
Wrath Records are a new label in Leeds, based around 4 bands who have a lot in common. They are built around what they themselves admit to be an incestuous style of inter-band cross-pollination. They may as they suggest be inbred, but they are a credit to their gene pool.
When I went I was so full of cold that I envisaged having to write a piece about Leeds bands being drowned in showers of snot from a plague ridden music hack. However, either the music and enthusiasm of the bands, or the 2 Red Bulls I downed when I got there, provided a miracle cure.
The night began with Being 747, a three piece made up of 2 members of The Scaramanga Six and a singer/guitarist from another of the interconnected bands. So, the incest begins. They opened the show excellently, providing us with a slice of country tinged pop, reminding me of that much missed band Benny Profane, in vocal style and subject matter. Shades of Super Furry Animals at their poppiest and The Wedding Present were also present. The back projection behind them showing the bands videos and other images added a professional touch to the proceedings - showing that these are a bunch of musicians that are prepared to go that little extra way to entertain - showing up other, major label bands who just turn up and plug in. Songs such as "Communist Prince" showed that they are capable of writing catch pop with unusual subject matter and making it work. Dressed uniformly in red shirts the band continued with "Target Practice" and "Use Your Friends" further demonstrated their pop sensibilities. Steve Morricone swaps between bass and keyboards, keyboards adding an even poppier touch at intervals in the songs. "Weather Girl" was said to be a dedication from Sven Eriksson to a certain mystery woman. It's country sound reminiscent of The Colourblind James experience, shambling gently and being all the more charming for it. The final song, "Mind Of A 12 Year Old Child" closes the show, with apologies for the technical difficulties, which, in my mind hadn't mired the show but added to it.
Next up were Farming Incident. The first song was a false start, which we can put down to nerves. They have a very dense sound, with a huge farting rhino bassline, reminding this reviewer of the Fall, whose twisted worldview they also seem to share judging by the subject matter of their songs, ranging from tales of dead Russian airmen being flown home on planes from Chechnia to "Spindryer", about having your arm ripped off in a, you guessed it, spin dryer. There's a fair bit of instrument swapping going on here, with the two guitarists, bassist and drummer all changing round, even occasional keyboards are added and on the third song, no drums as the drummer takes on bass duties. The first line of "Spindryer" states that "this is not art", but it is, in a Damien Hirst / Tracy Emin sort of way - it's uncomfortable, interesting and not everyone's cup of tea but it does intrigue.
Following on from Farming Incident were Galitza. For me, they were best band of the night. Their poppy tunes framed by a hard edge provided by 2 guitarists, bassist and drummer while co-frontwoman, the ever-grinning Emma swaps between guitar and keyboard. The frontman of the band is Stevie and he, despite promises not to, provides inter song banter of a surreal nature. Horse obsessed band Galitza provide you with enough tunes, vocal gymnastics and mesmerising performances to make me put away my notebook and just listen. Make them stars now. Some of their songs have three of the band singing and with keyboards the sound is mature and powerful. Songs such as "You Must Be The Devil" show a gentler side. They have been formed from the remnants of the much missed Chest and Landspeed Loungers and share a similarity with these bands but have clearly developed well in their current format. It's difficult to lay down comparisons but the most obvious to my ears is Emma's voice coming on like a cross between both Kristin Hersh and Tanya Donnelly from Throwing Muses and Liz Frazier from the Cocteau Twins. Other than that they're out on their own!
The night was drawn to a close by The Scaramanga Six. This band ROCK! (With a capital R and a fairly large O,C and K!) They open with "Big In A Small Town", which at the moment they are but with the current taste for hard-edged rock/blues stuff they will surely be big all over in the not too distant. They fill the stage now though, "Come nearer" they goad, "We won't bite!" but by the looks of them they will! They musically resemble a cross between The Birthday Party and The Stranglers, the sound consisting of 3 guitars, 2 played by women (just so you know it's not all male dominated rock here), a bass player, keyboards and drums. It's a raw sound and by the third song "Singer Of Songs" the power of the vocals is fantastic. The fourth song "You Do, You Die" is a hard, punch affair, and the next song seems to bring this down a note with what sounds like the keyboard sound from a kids TV show from the 70's. However it quickly metamorphoses into something that would leave many small children snivelling and running to mummy. God help kids if The Scaramanga Six ever get asked to provide the new theme to a programme. Jenny, one of the guitarists bounces throughout as Steve and Paul rock out, throwing shapes whilst Julia plays a storming guitar and James and John provide keyboards and drums to pummel us all into submission. The band who torture from Yorkshire indeed! The sixth song "Pressure Cage" powers along at 100 miles an hour. It's so long since I went to a gig that actually felt this important. Maybe all the bands won't make it, but with this much commitment they should do. "Does anyone doubt the Wrath now?" they ask. No, they don't! The next song has a riff like "Foxy Lady" but goes off in all sorts of other directions too, this is an interesting band. The drummer gives it what for on the rolls and the song slams to a close. The crowd leave satiated.
Four bands of mates have clubbed together for the common purpose of getting heard and having a good time making records and performing to people. If you're reading this in London then on Saturday 18th May get down to the Bull and Gate to see more of the same described here. The four bands are performing a showcase there and I'm sure will have all sorts of record companies snapping at their heels. Whatever, just get down there - you won't be disappointed!