A rare night of firsts this evening. First of all the first time I’d seen any of the bands on the bill (that’s getting to be a rarer event these days) and secondly the first time I’d ever been to tonight’s venue, Vudu (formerly Mint and...unless I’m very much mistaken, Pagoda Park about 100 years ago...). Birmingham seems to have been blessed with new venues recently, what with the old Academy reopening as The Ballroom (giving us three new/old venues back) a few weeks back and the similarly three roomed HMV Institute last year. Vudu’s mainly a club but there’s a great room set up for gigs here too, replete with a gut wobbling sound system (and it takes a lot to wobble my gut these days).
First up this evening Neon Asylum, one man and his laptop unveiling the fruits of many nights knob twiddling back in his bedroom. No...now you’re just being smutty. There’s a bit of an old skool 90’s rave feel going on here and, given the awesomely 'bangin' tunes' it was a real struggle to resist pulling some shapes. No one wants to see a middle aged man throw shapes so I made do with some mild hipster head nodding instead. “Hello, I’m Kanye West” muttered Mr Asylum after a couple of tracks, given his recent bonkers rantings maybe Kanye should start saying “Hello I’m Neon Asylum” instead eh? I suggest the two of 'em hook up, Kanye Asylum...I can see it now.
Next Seams. Unlike Mr Asylum Seams is a little more chilled, favouring glitchy skittering builds up to his full phat dubsteppy beats (the kind of sounds that would give James Blake a good shoeing). A crush of fans at the front witnessed an aural artist at work, with one or two tracks recalling a similar master of sound, Ryuichi Sakamoto, at his very best. As a visual show there’s not much to it (I guess you could employ a VJ to add a little something), but with sounds as gorgeous as these it’s probably best just to shut your eyes and let your imagination do the work.
Finally, TEETH, a lively three piece fronted by Californian no-raver Veronica So. Comparisons with Crystal Castles have been made but, to be honest, you could equally lob in riot grrrllllllllllll bands like Bikini Kill too and a healthy dash of Late Of the Pier. The key to stopping this kind of stuff turning into a bit of a shouty mess (not that there’s much wrong with the odd bit of shouty messiness) is having some decent tunes and happily TEETH have more than filled that particular cavity. See Spaces, with its naggingly insistent synth line and steel drum style flourishes really hits the spot whilst Care Bear draws you in with some sweet n sparse old skool keys before beating you into submission with pile driving bass and nutty knob squelching (again...cut out the smut already). Now that’s the ‘bite’ stuff (bite stuff...geddit? oh alright then).