Saturday, March 01, 2008

The Anomalies / Old School Tie / 360 / Prospect Lane The Hare & Hounds(!), Kings Heath Friday 29th February

It's Friday, so it must be Kami...oh...hang on...where's my scratching post...what's going on Toto...yes dear readers...tonight I am in Oz. Well, no, not really, the Hare & Hounds, which, for a Bearwoodian like me, is a long way from home (28 minutes on the number 11 bus to be precise). The reason for the departure from my regular haunt was the tempting prospect of Platform Promotions' Anomalies gig (more on them later), kicked off in fine style once more by Hearing Aid favourites, Prospect Lane. I've written about the Lane quite a bit before and tonight's set was packed full of all their best songs, plus a couple of newer tracks, Superman and Memory (I could've been What I love About You...not sure...blame my memory...which is what it could've been...I'll get on now...right). Fickle was delivered with real bite (with lead Lane Michael leaping off the stage for an impromptu mosh), Ghosts had that great vocoder bit and, for me, the real surprise of the night was THAT Alice Deejay cover actually seemed to work. Okay, I give in, I was wrong (you've beefed up the guitar though haven't you...go on...admit it...). The band are recording a new track at the mo and have album plans for the Summer. It's a delightful prospect (see, different venue but the quality of these reviews remains the same eh?).

Next up, 360, a band I've seen just the once at last year's Moseley Festival. It's brilliant to see a really class ska / reggae band live and 360 are a simply perfect party band. They're all great musicians (special mention must go out to Delroy's trumpet playing...some awesome solo's there...) and just seem to be having as much of a good time as the audience (who nearly skanked the place to pieces). Check out This Time and Crazy Lady from their My Space, wind it up nice and loud, do that running on the spot thing and I guarantee you'll feel better...go on then...see! In the words of our Norman (Jay...not Wisdom)...Good Times.

After a right old skank, Old School Tie were the perfect follow up. A melting pot of dubby, Afro tinged rhythms that break out into giant walls of sound before shattering into a million pieces. That's what I say and I'm sticking with it. In places they sort of reminded me a little of a more organic, less vocal SOAD. The way they do that quiet/loud thing, you just settle into the groove then they smack you round the head with ruddy great slab of noise. And I do love a ruddy great slab of noise. There's a fair bit of sonic soundscape noodling's a potent mix and I'd love to see them in some field in the middle of nowhere just as the sun sets with a nice glass of red and some 'erb (oh...and a motherhumpingly huge PA too).

Talk of motherhumping brings us nicely onto The Anomalies. When I first heard the band earlier this year I was smitten. People I've played them to have been just as smitten. That sets the bar pretty high when it comes to the live show and I wasn't sure how it would all work. Well, it does. Motherhumpingly well. I try to limit the use of the word 'awesome' but they were. Kicking off with some stunning beatboxing from Crowe (outkilling Killa Kella) The Anomalies join those rare list of bands that pull off something really surprising, really well. I've seen a few over the years, all in quite small venues, all of whom went on to enjoy mucho success (Freak Power, The Go Team, Scissor Sisters) and whilst The Anomalies are operating in the much harsher world of Hip Hop I can't see how they can fail. There's so much to love I could bang on for hours, but the female vocals added by Lo are a touch of genius (check out Employee Of The Month), the interplay between Murf and Goldseal is the best I've seen and Mayhem's scratching is right on the nail. Oh...the freestyling too. Shit. That was impressive. Seriously impressive. I've seen a lot of rappers ask the audience for a subject to rap about....that's a rappers favourite trick. I've never seen rappers ask the audience to throw stuff on stage, then rap about it before it hits the floor. How the hell? Are these guys packing some kind of Pentium brains, capable of processing stuff in a millisecond? Who knows. One thing's for sure...and I've rarely been quite so sure...The Anomalies are destined for great things. Tonight was the last night of their tour, but it can't be long before they're back out on the road. Whatever you do, don't miss 'em.

PS: At the end of the gig we wanted to buy a CD and found one of the band who said he'd go and get them after he'd helped pack away the equipment...would we mind waiting? No probs we said. It took a few minutes then he came over with two CD's, apologised for making us wait and gave them to us for free to make up for it. Stuff like that that means a lot to me. An awesome band AND bloody nice people too. It don't get any better...

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