Posted by Francois El-Alfy.
Reviewed on 1st January 2004.
Live at New Roscoe on Wednesday, 25th April 2001
Given the amount of hype openers FLIPSIDE give themselves, I could be forgiven for thinking I'd walked into the wrong venue had it not been for the stately John Keenan on the door. It's not that they did anything wrong, more that they really didn't do anything to excite; rambling through an ordinary set with competence, but never looking like they really meant it. Despite fear of being shot down for saying it, they looked the perrenial pub band.
All of FlipSide's shortcomings were only exaggerated by CATYLYST. Now here's a band with balls, going on stage as a two piece after their guitarist managed to crash his car on the way to the chippy after soundcheck. Frontman Chris May seemed to revel in having the entire stage to himself, and I'm pretty sure he used every inch of it, thrashing his guitar, and himself, around without ever hitting a wrong note - and giving the kind of vocal performance that makes you wonder where he keeps his lungs. Coupled with one of the most impressive young drummers I've ever seen, they are one of the few bands around who can produce a performance to match their recorded work. The unashamedly RAWK music isn't normally my cup of tea, but when it's delivered this well, it demands attention - and they're infuriatingly young, too. Can't wait to see the full band in action sometime soon (their guitarist's injuries not being serious, it transpires!).
Headliners PHLUID are a strange bunch. At first glance, you hide your wallet and start rooting through loose change for the Big Issue cover price; I'm sure 'glam' never used to have that much visual attitude, but I may be wrong! Once they get on stage, though, it all makes perfect sense. This is the second time I've seen this band recently, and they have it all. Great punk pop songs, competent musicianship and 110% effort from every band member (except the curiously static bassist who looked like he'd rather be cutting hair - he must be a hairdresser by day?). This may sound like what any band should do, but to give that much to a disappointingly small crowd isn't easy, and both Phluid and Catylyst managed to put on a 'show' to complement the music.
If I have one criticism, it's that two days later I can't remember a single Phluid song - but then they're not Westlife, are they? They sell an attitude - it's the grand rock'n'roll pantomime as it should be, the kind of performance art that makes kids want a guitar for Christmas, and I have very little doubt that I witnessed two bands who are going to achieve some success in their field tonight. And one who won't.