These lads have been on my mind today, because they stood out in an otherwise pretty dismal gig on Saturday night. The occasion was an allegedly Christmas evening's entertainment - although of course it isn't Christmas yet - loosely organised by the once excellent Tigertrap records at Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes.
I confess part of the appeal was to visit a venue which sounded intriguing but which I hadn't had a chance to see before. The reality was rather less so. I'd been wondering how they'd integrate an American-style bowling alley and a music venue, and the answer is, they don't. There's a bowling alley, and then there's a rather forlorn and neglected small stage in the corridor next to it. You're painfully aware throughout that you're really in the basement of a large, bland hotel. And we couldn't even bowl, the lanes all being booked by Christmas party groups who must have found the racket of the sound-checking bands a nuisance. For the rest of us there was an awful lot of standing around listening to those sound checks, an insight that wasn't without interest, although one couldn't help wondering why the doors hadn't been opened after all this. Still, they sold plenty of drink in our direction - so there's your answer - as we sought to alleviate the boredom in the only way we knew how.
But these made it worth it. I took an instant shine to their urgent and intense manner. They gave me just what I was looking for: a set of shouty, spiky and short songs that didn't outstay its welcome and kept me awake (I've developed a bad record of late for falling asleep in theatres and seated music venues). Their (disappointingly self-titled) mini-LP/EP whatever it is CD on the aforementioned label offers you eight tunes in under 17 minutes, which gives you an idea of where they're coming from. In truth this isn't really anything we haven't heard before, but what sets them apart is a spark of wit, summed up in song titles like I May Not Be Jimi Hendrix But At Least I'm Still Alive. That combination of the agressive and the playful will always snare me. For those of us who've rather missed Mclusky, we may have found their heirs. Great band name, too. Try to catch them live in the six months or so before they become old and boring and crack the three minute barrier.
The rest of the evening was alas downhill from this point, concluding in a lairy drunk man, who had started an argument with me, picking up a glass bottle by the neck and testing its weight in a significant way. I made my excuses and left. Christmas, eh?