Posted by Alexander Rennie.
Reviewed on 27th March 2007.
Live at Cockpit on Tuesday, 13th March 2007
Do you ever find yourself boasting to chums about the time you saw some bloated stadium-fillers back in the day when they were bottom of the bill at Joseph's Well? And yet, when you honestly recall the night in question, you know in your heart of hearts that it didn't exactly set the world alight? If you were, then last Tuesday night at the Cockpit might well be added to the list. By the law of averages, at least one of the bands on the bill should get themselves noticed on a wider stage - the only problem being that the evening never quite caught fire as far as the audience was concerned.
Mother Vulpine were first up but, alas, I only caught the last couple of numbers - 'Yellow Top' and 'For a Friend'. These are as good a showcase for their catchy energetic guitar pop as any, but maybe I should remember to arrive earlier next time around. U R Penetrators offered a well drilled and technically accomplished variety of dancey guitar pop calculated to agitate the masses. Yet, for some reason, no-one was agitated (myself, and possibly some over-excited teenagers in the far corner, excepted.) Vocalist Liz is in danger of hitting the roof, physically if not metaphorically, but seems somewhat reserved for a six-footer turning out in body stocking and hotpants. Co-vocalist Jimi (differently, if equally arrestingly dressed) has a decent vocal range, though, and these fantastically taut songs more than deserve to be heard over and over again.
Rochelle were less retiring, with vocalist Lydia doing her very best to engage an apathetic crowd. In spite of the persistent gap between us and the stage, several punters couldn't help but get into their sounds - which was just enough encouragement to keep the band on their mettle. 'Party Girls' almost prompted the previously mentioned teens into getting the party started, but the audience generally appeared rather too hard to please. The band offered orchestrated melodic electronica which really deserved more response from the room. On other nights this would have been half an hour of sure-fire danceable winners.
Finally I Was A Cub Scout take to the stage, the crowd push forward and the headline set begins. The only problem is that the headliners' crowd are soon shown to be the source of all inertia. This is searching and synthesized positive pop melodica, but again the crowd seemed utterly unwilling to engage. Sadly the band seem little inclined to do anything about it. The drummer's efforts totalled a solitary mumbled 'hello', whereas the vocalist extended to kicking-off his gold slippers, but they sometimes seemed as disengaged as the crowd. This culminated in the most half-hearted attempt to mount a speaker stack which I have had the privilege to witness. Our hero managed an ungainly ascent, only to realise that he'd just finished his last song and should therefore exit stage left. The embarrassing retreat summed up the whole evening; hubris followed by indifference and disappointment. I thought all of these bands were great, but I wish that they'd had the stage presence to stamp the same opinion upon the some of the inanimate droids also allowed through the turnstile tonight.
alternative dance rock