Live at Brudenell Social Club on Friday, 27th April 2007
The Engine Room's fourth birthday celebrations were always going to be something special. The Brudenell Social Club was absolutely heaving, filled with many a familiar face from Leeds' bands.
The first band of the evening were Mikky 'Pea' Kerrr and the Doods - he complained in a song about journalists spelling his name wrong, luckily I haven't made the same mistake. I hope that his arrogance and cockiness about the greatness of his song writing was meant to be ironic. The music fluctuated between sub-Magic Numbers tweeness, and the type of embarrassing rap that Robbie Williams often provides. Micky's over use of the word 'fucking' gave a subtlety to his comedy that is only shared by the visionary Roy 'Chubby' Brown.
Middleman were on next, sounding like a mid-point between The Streets, Madness and rave. Their set was fun; the basslines were genius, and I think you would be hard pressed to find a person who didn't find themselves moving to this music. Middleman manage to create a fusion of funk, ska, and baggy, and mix them with some great vocal hooks - there's definitely a hint of a modern day Happy Mondays. Middleman are definitely a band to look watch out for. "You say middle; we say man, middle, man, middle, man."
The return of O Fracas is something that I have been looking forward to for a while. The last time I saw them was when they were being supported by The Pigeon Detectives. They are a band re-energized; the new bass player has improved the band's live sound. O Fracas' songs are as intelligent as they are impressive. You can tell that this is a band who know how to write music. Their set was fantastic, and for me they were the highlight of the evening. The new songs definitely mark a progression in their sound, but they have managed to retain the energy that made them so interesting in the first place. All I can say is bring on the album!
Next came the 'Engine Room fucking hero awards'. Nine awards were given out to individuals and bands who have made the Engine Room what is today. For one award there was a 'live' satellite link-up with China (or was that Meanwood?) to speak to The Sunshine Underground - who seemed genuinely pleased to receive an award. These awards made me realise what a fantastic and unique place the Engine Room is, and that much of what is achieved is through volunteers who love music.
The final band of the evening was Napoleon IIIrd. The night was meant to act as Napoleon IIIrd's album launch, but some difficulties have lead to a delay in the album's release. This is the first time I've seen them live even though I've been listening to their stuff on MySpace for quite a while. The stage presence of the band and the sound reminded me very much of Flaming Lips' live shows. On the whole, I thought that the set was great, the band were tight, and even the reel to reel managed to stay in time. The album is scheduled for release on the 14th May and if the live show is anything to go by, it promises to be a classic.