Live at Cockpit on Friday, 27th June 2008
It's the second of the Futuresound heats, and what I manage to catch of The Dead Certs' set is sadly quite brief, as I arrive at the Cockpit a little later than planned. Even just from the final half of their set, nonetheless, it's easy to see what The Dead Certs are about. Whether their brazen, tumbledown pop appeals to your particular tastes or not, it's nice to see a band give it their absolute all live, with on-stage flamboyancy often beyond belief, and this animation generally makes up for any shortcomings. It may be alarmingly reminiscent of Arctic Monkeys but it goes down well with the crowd, who by the end of the set are obviously enthused by The Dead Certs' boisterousness.
Fourteen Corners provide the flipside to this. Soft-spoken vocals, sweet harmonies and delicate, acoustic guitar-centric backings conjure up the notion of placid folk-rock but they manage to slip in a good few philosophical and political points, sugared by the unassuming instrumental lines. "New Limbs for Old Flames", and its light, dainty hooks, comes across particularly well, while "Small Northern Town" is perhaps the best example of Fourteen Corners' frontman's lyrical style -thoughts almost spilling out earnestly and passionately. In addition to some nice arpeggio work and fills on electric guitar and precise drumming, Fourteen Corners' set is simply disarming.
Sketches round the night off with their contribution - unfortunately, the set never quite seems to get off the ground. There are some very stylish drum parts, the rhythmic figures played on a bass drum precariously placed on a snare-type stand included, and heavy guitar and bass but by the time they are starting to warm up, it's time to leave. The general consensus in the audience also, worryingly, seems to be that old track "Sundays" is the high point of the set. There are, however, flashes of brilliance in newer material such as "This Sir Is War", with its hammering bass line, strong melodic material and wah-drenched guitar solo. So perhaps any weaknesses will be amended purely through more time to accustom themselves to gigging these tracks.