The third in a short season of Monday gigs at the 'bow (although, being unemployed, 'Monday' doesn't mean much at the moment) saw the mighty Rumble Strips unveil tracks from their forthcoming album. First up though, Alt Grungsters, Wet Paint (brave choice of name there guys...you can just hear vindictive little reviewers lobbing that back in your face), formed from members of Absentee (who I've heard of) and Economy Wolf (who I haven't). A nice thrashy set with a fair few catchy numbers, pick of the bunch being Save The Whale...in which the band advise the whale to 'get a job'. Whooah there Wet Paint, it's hard enough for me to get a job, you don't need to go around encouraging whales to start applying for work too. I mean, how the hell are they going to fit into their local Job Centre Plus eh? What sort of job could a whale do anyway? Bouncer? Librarian? Pole dancer? I'd stick to the music and cut out the careers advice if I were you. Wet Paint's debut album, It Rots, is out now...unemployed whale's get a 50% discount.
The Rumble Strips. What can I say? They're one of (far too) many bands who deserve far more success than they've enjoyed so far. Wake up people! Unlike many of these bands though it looks like they're going to have another (well deserved) chance thanks to their forthcoming Mark Ronson produced album. Naturally tonight's set saw an airing for much of this new album and, I have to say, these tracks generally stand up really well to the older, tried and tested Rumbles classics. It's always tricky getting a fix on stuff on the first listen but, as with the debut album Charlie's soaring vocal gymnastics remain a key feature (that boy has soul) and the songs retain an air of frustration and regret that the world just ain't as it should be. Opening number, and new track, 'London' is a case in point. 'Why can't I love you in London?' yearns Charlie against a keyboard driven backing that, I sense, might be more of a feature on the new album proper (as opposed to the brassy feel of the debut). Predictably the crowd went wild for old faves Motorcycle, Time, Alarm Clock and Boys and Girls In Love (which saw Charlie plunging into their adoring arms only to be carried aloft then safely returned to the stage...what a nice audience) and the whole band remained as tight, fresh and passionate as they seemed when I first caught 'em back in '06. Tonight was the very first night of a tour that's taking them all over the place. So there's no excuses. If you get a chance to see them, take it. Rock n'soul just doesn't get better than this.
Setlist: London / Backbone / Time / Raindrops / Walk Alone / No Soul / Happy Hell /Douglas / Motorcycle / Only Person / Running On Empty / Cowboy / Daniel / Girls and Boys.