Sunday, February 25, 2007

Forward Russia / Men Women & Children / and a band I missed 'cos Birmingham City Council are digging up roads... Birmingham Academy 2 Saturday 24th

As you can see from the above we missed practically all of the set from the first band on the bill. Despite leaving home a full hour before they were due on stage for some reason the good folk in charge of the roads decided to shut the main route into Birmingham to dig it up. Why? God knows. I walk past the bit of road in question every day and there was bugger all wrong with it. Judging by the six 'workmen' standing around watching one guy dig it up, they felt the same way. Still, it cuts down the unemployment figures I guess and gives me something to rant about. Whilst I'm on a roll can people stop trying to photograph/video every second of every show by shoving their 'phone/camera in front of my face? I'm aware of the old 'pot calling the kettle black' scenario here as I take some shots at gigs, but not 25,000 which, judging by the amount of raised hands in front of my face is the average number taken by some 'folk'. Aside from annoying the crap out of me and many others, they can't be seeing any of the freakin' show. Maybe they should be banned altogether (the cameras, not the people...then again...). Get a decent photographer in, let them take the shots, then offer them as downloads to the people who went to the gig.

Anyway, to business. Like one night stands (I've been married for some time, so this is metaphorical one night stand okay?) should you revisit a band that you really fell for the first time you saw them or just leave it as a beautiful memory? This was the dilemma that I was faced with when it came to this gig. I ummed and ahhed over getting tickets for weeks then took the plunge just before it sold out. Am I glad? Yes and no (my membership card for The International Fence Sitters Society should be through any day now). On the one hand the band would have found it impossible to blow me away to the extent that they did the first time round. A combination of a poorer venue (the Academy 2 is far less suited to the full on Men Women & Children experience than the more atmospheric Barfly), getting their too late to bag a decent spot and my general annoyance at the whole human race conspired to put me in a less than jovial mood. But, even given all this, they didn't fail to lift my flagging spirits. Singer TJ just won't let an audience get away with apathy and he is one of the few people who can actually get me to put my hands in the air (like I just don't care). Bouncing around like a mad thing didn't seem to be the order of the day with the rest of the crowd, so I did my patented left foot/right foot bounce kind of thing that passes for dancing in my eyes (Napoleon Dynamite I ain't). Too camp for a rock audience and too rock for the dance posse they do seem a little stuck in the middle but I love em (even if they didn't get back to me on the interview I wanted to do with them...I guess they read the site and, quite rightly, decided I was nuts...mwhahahahahahah!!!!).

Which leads us neatly onto Forward Russia!!?%*$ with their punctuation marks (and vocals) all over the shop. They're clearly building up a sizeable and loyal following and have a distinctive sound / style all of their own. Like the last time I saw them their lead singer, Tom, is still trying to throttle himself with his microphone lead (maybe he too spent 45 minutes on a bus trying to get to the frickin' venue?) but tonight we were also treated to a few new songs which, breaking with tradition, actually have titles rather than numbers (new single Don't be a Doctor starts off a bit Coldplay-ish before hitting more familiar territory). 12 is still a brilliant post punk classic and the whole set throbbed with the kind of manic schizoid energy that the band represents. As far as I could tell the audience were divided into a hardcore of real fans who bounced along at the front in a sweat and a bunch of more bemused onlookers who were a bit freaked by it all. A bit like life really...there you go, that's Foward Russia in a snappy soundbite. Did I like it? Yes, I have to say that I did. Their range of material isn't extensive but, for pure adrenaline driven entertainment Forward Russia are real Tsars (eh? eh? come on now...that's what keeps you coming back for more...who needs the NME?).

Tonight I am revisiting another past lover (again, metaphorically speaking) Tilly and the Wall together with Californian love bugs The Little Ones. This time I'm walking doubt Birmingham City Council have decided to shut every route into town by now and divert all buses via Gdansk while a dozen men in yellow day glo jackets stare at some bloke with a shovel...


Russ L said...

Hurray, I can comment!

I sympathise, anyway. I know only too well about having gigs marred slightly by everyone else in the world doing their utmost to get on your nerves. Hang on in there and enjoy tonight.

Kiersten said...

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