I don't like January. It's cold. Bits of Christmas still lie around all over the place. Tree corpses line the streets and everyone's just that bit fatter and poorer than they were a few short weeks ago. It's also normally pretty grim for gigs. Thank the dear lord then for this bill which helped remove a severe dose of the bah humbugs. It all kicked off with Mayday! Styles of music go in phases. Right now we're in the Arctic Monkeyissic age. There's nowt wrong with that. It sure as hell beats the Coldplaydium days. But the bands that will survive and adapt are the ones with that something extra. And I think Mayday! have it. There's a complexity to the music that's not immediate obvious...but it's there. Their lead guitarist in particular (Stuart I think) plays a big part. I'm no guitarist (hell, I'm no anything) but he seemed pretty darn good. The tunes have that nice touch of humour and honesty about them, they're well sung and backed and, although an afro don't make a band, Josh is one cool bassist...
Next up The Allies. As I saw them on Friday night too I'll leave my musings on them to the review after this one (betcha can't wait eh? Betcha slavering with excitement. No? Oh well, please yourselves).
This brings me on to The Foxes (pictured...well one of them is anyway). Ahhh The Foxes. I have high hopes for this band. In my humble opinion they're part of that great lineage (yes, lineage...go on...look it up...it's the right spelling and everything) that goes back to the early Beatles (Hamberg era), through to The Kinks...on to Squeeze...The Wonderstuff...you get the picture. Catchy, timeless, English pop. It's the second time I've seen them and the extra gigs under their belts were obvious. They're now one of the most polished live bands I've seen for ages, the set list feels like a greatest hits already and I can honestly see them up there wowing massive festival audiences across the land. Plus...and this is a massive plus in my book...they're bloody nice people who are doing it right. Gigging like billy o (that's gigging a lot, not gigging like Billy Ocean...I imagine he has big limos and stuff), self promoting and spreading the word by putting on damn fine shows. If you only go to one gig this year make it one with The Foxes on.
Last up, Yeti. I'll be honest. I didn't know a great deal about them other than the fact that one(John) was a Libertine. I've never really forgiven The Libertines for appearing really, really early at a Birmingham Academy gig some years back. I forget who they were supporting, but it was before they were famous. I hate missing any band on the bill, so generally get to a venue sometime after lunch (I jest, but you get the picture). Anyway we get to the venue at something like 7.45pm (normally the first band won't come on until 8.15 at the earliest) and the Libs were two songs from the end of their set, playing in front of an audience of about three people. This has absolutely nothing to do with the review of course, but since when has that stopped me eh? Right then, Yeti. Really very good. I've seen Dirty Pretty Things and Babyshambles, but I'd rate Yeti as the best of the post Libs lot. They're not as obvious as the other bands. More '60's West Coast of America than West London (or wherever the hell 'Albion' was supposed to be). A grown up The Little Ones if you like, with some glorious vocal harmonies that scream long summer days and even longer nights. Music to listen to on an 8 track whilst cruising down Highway 61. I'm loving the album sampler for upcoming release The Legend of Yeti Gonzales (surely the only album with a track dedicated to Shane McGowen?) and, if there's any justice left in the music biz, people will sit up and take notice when it's released. You get the feeling that the best is Yeti to come (I'm sorry, I can't help myself).