First up, The Flying Nines. Fusing a little Dexy’s with a touch of The Jam they kicked off the night with a pork pie hat full of ska punk. Can’t find a MySpace page for them (maybe they’re a new band?) but they’re another fine addition to Brum’s burgeoning ska scene (yes, there is one...I say so, so there).
Speaking of which (see, told you), next up Tempting Rosie, Birmingham’s very own 7 headed groove machine. I lurve this lot. What’s not to lurve? The Rosie are a darn fine ska pop band with enough energy to power a small...nah...make that a big city. Now there’s the solution to the energy crisis eh? SKA POWER. I can see British Gas getting in on that one. Perhaps we can wire those dudes from The Specials up to the mains too, I reckon they’ve got a few kilowatts in ‘em. Not so sure about Terry Hall though...hmmm...anyway, back to Tempting Rosie. It gladdens the heart to see bands and audiences having such fun together and a healthy pack of bopping teens soon gathered up front to...well...bop their stuff. Pick of the tracks tonight included a skankingly brilliant version of ‘I’m Attracted’, a (new to me...I think) one called ‘The Office’, ‘House of the Dead’, The Beat referencing The Fear...oh to hell with it, it was all good.
Finally Fool's Gold, less a band more of a frantic around the world audio trip (in both senses of the word). Tonight’s gig took in everything from the kind of afrobeat sounds recently popularised by Vampire Weekend through to more Middle Eastern flavas, gypsy jazz, 60’s tinged psych outs...the list goes on and on (a bit like me then eh?). It’s an intoxicating blend that leaves you scrabbling around for anyone to compare them with. Shit. I can’t. I’m stumped. Fool’s Gold are utterly unique, and there ain’t many bands you can say that about. I’m getting spoilt, musically speaking, at the moment. The last few weeks have seen some truly awesome gigs (Patrick Duff and Lucky Soul in the last week alone) so there’s a temptation to get jaded by it all but Fool’s Gold cut through any of that like an oxyacetylene torch through butter (I couldn’t just say ‘knife’ could I...do you know how many attempts it took to spell that word?). For some reason they even prompted me to start doing a peculiar Polynesian grass skirt dance during ‘Poseidon’ (‘Pig Bag’ meets J-pop meets Hebrew dance music) and throwing out some Bhangra style moves during ‘Nadine’ (a blissed out afro jazz groover)...but that’s how this band makes you feel, it’s just impossible to stand still.
The last track of the night, ‘The World Is All There Is’, took this restless energy to its logical conclusion with the band leading the hyped up audience in a mad conga and mass sing-along around the room. Now that’s how you end a show. The only fools tonight were the people who missed this gig...