Live at Players (Wakefield) on Friday, 27th April 2001
Ah, Players. The Landlord looks grumpy, the beer is rubbish, and it's full of teenage nu-metal fans. I don't know where else you'd want to be on a Friday night, especially when there are bands on...
The night gets off to a great start with the appearance of "the Godfather of Rock" (Led Zeppelin patches: check; dark glasses even though it's pitch black in here: check; hilarious cowboy boots with stetsons and everything: check) and a compere who looks like he's escaped from Grandaddy bellowing at the top of his voice "Come on everybody! It's Mozo!!!"
And indeed it is. Lacking a vocalist tonight ("I wouldn't mind, but he's in Southampton watching Coldplay, for fuck's sake") they replace him with Neil 5'4" and another of their friends, whose name I didn't catch. Mozo play a lovely blend of light funky pop, which sometimes strays into early 90's shoegazing (look carefully during "Ocean" and you'll see the ghosts of Ride, watching over the band through their fringes and tripping over the hems of their own trousers). The other vocalist tonight comes in the shape of drummer Rachel who sits down to sing her song, as if shy, but she should be confident in her voice, which is reminiscent of Suzanne Vega. Extra gold stars to Neil, though, who not only impales himself on the mic stand at several points during this gig, but also manfully makes up words for songs he doesn't know on the spot and has everybody in stitches.
Chevron are next up and couldn't be more different. At the start of their set, the vocals are far too quiet, but this could equally be due to the prominence of guitar noise in their sound. In 'Billy The Rhinoceros Keeper' almost entire crowd is singing along with the "da doo das" (except for the Godfather of Rock, who is obviously FAR TOO COOL for any of this kind of tomfoolery), which are not rendered in a The Police-style, I feel it necessary to point out. But do not be misled by their singalong qualities, oh no, for there are long parts of Chevron's songs which feature long instrumental breaks with excellent guitar-totin' RAWK ACTION, a la Dinosaur Junior. Which can only work in their favour, I feel. The end of their set heralds the first sighting of people dancing in Players since Christmas (True Fact).
Sadly, Morassi seem a bit of an anti-climax following the sets of the other two bands. Yes, they're good musicians, and yes, they do have ideas, but their set is rather samey and they're not really powerful enough to communicate with the crowd. Although the singer's constant assertion that they are a Country and Western band, I couldn't really hear that in their songs, although it has to be pointed out that they probably weren't done any favours by the sound.
Towards the end of their set, the grumpy landlord reappears and flicks the light switch on and glares at everybody 'til they leave, so I have to confess that I didn't catch the end of Morassi's set. It was a rockin' hard rock heavy rock animal night though, and I hope to see more gigs like this in Players, please!