There’s a real buzz about this gig. Even the Flapper toilets had a heady aroma about them...then again don’t they always? (NB: I Love The Flapper...this is just for comedy purposes...the toilets are spotless and smell only of roses and newly mown grass...). It’s all down to a certain Chapel Club who are currently being touted as one of those ‘next big things’. They’re not headlining though, instead they’re sandwiched between two other groups. First up, The Naked Youth. I was going to look this band up on the net before the gig but aren’t there rules against stuff like that? One mis-click and I’d be right up the Gary Glitter. Try explaining that to PC World “Honest guv, I was just trying to look up a band”. Bit of a QOTSA feel to this lot, shades of Nine Black Alps perhaps too. Bluesy rock with some downright dirty (but not in a 'naked youth' way) guitar. Formed as recently as the Summer of 2009 they’ve made an impressive start and put on a fine show featuring a couple of tracks that you can check on their MySpace page (don’t worry, I made sure I got the address right...eventually) including ‘The Devil Knows Your Dead’. Bonus points for the full on rock out t the end of the show...although I would’ve liked it to go on for a few more minutes. But that’s me all over. Greedy.
Next up, praise and hallelujah, it’s Chapel Club. Their forthcoming single ‘O Maybe I’ is undoubtedly something special. Combining the doomy bass of Joy Division era Peter Hook with the arch lyrics of Morrissey was always going to be a winning formula. “O maybe I should settle down for a quiet life, or maybe I should risk it all for a perfect night?” sings lead Clubber Lewis in his best Morrissey. It’s classy stuff. In truth, despite the Smiths comparisons it’s really only ‘O Maybe’ I that rings those bells that strongly. Whilst there’s still a dark melodramatic light (that never goes out) at the heart of the band it’s those squally walls of guitar that dominated much of the set, a ‘wail’ of sound played by a thrashing threesome that, on tracks like ‘Machine Music’, made the lyrics sound like a last will and testament. Elsewhere there’s a little more dark humour at play, witness ‘Surfacing’s neat use of the Mama’s and Papa’s staple ‘Dream A Little Dream’. I’m always wary of leaping on bands and proclaiming them the second coming (mainly ‘cos I get it wrong so often) but Chapel Club have ‘it’, whatever ‘it’ may be. Expect the disciples to grow by the day.
Finally The Scholars...all the way from the very scholarly Oxfordshire. Like a slightly more upbeat Editors they take the serious school of rock route. Check out the synth strengthened ‘Blood Runs Blue’ “Time is a precious thing. Use it wisely. I hope you learn from past mistakes” intones the lead Scholar. Okay. I’ll do that. On top of dishing out wise words they’re picking up some decent reviews too. New single ‘This Heart’s Built To Break’ was picked as the track of the week by Alex Zane on none other than the ‘MySpace Mars Planets Radio’ show. And you don’t...er...get much bigger than that...right? The lead Scholar has a really strong, clean crisp, radio friendly vocal and the rest of the band thrashed around like good ‘uns. They’ve got plenty of catchy songs too and, despite (or maybe because of) having to follow the majesty of Chapel Club, they pulled off a strong set. Most importantly of all – and if, after 20+ years of going to see gigs, anyone’s interested in what - in my humble opinion - makes a decent set (whether you love the music or not is a different matter) – they put their all into it and seemed to have a whale of a time.
Happy Valentine’s Day dear readers. I love you all. Even the Japanese porn site that keeps sending spam comments (86 and counting) - in Japanese - to one of my reviews...just don’t add any pictures of naked youth... I’m probably in enough trouble as it is.