Live at Rocket on Monday, 29th May 2000
Bank Holiday Monday and "Lock & Load" bring us four local bands to play the Rocket Venue, fast becoming the best middle sized venue in Leeds, following the closure of the Duchess in March. Tonight sees an audience in what seems to be in excess of 100 - though not completely filling the 200 capacity venue, tonights bands have drawn a decent fanbase to make the venue 'cosy'. First band up tonight are the very young Loco, and a sizeable proportion of the audience are here to witness and cheer them on. Loco play a typical young rock band set, the expected Nirvana covers, the grunge rock feel. A little let down by the vocals, but like I mentioned the band are only young and can only get better - their best song of the night closes the set off, when their lead guitarist takes the microphone, its just a pity that he isn't given more of an opportunity to do this.
We take a major leap with the next band on tonight. String Fiktion are not only older, but appear more relaxed, more at one with the atmosphere. They start well, again playing the Nirvana covers, again playing a grunge rock affair, though straying slightly more down the metalic-hip hop route, with quick-fire vocals and the Korn, RATM guitars. String Fiktion also knock out a number of their own songs, looked good on stage and rocked. Only downpoint was a woefully bad attempt at Green day's Basket Case, the highpoint being the excellent songs to close, starting with bassist Jon's "I wrote this myself", and the song "Motorhead".
One Minute Warning are next on stage and for them this was probably the headline set for they completed the trio of lo-fi, grunge rock punk bands. One Minute warning take a while to settle, but when they do they play well, with female fronted vocals, and an again a majorly fast, distorted guitar rock'n'roll feel to back her up. Probably the best of the three young bands tonight, One Minute Warning are now established in the world of three-minute quickfire punk-pop-rock. Yeah, nice one, good set.
Finally, up come tonights headliners, and by far the best band of the evening - they arrive on stage donned in black shirts, ties, a rough suburban look, imagine 3 Colours Red on the way to the office. Tonight Mariko play sexy rock. Add to the glamour of their stage presence the skinny-boy stage swagger of Brett Suede or Rick Witter, and their vocalist Paul Gautrey has completed the setup. Even without playing an instrument and the band have enough manner about them to capture the audience, and with songs like "Perfect in Bed" and "Ugly Boring" you begin to understand where this complete self-belief comes from. Like the trio before them, Mariko too rock. But Mariko really rock in a completely different way. They rock in a controlled fashion, in a 'we could be mainstream, but thats no fun - we could be alternative, but we're just too good' approach - the band have certainly come a long way since their early Resin days. The band begin tonights set with "End of the Week", include songs such as "Elvis Loves us" and end with "Petals" and "Ugly Boring". A very enjoyable set and a good return to the Leeds scene, before jetting off to begin a Uk tour with the hopes of "putting rock music back on the map".