Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Dirty Backbeats / The Velvet Texas Cannonball / Mills & Boon / The Fake Tracies / Burnst Rainbow Digbeth Friday 23rd November 2007

Good grief. Just typing in the names of the bands this week has left me drained. It was one of those nights. A mind melting mix of genres, performances and vodka (a most pleasing combination). We arrived just in time to catch a bonus band - Burnst - who had been due to play The Basement (I presume it's The Basement...not just a basement...but if you do have a basement and you find three young chaps playing their instruments to death, then it could well be Burnst). It seems that their gig was cancelled so they sought a slot at The Rainbow and I'm rather glad that they did. All the way from Manchester (and a hell of a long way from my usual fare) they played just two tracks, but two tracks that contained enough musical ideas to fill an entire album. Each. maybe a double. In quadraphonic sound. Purely instrumental and (dare I invoke the word...yes I dare...) slightly proggy, a bit jazzy and with a large slice of post rock (we can quibble over what that means until the cows come home but it just seems right for the complex beats and time signatures - yes I have no idea what I'm talking about - that Burnst somehow thread together). Mesmarising. It all put me in a bit of a daze, from which I have yet to recover. They seem to be mates with Mothertrucker, so I'm guessing fans of the 'trucker will be right at home here too.

After such an out there start to the evening The Fake Tracies pulled us back onto the rock n'roll highway with an energetic, balls out set (don't worry, we had the heating on) that got better and better as the band hit their stride. With the recent success of high octane, classic rock bands like Wolfmother it's little wonder that TFT are picking up some favourable, well deserved reviews. Lead singer, John Davies, put 110% into the performance and the rest of the band provided strong, tight, rifftastic backing. You can catch 'em in session on Radio WM on 6th December (9pm)...all live and stuff.

Right where next? Oh yes. Meat loving mentalists Mills & Boon. I've not caught them before so I was kind of expecting a slightly twee boy/girl folk rock act (I know...bands don't really pick names that sum them up...I get it). Instead we were faced with three blokes in pig masks and a chap wearing a blood splattered apron playing whacked out country...jazz...rock...folk...hell I can't describe it. must be good. It was too. I keep wanting to mention Captain Beefheart. So I will. Captain Beefheart. There...that's better. Anyway, having seen the full Mills & Boon experience I can see what all the fuss is about. Imagine a mad axe murderer chasing you down the stairs in a some freaky old deep south farmhouse, pursued by a gang of equally deranged locals lobbing drums, guitars and amps at you...and maybe you get some sort of idea of what it all sounds like. Raw. Just like meat should be.

Still with me? Good. Next up The Velvet Texas Cannonball. Perfection. (Let's leave it pure eh?I've always wanted to do a one word review and now I have...apart from this bit...shit...maybe I could delete it and you wouldn't notice...but that wouldn't be real would it...balls...whilst I'm at it though, The Velvet Texas Cannonball are just so perfect it hurts...from the look to the performance to the music to the, like I said...PERFECTION).

Last up (and it was getting early by this stage) The Dirty Backbeats. More strong Beefheart influences, but this time with a glorious, mad ass dose of The Crazy World of Arthur Brown and The Bonzos. In fact, in a certain light, lead backbeat Grant could almost be the very reincarnation of the late great Vivian Stanshall himself. Prowling the stage like a praying mantis (albeit a funky, freaked out praying mantis) he put on the kind of rare 'what the fuck is he going to do next' performance that leaves you a little shellshocked. Timing is everything with something this complex and theatrical, but the band were spot on, note after note. Hanging from the rafters near the end of the show Grant collapsed in a heap on the stage before leaping up once more and diving into the audience in a mess of sweat, hair and magic (yes...magic). It was that kind of show. Check out their My Space tracks which, for once, do justice to the band's music (especially Sticks n Bones...awesome). You really must, and that's an order, go see them live too. Legends.

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