Thursday, August 20, 2009

Pull Tiger Tail / The Vehicles / Black Market Empire @ The Flapper, Wednesday 19th August 2009

Many, many moons ago, March 2007 to be precise, I saw a cracking band called Pull Tiger Tail who’d produced a trio of equally top notch singles (Animator, Mr 100% and Let’s Lightning). I had high hopes for them (that’s normally the kiss of death for most bands I like) and then…nothing. It seems they ran into serious record company aggro and were stuck in some strange limbo land that prevented them from signing to anyone else or releasing their debut album. That was that as far as I was concerned until they suddenly announced a few gigs, including a date at The Flapper. It transpires that they’ve now wrestled their debut album from their ex-label’s (Boo! Hiss!) clutches and are self releasing it on t’interweb, with a short promotional tour to boot. Hurrah! Sadly it’s also their farewell tour. Boo! (jeez, is it pantomime season already?). Of course two and a half years in an eternity in music these days, hell, two and half days seems like along time now. That’s enough time to form a band, record and release your debut album, perform a live show online and then split up amidst a hail of abuse, recrimination and junkie crack whores. Would they still have that spark that I saw back then or, has the metaphorical and musical shit been kicked out of them by years of legal wrangling? In the best cliffhanger tradition (cue that drumming bit in EastEnders when Peggy actually reveals she’s a post op Frank Butcher) you’ll have to wait and see because first up were a brace of bands I’ve seen before fairly recently, Black Market Empire and The Vehicles.

Once again an impressive showing from both groups. Black Market Empire continue to hone their live set which seemed to work particularly well in the vault like atmosphere of The Flapper’s basement. If you’ve not been there it’s a little like The Cavern in Liverpool (the new one that is…the old one was knocked down and replaced with a car park…genius) and Black Market Empire’s music has, to me at least, got that classic Mersey beat kind of feel that bands like the La’s and Cast updated more recently. The bouncy Get Up, Get Down (complete with the dancing bloke again…get that man up there on the stage!) remains a set highlight. You can catch the band doing an acoustic set with Chris Helme (ex Seahorses) at The Hairy Hounds…no that’s not right…oh…The Hare and Hounds on 3rd December.

Next up The Vehicles doing their spikey new wavey indie thang, the best example of which is Bright Young Things (which, nice folk that they no doubt are, you can hear on their MySpace page…go and listen…it’s very good). I was a bright young thing once. Well, I was young…and a thing. Bright? That’s pushing it a bit. Anyways, I’ve always enjoyed The Vehicles’ sets and tonight was no exception…even if they didn’t play one of their best songs The Best Things Come to Those Who Wait…there I was waiting for it and it didn’t come. Oh the irony.

Finally…and given the fact that they are days away from playing their last ever gig it really is pretty final...Pull Tiger Tail! The Tail of 2009 look pretty much the same as the Tail of 2007 but, if anything they’ve got even more tiger in their tank. I guess the pent up energy of their enforced hiatus coupled with the fact that they’re doing this mini farewell tour on their terms, free of any baggage or pressure helped to make this one of the sweatiest, most enjoyable gigs I’ve seen for a while. From handing out biscuits to the crowd (I didn’t get one…maybe they spotted the fact that I’ve eaten quite enough biscuits in my lifetime) to playing tracks requested by the faithful this was a joyous celebration of a great band who really deserved far more success. But then again making me bounce up and down (what…with my dodgy back?!) like a teenager has to represent some form of success. People traveled from far and wide to be here tonight too, everywhere from Manchester to Chelmsley Wood and the room quickly became a bit of a sweat pit…requiring some strategically placed towels on the stage to prevent any nasty slippages…urghhh. Animator, Let’s Lighting and Mr 100% (Supergrass’ Mansize Rooster on speed) were awesome, Hurricane also struck me (ho ho…very droll) and…oh hell…the whole set was great. I had the pleasure of talking to the lead Tail at the end and, whilst the band in its current form might be over, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw (and heard) some more from the three of them at some point in the future. This tail might be at an end but who knows, another one could be about to begin...


Demented Demon. said...

Nice blog, keep it up

The Baron said...

Cheers DD! Thanks for dropping by.