Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Rumble Strips / The Answering Machine Birmingham Bar Academy Wednesday 29th November 2006

This week (or four days to be precise) has seen an orgy of live music, some good, some not so good so I'll keep these brief.

First up The Answering Machine from Manchester. Quality, gentle Indie pop with a dark but romantic heart. Hints of New Order in places. One to watch for 2007.

Next, and finally (this was a two band bill - I demand three bands grrrrrrrr), The Rumble Strips. Why they aren't yet on Top of The Pops every week...oh bugger that's gone hasn't it...anyway, the point is that The Rumble Strips produce the kind of music that there's just too little of these days. You got a lot of it in the late 70's and early 80's, music with real instruments to the fore, bags of soul (even if it was highly polished - step forward ABC, Heaven 17, Blue Ronda a la Turk and oodles of others) and lyrics that seem to mean something. Live they're even better than on record, I never saw Dexy's in their heyday (and I imagine they were a different kind of power), but reviews that link The Rumble Strips with Kevin Rowland's crew would seem to be pretty close to the mark. Given that Dexy's were widely acknowledged to be one of the live acts of their era, that's a pretty good compliment. Oh Creole and Motorcycle were personal highlights but, in truth, every song was delivered with passion, balls and a little ingredient the music fairy calls X. If their debut album (out May 2007) doesn't tip them into the big time I'll eat Charlie's hat.

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