Saturday, June 21, 2008

Old School Tie / The Hoi Polloi / Talk / Colonel Fabien @ The Rainbow, Digbeth Friday 20th June 2008

A kracking 444 klub from Kamikaze tonight, kicked off in seriously jazztastic style by the sweet 3 piece Colonel Fabien. Jazz. You either get it or you don't. I do. At least I think I do. It can be a subtle beast at times. Is that just noodling or is there something more complex going on? Then all of a sudden...ahhh yes...there you get it. It's a whole musical conversation...the natural word in sound...a million late, smokey nights in aural form. That's my jazz theory and I'm sticking with it. I'd actually be quite happy sticking with Colonel Fabien too. The live set was jazz gold, a good dash of the funky stuff, some snatches of gypsy here and there and plenty of moments where the instruments all seemed to talk to me. That could've been the vodka and coke, but I'd put it down to the sheer quality of the playing and material. If you like jazz, you'll love Colonel Fabien. If you don't like jazz, hell, give it a listen...start with The Feral Cats of Morrocco and see how you get on.

Given their critical and commercial success it kinda amazes me that there aren't fewer Radiohead influenced bands around. I guess it's easier to just plug in a guitar or two and do an Arctic Monkey's. Happily (for variety's sake if nothing else) there are some groups out there who prefer to stretch themselves. Talk is one of them. Blending gentle jazzy undercurrents with moments of full on electronica bollock busting insanity and post rock scuzziness the band are, for my money, actually a more interesting proposition than Thom and co. What?! I hear a million Radiohead fans cry...a fatwa upon you for taking the name of the 'head in vain. Calm down dears. I love the 'head as much as the next man, but Talk just seem fresher, hungrier...more willing to fiddle about and experiment with stuff. Lead singer, Andrew, has the kind of voice that could start a cult can just see thousands of black clad teens walking off cliffs to the strains of Tin. It could just be me, but I wouldn't be surprised to see some seriously freaky shit as these chaps develop. For now they've got a brooding, hypnotic beast of an album out, 'Reset, Start Again', that's making some serious waves amongst the taste makers. Get in there.

Next up, oi oi, it's The Hoi Polloi. I've seen the band quite a few times now and I'll admit that I've not always got them. Tonight was a different kettle of Polloi though. By far the strongest performance I've seen them put on, it all seemed to come together. The playing was as tight as my wallet (that's tight), James' vocals emotionally spot on and the sound (good work Mr Soundman) beautifully orchestral. Musically there's touches of The Verve, Joy Division (check out the drums on Invisible) and that 60's tinged sound of The Stone Roses in there somewhere. Vocally James' voice is mellowing nicely, gentle but with a simmering energy. Good stuff.

Last, and this is becoming a bit of a habit for me now, Old School Tie. If you've not seen them live cut off your ears and post them to the band at once. They'll fill them with all sorts of dubby, funky shit and post them back to you (actually, don't do that...I have horrible visions of sacks of bloodied envelopes being delivered by terrified postmen). No, on second thoughts just get yourself down to one of their gigs. They're a gigging machine, which is probably why they're so fricking awesome. I'm not (quite) old enough to remember those all night late 60's jams that you see on the telly sometimes (you know, the one's with naked people raising their hands to the sky), but I imagine the euphoria they generated is pretty close to OST in full flow. God's Electric Super Scene remains one of my tracks of the year (not sure if it came out this year but 2008 is the first time I'd heard it) and, live, OST are pretty hard to beat. Towards the end of the set I thought the bass player was going to take off and fly through the roof into outer space...stunning.

Before I go a few top tips. Next week's 444 club is unmissable (Kate Goes, The Retro Spankees, Tom Peel...the list goes on), then, the folllowing week (on Wednesday 2nd July), you've got Modular synth superstars The Presets. Oh yes. See you there.

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