Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Scarlet Harlots / The Allies / Prospect Lane / The Bourgeois Four at The Rainbow Friday 14th December 2007

Despite suffering the mother (or father...hell...the mother, father, grandparents and kids...) of all man flus I made it down to The Rainbow just in time to catch The Bourgeois Four for my second viewing in as many months. Good enough to headline in my humble opinion, the B4 are serious contenders for one of my hottest bands in the Midlands slots. As I've said before they've got a wit and sparkle about them that gets me right between the eyes (and no, that's nothing to do with the man flu...did I mention I had man flu?). I had a moment to catch up with the lead singer after the gig and am pleased to report that they're busily writing new stuff for 2008 which I'm a gagging to hear. Check out their My Space page for three tracks of classic B4 and make it your New Year's Resolution to go and see them. I'm adding them to my list of bands to sign to my imaginary record label too...

Talking of my imaginary label, another band that features heavily on the roster is Prospect Lane. Able to do 'singalongs' like 'Fickle' just as well as the more reflective 'Ghosts' they're a class act that are just screaming out for a really fat stadium gig. Sure they can play the smaller venues but you just wrap your ears around a track like Isolation and imagine that bad boy thumping out of a million watt amp (I think that's a lot of watts...I was crap at Physics...). I'm listening to it now...seriously impressive stuff. Big, phat, meaty riffs then a slab of vocoder. You gotta love the vocoder. I'm a child of the 80's...despite what a lot of people say it was a bloody brilliant decade for music...and Prospect Lane bring a lot of what was and is great about it all right up to date. I'm afraid I know jack shit about promotions but what the hell is going on when a band plainly this good and with a wide appeal aren't blasting out of the nation's i-pods (other MP3 devices are available...but they ain't as good...cos i-pods are all shiny and stuff)? On an unrelated note I guess this is what Gigbeth should be for. A fucking great showcase for some fucking great bands. With a fucking huge stage right in the middle of town. And a massive fucking PA. Broadcast on TV. Not local TV but national TV. Live. In the summer. Not in November. Aaaaaaaaaagggghhhhhhhhhh! Anyway. Prospect Lane. I love 'em. I even warmed slightly to the 'contraversial' Alice Deejay cover of Better Off Alone. At the risk of sounding like some naff gossip correspondent I also had the chance to have a chat with lead singer Michael after the gig. Bloody nice bloke, genuine as hell and, as with the B4, busy writing new stuff for the New Year as well as recording with Gavin Monaghan (who's worked his magic with Editors).

Next up were The Allies. Another band that I've seen a few times this year and yet another band with real potential. Deservedly gathering a loyal following they share an energy and vibe with a certain group of cold loving simians (think about it...) on some tracks but add their own style on others which is where they really stand out. I'm not encouraging them to turn into The Pogues or anything, but the fiddle and accordian really suit the feel of the band (just listen to Ain't No Love Lost) and I'd love to see more of them. It shows off just what good musicians they are too. Back in the day the mighty Wonderstuff blended Celtic influences with sneering vignettes on modern life and I can really see The Allies taking a similar path. Now that would be something...

With the man flu rapidly draining what little life I had left in me The Scarlet Harlots (pictured)took to the stage. As the only band of the night that I'd not seen before they had the hardest job of all so I'm listening more to their My Space tracks to give me a better reflection of what they're like (cos I was drowning in mucus on the night...nice thought eh? Did I mention I had man flu?). It's a fascinating mix of influences, echoes of Tricky, Massive Attack, Asian Dub Foundation, The Libertines, Drum n' Bass, Ska, I say, one heck of a mix. It all seems to work really well through. I had trouble hearing the vocals on the night...but that may have been down to my man flu...hmmmmmm....yes...I'm getting it does work. Not straight away I'll grant need to get into the flow...but's there. Love that slightly dubby woohwoohwooh keyboard. The syncopation is all over the shop too, on a jazzy kind of tip, there's a post punk edge as well. It's sort of like the sound you'd get in a student house occupied by a rasta, an indie boy, a punk and jazz funkster. Rastindunazz then. Now that's a new genre for you. Did I mention I had man flu?

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