Friday, 24 June 2011

The way you are sends the shivers to my head. Fave Tunes April / May 2011

Record Shop - Help Stamp Out Loneliness Sparkling spiralling pop anthemness

You Can Take A Heart But You Cannot Make It Beat - Hong Kong In The 60s Especially for the woozly bass

Mazes - Moon Duo HAPPY! Crunchy-drone dreaminess

Precarious Stair - Crystal Stilts It’s not really big or clever to try and be The Velvet Underground, but it is big and clever to sound like Crash being The Velvet Underground

Drone - Panda Bear Heart-twisting

Are You Watching – Hintermas Like Soft Hearted Scientists playing during the Programmes For Schools countdown clock

18 Hours Of Love – KXP Raahhh! Alvin Stardust takes steroids and gets kosmichely funky

He Gets Me High - Dum Dum Girls FuzzeeEE! And reminds me of Beat Happening / Screaming Trees song ‘Polly Pereguin’

Surfer’s Hymn – Panda Bear Makes you have kaleidoscope ears

9 Million Rainy Days – The Jesus & Mary Chain Had an urge to listen to ‘Darklands’ again after seeing this: And fell in love with this song all over.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Tender Trap / The Garden City Projects Band – 30 April 2011, Filthy McNastys

My Autumn Almanac, a night put on by The Garden City Projects Band, always has excellent fliers. I am easily won over by a tasty graphic, as I am by a night promising good bands playing in a friendly pub, but somehow I keep missing My Autumn Almanac happenings – they’re rather below the radar, so I’m mighty pleased tonight’s outing at Filthy McNasty’s has come to my attention.

The barman at Filthy McNastys has been meaning to try out the new Strawberry and Lime flavour Kopparberg cider. Tonight he gets his chance when we order a bottle each and he helps himself to a wee taster, ‘You don’t mind if I try some do you?’ Unfortunately, he declares it delicious and decides he may have a new alcoholic obsession on its way. As we’re engaging in this impromptu cider tasting, Tender Trap are soundchecking in the other room. They do a song with a bassline that is exactly ‘Gimme Some Lovin’ which makes us snigger. It isn’t ‘Gimme Some Lovin’ though, later when we hear it all properly we find it’s a stampy, groovy new Tender Trap song, one of a few unleashed tonight.

The band are having to play in a slightly quieter, less fuzzed up mode, but they still make a glorious bounce off the walls shake your imaginary tambourine buzzpop noise. During ‘2 to the N’ the momentum of the song builds into a shining wall of blissful sound and my head goes ‘Wooh!’ and almost bursts like a pop bubble. Another new song is written from the point of view of the boy (or girl or transgender person as Amelia points out for equality purposes) in ‘Train From Kansas City’ - a brilliantly obvious idea for a pop song, as all the best ideas usually are.

Emily of Betty and The Werewolves has taken over from Elizabeth Allo Darlin’ on guitar, adding a gleeful smiley energy, and, along with stand up drummer Katrina, some heart-whizzing scuffed up girl group harmonies.

As ever the band are endearingly entertaining, Amelia tells us she once played in a band with Paddy, The Garden City Projects Band drummer – when they were at school. Imagine!

The Garden City Projects Band are beatnik suburbia new town modernists with hairy leanings who purvey bright folk-bossa-pop with irresistible tunes and lashings of mandolin. A sound not a million miles from The Memory Band’s lush clockwork bucolia. In their words The GCPB play ‘rural sounds for the city’, and their mix of song titles suggests this merging of styles; ‘Winter Solstice Morning’ versus ‘With Love From The Stafford Cripps Estate’ (my fave). After a set glinting with hints of a brighter world, the band close with sway-along stormer ‘Hey Myfanwy’ and we wake from floating on folky tributaries of tune to find ourselves in Central London, and not at The Eel’s Foot Inn circa 1968.

Hong Kong In The 60s / The Sunny Street – 27 April 2011, The Social

Huzzah! We are at a Sonic Cathedral night and Hong Kong In The 60s are launching their debut album. This is exciting as HK60s do interesting things like collaborating on a Ghost Box Study Series seven inch with The Advisory Circle, supporting The High Llamas, and releasing intriguing e.p.s that feature the sound of hospital ward jazz cocktail parties. They also have a selection of delicately constructed mind-stroking tunes.

Unfortunately their album ‘My Fantoms’ hasn’t actually been released in time for this launch, so we can’t get our hands on it. However, we do get a free mix cd and some tasty Chinese sweets – behold the White Rabbit!

We also get to enjoy visuals courtesy of a HK60s-chosen DVD flickering in the corner of the room. It’s giallo ‘triumph’ ‘Hatchet For A Honeymoon’ in all its stylish gory glory. It’s also a highly inappropriate backdrop to the sweet-heartedly elegant sounds of The Sunny Street. Whilst they swathe us in blossom-scented dream-pop behind them a man in bridal drag wields a bloody post-murder hatchet. Incongruous!

The Sunny Street are three boys with guitars, a backing track and Delphine up front whispering sherbet vocals over Acid House Kings style bossa-indie. When they woosh and build, guitars a-twangle it’s like New Order gone all continental and Goddard-ish or The Radio Dept having a sun dappled picnic.

Hong Kong In The 60s channel vintage Chinese pop, the otherworldly tones of Broadcast, unsettling film soundtracks (hence the giallo shenanigans) and a hint of kosmiche through a selection of cranky keyboards. Mei Yau sings in a wistful tone and they flood the room with contemplative, slightly melancholic hypnagogic dust motes of sound. The best bits are when Tim and Chris throw in some harmonies allowing the songs to flourish, and when Tim adds twangly, gooey bass bumping up the driftyness into something almost funky in a ‘Long Hot Summer’ sort of way (‘You Can Take A Heart But You Cannot Make It Beat’).

We spend an enjoyable time, lulled by the sleepy electronic atmospherics, peeking into the cabinets of curiosity that are HK60s songs. By the end of the set there’s a general air of thanks for the sweets, can we have the album now please?

P.S. Yes we can have the album now please. It is out!

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Excellent piece on the C86 cassette over at The Quietus, once agian patiently explaining that no it wasn't all jangly in them days:

Also, from the Comments, a memory that rings true:

"God yeah, Stump. The sound of Friday tea-times of the mid-80s, trying to see how long your Dad would let you watch The Tube until his patience snapped."
Ha ha!

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Help Stamp Out Loneliness - Help Stamp Out Loneliness (WIAIWYA / Papillons Noir)

Woo! A real whizz of excitement when I open up the jiffy bag and discover I’ve been sent the debut by Help Stamp Out Loneliness. Gig ubiquitous a couple of years ago, the band have been off the radar for a bit, but their songs stayed in my head the whole time, infectious tunes flashing out of my memory at random moments, sparkling bright, making me smile. It’s great to see them back, especially with this beautifully honed album.

You know the way you’re always hoping a record will hit pop highs? When you’re waiting for that point when the music flicks that switch inside you that transforms the world… and then often it never quite works? This record flicks that switch and hits those highs. Soaring, sky-high, above the clouds just laughing down at it raining kind of pop highs. It’s a brilliant Spring into Summer record - big, optimistic sounds, shining guitars, swooning synths, shivery keyboards and singer D. Lucille’s swooping Nico voice dipping and swerving, dragging your heart in its slipstream.

Soaring opener ‘Cottonopolis + Promises’ has echoes of Blondies’ ‘Dreaming’, a good touchstone for the band’s sound, not because they’re a female fronted band (duh! there are also two keyboarding women in the band, thanks) but because this is effortless, ageless pop music.

‘Record Shop’ is a ready-made classic, you can’t help but stop and let yourself get magicked away in its big pop sound, imagining the future you rushing to the dance floor with a whoop as the first chords kick in.

Help Stamp Out Loneliness are a cut above yer average guitars-bit-of-keyboards-for variety schmindie band, there’s an ambitious sheen about the songs. ‘Cellophane’ has a bumpy-funk rhythm, its serpentine tune wrapped in huskily piping fairground organ. ‘S-W-I-M’ gleams and shimmers and winks from a darkened corner where it’s flirting with The Cure. ‘Palma Violence’ menaces in the sleekest, most twinkly way and ‘My Window’ goes all wide-screen with sandpapery guitar wibbling and sighing backing vocals.

The twelve songs here whirl you along with a rush and a push of powerful pop momentum, like taking a dozen rollercoaster rides one after the other. Which isn’t to say there’s no breathing space here, the music is expansive and luxurious. It’s enthusiastic and joyful. I hope that’s how the band feel about the record because that’s what comes across and that’s how it makes me feel.

P.S. 'Record Shop' is being released as a free download to celebrate Record Shop Day on April 16th. Support your local record shop innit? Links below:

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Once a time I took to melody and drank it every night. Fave Tunes January / February 2011

Always On My Mind – Reading Rainbow Sugary JAMC droney indie girlpop

Until Then – Broadcast For remembering Trish to

Hotel Shampoo – Gruff Rhys The whole album is an aural swoon

Pure Radio Cosplay – And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead Hurtling pop-prog hardcore

Apples - Memory Band Wistful, rolling English country-folk

Hall Of Bright Carvings - Titus Groan I have been reading Mervyn Peake’s triology recently – how great to find an olde prog record all obsessed with Gormenghast.

Cave Dance – Jonny Glam goes kosmiche

Ghosts – The Memory Band Sunset droney harmonium-lovely folk

So High - Ringo Deathstarr American shoegaze band plunders ‘Strawberry Wine E.P.’ non-shock

1000 Years – The Coral Scousers crash land in Laurel Canyon

I Shall Leave You There - Sproatly Smith Clockwork folk drifting in the aether

Sing-along-a-Wickerman I cannot resist the opportunity to jam an ivy wreath on my head and belt out the Maypole Song (with actions). Hurrah to Night of the Long Swords for putting this on.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

The Loves Retirement Party, 13 February 2011, The Lexington

My name is Kitten Painting and I have seen The Loves 31 times. I’m not sure how this happened, but I’m glad it did. It’s been a rum old 11 years, but now it is all coming to an end. The Loves are retiring with a POP!

Simon has handpicked the bands for today’s retirement party extravaganza, and I reckon if you smooshed them all together in some kind of musical super collider you might end up with a sort of Frankingstein’s monster version of The Loves.

For starters there are The Werewandas who tout bouffanty quiffs and familiar faces (familiar in our micro world of popular song, anyway) whilst playing some toe-tappin’ rockabilly. A stompin’ly cheery beginning.

Mick Travis aka Jamie once of Tompaulin plays a solo acousto set mainly made up of old Tompaulin songs (‘Ballad Of The Boot Boys’, ‘My Life At The Movies’, ‘It’s A Girl’s World’, ‘Slender’ – wow!) in which he sings both boy and girl vocals, attacks his guitar with passion and reminds us how ace the band were. The songs give me flashbacks to a Track And Field happening at The Scala in 2001 which included Tompaulin and The Loves. It’s confusing feeling nostalgic for the recent past.

A raw blast of garage from The Vinyl Stitches gets us on our feet, shaking to their heavy blues take on the freakbeat sound. They have great hair and a bloodcurdling selection of throat-scratching howls and also a bit of a technical hitch during which the DJ plays The Cramps and Love’s ‘My Little Red Book’. You’d think it might be a bit intimidating having to kick-start a conked out set in the face of such fine garage sounds from the vaults, but The Vinyl Stitches sandblast their way through their second half with such power that you can’t even see the join.

Next: Pocketbooks, the sound of young(ish) indiepop London. They wield a fistful of new songs and take us on a cheery canter round some old faves. They’re a refreshing pop burst that’s most welcome at this point in proceedings as we are starting to go a bit mental and have taken to wearing ‘hiphop glasses’.

If you aren’t charmed by The Lovely Eggs then you have gone wrong. They’re playing fast, we’re told, ‘cos they haven’t had their teas yet, racing through a set that displays a selection of wonky wares from their fine new album ‘Cob Dominos’. There’s the ferocious sing-song of opener, ‘People Are Twats’, a fleeting medley consisting of ‘Muhammed Ali and All His Friends’ / ‘I’m A Journalist’ (“I’m a journalist up your arse!”), and the brilliant Chigley hardcore of ‘Why Don’t You Like Me’ about how girls shouldn’t be girlfriends of blokes in bands, but should be IN bands. (“I said you get on your bike and I beggared off on tour”). Holly’s between song chat is sweet and hilarious and at odds with her deranged, hair flying, corrosive guitar attacks. David grins and grins and batters the drums and adds all important counter-points to Holly’s words. The Lovely Eggs make you want to eat jelly and ice-cream, jump up and down, shout along (“Look at ‘im with ‘is sausage roll thumb!”), and then give them a great big hug.

The School treat us to a selection of Loves songs and are heckled from the sidelines by The Loves themselves. The likes of ‘That Boy Is Mine’ and ‘She’ll Break Your Heart’ are bubblegum girl-grouped to within an inch of their pop lives. Je T’aime Baby’ becomes almost kosmiche, whilst Simon and Jenna Love can’t resist the urge to rush onto the stage to sing backing vocals and indulge in a little waltz. Sweet.

Comet Gain hold it together and fly through a rambunctious set. In Kaye’s absence, Jon Slade takes up a tiny pink bass and Ben Phillipson, who seems to be filling the role of CG odd-job man at the moment, does guitar. The fabulous ‘The Fists In The Pocket’ sees an outbreak of (3) people doing idiot dancing down the front, sparking looks of bemusement/disdain on Feck’s fuzzy face. There’s the rowdy anxiety attack of ‘Working Circle Explosive’ and then a long discussion about what extra song to play as the band have finished their set with time to spare (surely a first). This discussion is so long it takes up most of the extra time, but hurrah! ‘My Defiance’ eventually gets blurted out. To end, Feck throws a bunch of his old home-made mix CDs into the crowd, a generous gesture considering he had been toying with selling them for 50p each in order to ‘get Comet Gain drunk’.

And now, the end is near. The Loves stride the stage for the final time. Simon has changed into a spiffy red ‘n’ black combo and, befitting the gravitas of the evening, a toy Kermit* clings to his shoulder.

There’s a jovial sense of occasion amongst the crowd, it’s sad that it couldn’t always be like this. ‘Sweet Sister Delia’ is dedicated to everyone’s favourite drumming, strumming, hand-stampin’ lady (and one-time Love). Simon gets all embarrassed about singing ‘Motherfuckers’ in front of his girlfriend’s mum. Sean Price is Jesus. At least that’s what ‘It’s… The End Of The World’ would have you believe as the sheet-clad Fortuna Pop-man guest-stars as our Saviour for the song. There’s a succession of tunes new and old, ‘I Want Love And Affection…’, ‘Bubblegum’, ‘WTF?’, ‘Coca Cola’, ‘Can You Feel My Heart Beat’…every one’s a winner. Guitars are turned down in order that we might hear and savour the added string section (courtesy of A Little Orchestra) on ‘December Boy’. We can’t really hear them, but it’s the thought that counts.

It’s always been the thought that counts with The Loves (in a good way), you could never accuse them of being indie-of-ambition (feather-clad dancing girls, Doug Yule guesting on the new album, the afore-mentioned Jesus, moustaches! capes!!), Simon has always chewed up and spat out a whole wide range of influences which made The Loves much more than just 60s fetishists, or swinging Carnaby Street historical re-enactors. And Simon’s love of rock ‘n’ roll has always been tempered by an all important sense of the absurd (the man’s a top onstage quipper). This is why I loved The Loves. Tunes! Fun! Drink! Chaos! More Tunes!

The band segues neatly into ‘You Give A Little Love’ from the Bugsy Malone soundtrack (a tune that maybe hasn’t been aired since the end of The Loves mk I at Pow! To The People 2004), and we sing our little hearts out. It seems like this should be the finale, but the last Loves song is ‘Little Girl Blues’, we dance our little toes off to what was The Loves first single. What goes around comes around. R.I.P. The Loves.

*I remember in the 80s when these Kermits were all the rage amongst the kids. I really wanted one, but instead I had a fake one that came from a fairground. It was the wrong colour green. And wasn’t Kermit, just a furry frog.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Trish Keenan

Last Friday afternoon I learned the devastating news that Trish Keenan of Broadcast had passed away earlier in the day. I haven’t felt so distraught at the death of someone I don’t know personally since John Peel died. On the bus early Saturday morning, I listened to ‘The Noise Made By People’ again. As with all of Broadcast’s albums, I played it and played it when it came out, but haven’t listened to it for a while. The drifting, gently otherworldly songs matched exactly with my view of headlights smudging the twilight and London landmarks looming out of the murky grey morning. When ‘Come On Let’s Go’ came on, something about the way Trish sings the word ‘go’- her ‘Hello children everywhere’ singing voice cut with a hint of Brummie – was really upsetting, really brought home the fact that she’s gone.

I’ve been listening to Broadcast a lot the last couple of years, their last release, in conjunction with The Focus Group, ‘Investigate Witch Cults of the Radio Age’ was utterly perfect, from the sleeve art to the incidental found sounds to the esoteric influences of the songs, and the accompanying hauntological videos, it seemed to chime with my current interests, and Trish seemed to embody all that was intriguing about the record. I don’t have many ‘role models’, but Trish was one, a woman with a real fascination for and love of odd and obscure musics. Interviews with her and Broadcast partner James Cargill would reveal a rich seam of interesting records, films, books and artists I could then go and investigate. Even better were the Broadcast Radio Mixes the pair put together, full of weird and wonderful Library music, Radiophonic clips, spectral folk, curious electronica etc. Earphones in, I could walk around in a world haunted by Broadcast’s charity shop, crate digging finds. It was great to see a woman fully immersed in what’s usually seen as a geeky bloke’s universe. Women can be geeky about music too. And Trish managed to be geeky and look cool at the same time, her style mutating from second-hand 60s dresses to priestess of a beat coven. Last year I couldn’t resist buying a dress that was on sale in a musty ‘vintage’ shop on Holloway road. I thought of it as my ‘Broadcast dress’ because it looked like something Trish might wear.

Lately, I had been eagerly awaiting a new Broadcast album, excited to find out what path the band might take next, wondering whether they’d explore further the experimental territory they mapped out during the improvised first half of their 2010 Ether Festival performance. I’m so glad I got to see this, their last London show, it was the kind of concert that thoroughly absorbs, takes you on a journey, so that when it ends you look about blinking, feeling like you’ve woken from a lucid dream. I’m going to keep with me the image of Trish, abandoning her table of analogue synths for one song to take centre stage, singing in her pure, soothing voice, gliding backwards and forwards whilst a monster projection of her shadow veered across the back wall, the mesmerising focus of the ritual.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

The Loves / Standard Fare / Evans the Death, 4 January 2011, The Lexington

Ah the Winter Sprinter. Remember this Track and Field curated annual gathering of schmindie-minded folks? It wasn’t just the usual London gits snuffling their way into the New Year with a bit of beer quaffing and band scrutinising, but people making a right proper effort from up North and that (all hail the couple who came down from the outer reaches of the Scottish Highlands in order to see Herman Dune or some such and who looked at us in disgust when we said we couldn’t be arsed travelling as far as Kilburn). It was an ace annual lark wasn’t it? Well here we are again at (Not) The Track and Field Winter Sprinter. Fortuna Pop! have proudly taken up the first-thing-in-Jan-pop-fest baton and are waving it excitably in our Christmas-dulled faces. Yay! But also Gah! Headliners Shrag have had to cancel due to illness. But then again Hurrah! we get to see a band we ain’t seen before instead.

That band is Evans The Death who are all v. young. Look at their little fresh faces – the bastards. They play a crackling selection of popmental songs, with Katherine’s loop the loopy, sweetly gulpy voice the cherry on their wonky cake of tune. Topically, for Katherine has the sniffles, they play 'Catch Your Cold' “for anyone who’s had flu or a cold in the last month” (i.e. everyone). Then there’s ‘Morning Voice’ in which Katherine displays the opposite of a morning voice - not at all croaky and grumpy, but swoopy and catching on little hooks. Meanwhile there are two lots of guitars going clang-a-lang-a lang-a in a whizz-your-heart-up-in-a-blender jangling way, plus a lot of young person’s hair to marvel at. One guitarist has Douglas Hart’s old JAMC hair. The drummer has that sweepy hair that boys have, (a style described, brilliantly, on Achewood as ‘a sideways, microwaved Byrds wig’). The bass player is magnificently gingery of mop. They also have a song called 'A Small Child Punched Me In The Face'. Good one.

Standard Fare charge through their set at a lightning pace so singer Emma can catch her train. We feel bad about detaining them with all our selfish listening to their songs and watching them play and stuff, they were expecting to be first on the bill and out of here by now, so their haste is forgivable. In my head I sort of know I like Standard Fare, but every time I see them I’m always thrilled by just how ace their songs are. Emma’s voice, with its tiny throat-catchy crack, is just the right kind of slightly hurt-sounding. Smiley-faced guitar-strangler Danny is always a joy to behold as he cheerily coaxes out tricksy melodies and skewed chords. A race through the Long Blondish ‘Fifteen’ and they’re done. Bye, then.

This may be NOT! The Track and Field Winter Sprinter, but the T&F spirit is kept aglow by the presence of Mr Paul Wright in the DJ Overlord’s box. He plays some fine rippin’ tunes, from The Bodines ‘Therese’ to a big old chunk of Nuggets garage, so the between bands sounds make for mighty fine listening too.

It seems that the people who say this kind of thing are suddenly all going ‘Oh I think I like The Loves now’ after many years of barely concealed indifference. Well it’s too late ‘cos the band have nearly finished their ‘career’ for good. We are pleased to have been witnessing their spectacle in all its myriad forms since they started. Tonight we get The Loves in competent yet entertaining mode with Simon Love and his moustache playing ringmaster to the band’s rock ‘n’ roll circus. There are tracks from their new album mixed with old faves like ‘Xs and Os’ plus added mid-set horseplay in celebration of drummer Jonny’s birthday. Tonight, being a school night, The Loves line-up does not include singer Jenna, so the lady voice sections go to Alice who gets to sing the foot-stampingly catchy ‘That Boy Is Mine’ as well as swinging her shiny locks o’er her keyboard.

On 'It's...The End Of The World', the part of Jesus (yes) is played on the album by a real-life Velvet Undergroundman Doug Yule. Here, tonight, on Pentonville Road, the part is played by the aforementioned Paul Wright who has the good grace to stand on stage like a goon until he is required to say his lines. This messianic role is initially offered to Bob Underexposed, but he declines to creep the boards for some reason (sanity?) As ever The Loves live experience is a thoroughly enjoyable bubblegum beat happening. Sadly, chances to witness it are rapidly running out.

Comet Gain / The Loft / Veronica Falls, 5 January 2011, The Lexington

Night two of NOT!! The Track and Field Winter Sprinter and, unlike last night, the Lex is packed early doors. There’s a noticeable contingent of hipster kidz, perhaps here for Veronica Falls, a band who have managed to endear themselves both to the oldsters - by sounding like bands did when the oldsters were youngsters - and to the youth by cleverly being young and presumably cool (who knows what’s cool with the kids apart from showing your pants/bum area?)

Veronica Falls begin by singing acapella three part harmonies that are all lovelee, folky, roses-and-morning-dew-ish before they get ripped into with a beat, beat smash colourburst of feisty popness. Those harmonies continue throughout the set, buzzing around the jangling guitars and bumpy drums, they’re one of the things that set VF apart from your usual jangle, smash, lalala indiepop thing and makes them extra special.

All of their songs are fabulous; Beachy Head, Stephen, Found Love In A Graveyard, have a nervy, rumbly vibe like Beat Happening running down a hill. Classic pop tunes of our time forming before our very eyes! There are covers, too but they don’t quite have the Veronica Falls pop-kick of their own songs, fewer layers of sound maybe? It’s still good to hear ‘What Goes On’ though, as it reminds me how this used to be my fave Velvets song and how we used to wig out to it at the Basement in Brighton (RIP). That’s the problem with VU covers, it’s always nice to hear ‘em, but never as good as hearing the originals. We get another cover, ‘Starry Eyes’ by Roky Erickson which works better as it’s further removed from the original and more um, Veronica-y with its rattley tambourine-topped drums and twinklingly strummy dual guitars.

Each time I see this band they seem to have flourished further, and as this set comes to a close, I’m already looking forward to my next Veronica Falls gig – their fabness seems to be increasing exponentially.

The Loft's Pete Astor is apparently an academic these days, and he certainly looks the part, in hip-prof glasses. Happily he and his fellow Loft men attack their back catalogue with ferocity, showing that old geezers with old songs can still be vital and relevant and not dull old liven-up-granddads searching for their glory days. Astor and Andy Strickland’s guitars crackle. It all goes a tad mid-tempo in the middle, but never mind ‘cos here comes ‘Why Does The Rain’ whee! I love this song and drift into a haze of ‘ooh it’s 1986 blimey!’ jangle-dreams. The old-faves-ometer is revved up further for set-closer ‘Up The Hill And Down The Slope’ which is fleet and firey and sets Comet Gain to dancing in the corner and waving their brollies in the air like they just don’t care. Which they don’t…

Sean Fortuna Pop has given Comet Gain weak beer in an attempt to keep them sober long enough for them to ‘headline’. I’m not sure that ruse has worked so well as they amble on and, by way of an introduction, David Feck sings a rambling stream of (un)consciousness in an amusingly feeble meandering voice…but then they’re off speeding into ‘Say Yes! To International Socialism’. Woo! Comet Gain are never less than highly entertaining even if they barely play a note, but when the songs come whooshing in like this and you’re caught up in their righteous, indignant flow there’s little that can touch them. Of course there’s plenty of dipshit arsing about in between songs, at one point Feck is tortuously tuning up until Jon Slade decides, “That’s good enough for this song”.

There have been murmurings about how Comet Gain are an odd choice of headliner, which Feck addresses by comparing the evening to an episode of ‘Come Dine With Me’. We’ve had the exciting starter of Veronica Falls – ‘scallops and er, kiwi fruit’, then the delicious roast dinner main course of The Loft and now the ‘disappointing dessert’ of Comet Gain, like ‘custard with skin on’.

But then there’s ‘The Fists In The Pocket’ making your stomach rollercoaster and your ears pop, and Ben Phillipson coming along to add vocal harmonies and the whole set sounding scratchy and angry and punk scuffed.

The audience shouts out for ‘Movies’ to be played as an encore, to Feck’s consternation as he can’t remember the chords. The band starts playing anyhoo leading to some very amusing non-remembrance of chords irritation where Feck keeps hissing at the band to stop playing and they ignore him. Eventually the right chords find their way back into Feck’s brain and out of his fingers and the song grows and warps, morphing into, amongst other things, ‘Mr Pharmacist’ until it is finally laid to rest. Feck miraculously manages to do a sort of outro to proceedings sung in the same wavering voice in which he began. Poetic symmetry.