Saturday, February 21, 2009

Velvet Texas Cannonball / Silence Is Dead / Jensen And The Interceptors @ The Rainbow, Digbeth, Friday 20th February 2009

Wooooowooooowoooo (that's my Dr Who's Tardis noise...good isn't it?). Yes, tonight we were transported back in time with a treble bill of retro magic. First up, garage is thy's Jensen And The Intercepters. For non petrol heads the Jensen Intercepter was a rather spiffing car back in the late 60's and early 70's, it had a massive rear window as I recall. Jensen And The Interceptors don't have a massive rear window, but they do have a clutch (geddit...boom boom!) of classic sounding garage tunes. Like all of the bands tonight they look the part too. Sharp threads, authentic guitars, Brian Jones haircuts and the kind of high octane enthusiasm that must've made the original garage scene so ruddy brilliant. Pick of the set tonight was I Only Dance For You, nice vocal interplay between the two singers and the kind of raw energy that would give the great Billy Childish a run for his money. A catchy oooooh oooooh aaaaahhh aaaaahhh chorus too. I do like a nice oooooh oooooh aaaaahhh aaaaahhh.

Next up, Silence Is Dead. Again a bit of a garagey feel, but this time with a shot of rockabilly blues (is there such a thing, well there is now). The lead singer has a breathless kind of vocal delivery, like his very survival depends on the words in the song. There's some great slide guitar going on too, some awesome double bass and a great wad of good 'ol harmonica. The drummer looked like he'd just stepped out of a Texas truckstop too. It's the kind of music you imagine driving down some American highway to, in one of those huge 50's cars with chrome all over the shop...stopping at truckstops to talk to drummers.

Finally, an 'on fire' display from psych rock legends Velvet Texas Cannonball, augmented for the very first time with some bongos. Nice touch. The lead Cannonball has a voice that reminds me of a cross between Rod Stewart (Faces era) and Jim Morrison. With some heavy Hammond action there's a Doors feel to the whole set too. But the secret of any band that takes inspiration from the past (like all of the groups tonight) is to do it well, with passion, conviction and sheer joie de vivre...or as they say in France, joy of life. Last night the Cannonballs were right on target. I've seen 'em a few times before but, like a number of Rainbow regulars, they're getting better and better. We've got a decent scene (I hate that word, but hell we have to call it something) growing here. Some real talent. And it's about time the city took the kind of pride in its bands that Manchester, London and Liverpool does. Soapbox moment over. Anyway, just grab a listen to some of their MySpace tracks, crank up the speakers, light a joss stick (not a Joss Stone...she's playing the Rainbow on Monday...seriously) and you'll see what I mean.

So, there we go. Another darn fine line up in one of Birmingham's musical gems - The Rainbow. Close it and set the city back 10 years. Boremingham City Council, the choice is yours...

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