Tonight’s gig was free entry for all (well, all of us who could fit into the Hare & Hounds that is) courtesy of those lovely folk at Birmingham Promoters. Bless ‘em. You don't get much for free these days. Infectious diseases, ASBO’s…er…that’s about it. Happily this evening was far more pleasant than either option, kicking off with the wonderfully named Andre Aristotle (although I’ll bet that’s probably not the name on his passport). In fact I know it’s not. Andre is/was the lead singer of the rather splendid Bourgeois Four who played some clever, catchy indie rock. Ditching the indie rock bit Andre’s now playing some clever catchy electro pop instead. All on his lonesome. Having loved the B4 (and with a bit of a thing for electro pop in general) this was right up my street, shades of Giorgio Moroder, Kraftwerk, Soft Cell and The Human League melded with a more beat heavy vibe and a voice that’s capable of great things (as witnessed on a beautifully delivered ‘The Lights Change’ – a homage to getting off your box). Electro pop heaven...and a lovely bloke too.
The Sunshine Underground are one of a huge ever growing number of bands in my ‘must listen to one day’ file. You know the sort of thing. Someone says to you, “Hey daddio, have you heard such and such a band? They’re a big hit with all the cool cats” (forgive me, I’m in one of those moods). You smile, nod enthusiastically and make a mental note to check them out. Then, when you log on to have a listen, you get distracted by videos of Shakira. Just me? Oh. Okay. In the case of The Sunshine Underground someone mentioned them to me about 4 years ago and so, here I am, some 48 months later…right on the case, Mr Finger on the Pulse. Actually when I say I hadn’t heard anything by them I was soon proved wrong when they played several tracks which had obviously seeped into my brain by osmosis. I knew them but I’m buggered if I know where from. Maybe the tune fairy left them on my pillow one night?
For a band that’s released just one album so far (2006’s ‘Raise the Alarm’) they’ve managed to maintain a pretty loyal following, evidenced by the enthusiastic sing alongs throughout the evening (culminating in some frantic frugging at the front to their biggest song to date, the funk/rock/dance classic ‘Put You In Your Place’…damn that’s a great track). Before all that though we were treated to a pretty equal mix of the old and new stuff, including several standout numbers that might just explain what the band’s been doing for the last few years. Pick of the bunch for me was the Muse-tastic ‘Spell It Out’, complete with soaring falsetto vocals and anthemic, orchestral sounding guitars (how the chuff can a guitar be orchestral…good grief I get worse). There’s a distinct Killers-ish edge to the band too, a harder version certainly but that kind of ‘grand’ sound that you can imagine the odd 50,000 people singing along to. Take another newbie ‘In Your Arms’ (and another set of impressive vocals tonight) for instance. It’s the sort of music that’s destined to really unite a crowd and it (together with the rest of the set) was played with all of the joyful enthusiasm of a group that’s just starting out, rather than one that’s a good few years into its life. On the strength of tonight’s show, this particular ray of Sunshine could be on the verge of going Overground. Big time.
Their next long player (good grief, how old am I?), ‘Nobody’s Coming To Save You’ is due out in February 2010, just in time for Valentines day…probably. You could give a copy to the one you love, especially if they’re fond of funky indie rock. Who knows, you might even…ahem…get lucky? Awwww…I feel just like Cilla Black, either that or some kind of aging pimp. Hmm…yes, I prefer that, Pimp Daddy.
Coming To Save You
In Your Arms
Change Your Mind
Any Minute Now
Spell It Out
Way It Is
Standby For Nothing
Put You In Your PlacePS: For proper photos of the gig check out Wayne Fox's link to the left of this mumbo jumbo.