Ahhhhh, The Flapper...or The Venue Formally Known As The Flapper & Firkin. Memories, sweet memories, cue sepia tinged flashbacks of a younger me getting down to the sweet melodies of young bucks like Add N to X, Arab Strap, Idlewild (on the first date of their first tour), Acid Mothers Temple, Catatonia and a whole host of fab local bands, step forward Twist, King Adora, The Palantines, Misty's Big Adventure, New Electrics...I could go on (oh please do I hear you cry), but I won't. So there. Anyway, the point of all this reverie is that The Flapper & Firkin was a fave haunt of mine back in da day, I'd not been since I saw The Editors there a while back, then it closed...but now it's back BACK BACK! It's My Space page promised new toilets...hmmm...not really new...just cleaned. In fact much of The Flapper was pretty much how I left it, particularly the bottom bit where the bands play. But I liked it then and by jingo I like it now. Before we were blessed with the Barfly and Academy (Bar Academy...not the big one...that's a hole...literally) loads of up and coming touring bands would play at the Flapper & Firkin. Now, alas those days are gone. The all new Flapper would seem to be a perfect warm up venue for local bands though. So perhaps that's its 'USP' (my old marketing lecturers would be dead chuffed with that).
Anyway, the review. This is the first time in ages I've just gone along to see some bands without really knowing what to expect. In this era of My Space or yours it's just too easy to click and pick...so you could end up missing a great live band just because their demo's a sack of you know what. First up were Strangeways who don't seem to have logged into their My Space page since 2006. I'm guessing they don't gig much at the moment...or maybe they have a virus...perhaps they just can't be arsed. Live they were okay, reminded me a little of a rockier Charlatans in places. There's only one track that you can listen to online and I don't think it's their best...if you read this Strangeways, put some more stuff up you naughty chaps!
Next, The Riptides, who quite impressed me on a few tracks, Give Me a Reason (I think that was the title) was the highlight of a sparky set (yes, sparky) with lead singer Aaron twitching all over the shop like Ian Curtis on acid. If you're going to be a frontman / woman give it a bit of oomph that's what I say, and he did. Musically they have a rocky vibe going on with some electro keyboard stuff that gives it a nice twist (a touch Killers in places). Again, just one track to listen to on ver Space. Again, not their best.
Finally The Ganders. By this point I'd had a half or two (bottles...of red wine) washed down with some glider...so I was feeling in a 'mellow' kind of mood. I was also soaking wet (rain, nothing else, I have perfect bladder control...too much information?)...and a little peckish. So I could've been forgiven for being less than enthusiatic as the night wore on. But The Ganders were an unexpected treat. Good old fashioned (and I mean that in a positive way) blues rock that wouldn't have been out of place on The Old Grey Whistle Test next to Rod and The Faces, Whispering Bob Harris and Shouting Phil Gooseberry (I made one of those up, can you tell which one?). Lead Gander, Daz, has a solid bluesy voice and he's backed by an equally strong musical 'rock machine' (hmmm). Like fellow Brummies, Fillmore Gears, they're tapping into the '70's, but doing it well. Check out Black Sun (Live Demo) for some classic Ganders. In fact you could say (are you ready for this?) they're well worth a...(oh, you've spoilt it now) gander.