Monday, February 20, 2012
Outfit / Swim Deep / The Mighty Young @ The Rainbow, Saturday 18th February
So what’s the state of music like in 2012 then eh? Discuss. I guess to a certain extent it depends on your age. Try as you might it’s impossible to resist the lure of the stuff that appealed to you during those formative years (13-18) and as you grow older you’re actually legally obliged to start moaning about whatever’s in the charts. The truth is that there’s a lot of crap around right now...but then again there always was. It’s only years later with the benefit of distance that we’re able to conveniently filter out the rubbish and bask in the warm glow of the good stuff. I mention all this because tonight’s gig was a perfect example of that ‘good stuff’ featuring a trio of bands that might well be operating under the radar right now but who each prove that, for all the musical effluent out there, 2012 has plenty to offer.
The night kicked off with Birmingham trio garage rockers The Mighty Young. It’s raw, it’s loud and by satan’s todger it’s grrrrrreat. Birmingham may well now officially be The Home of Metal but it’s equally a sweaty slightly soiled hotbed of garage rock too and The Mighty Young are a welcome addition to the likes of John J Presley, The Castilians and that whole darn awesome Coldrice collective. Some truly impressive guitar work, rust tinged vocals and suitably loose n’fluid drumming got down and dirty in a blistering half hour of joyful noise. Mighty fine.
From garage rock to slacker synth with another local support, Swim Deep. Joy Division, Velvet Underground and M83 collide in one gloriously atmospheric mash up. A couple of girls just in front of us seemed to know every word to every song and it’s not hard to imagine Swim Deep’s bloodied and bruised romanticism piercing a million teenage hearts. Take a listen to their standout track so far, Isla Vista, a brooding anthem replete with Hooky basslines, mumbled vocals and a defiant ‘Okay!’ shout out in the chorus and you’ll see what I mean. A (breast)stroke of genius.
Finally, continuing the synthy theme, Outfit, tipped for great things by The Fly...the magazine that is, I’m not taking musical pointers from bluebottles...not anymore anyway...not since convincing me to buy that Justin Bieber album...bastards. Anyway Outfit formed in Liverpool last year, rapidly developing a bit of a reputation as kings of downbeat danciness. All bands need that signature single to break through and Outfit have it in the magnificent Dashing In Passing, a mutant low key funk/synth hymn that quite frankly sounds like nothing else around right now. The fact that they’ve got a stash of equally strong tracks in their wardrobe came as a pleasant surprise. Lyrics clearly matter to this lot and opening number Vehicles could well give Morrissey a run for his money “Put buildings over you. I’ll stand alone in velodromes and listen to the answerphones ring true”. Hubba...that’s some nice lyrics there. The whole track’s stuffed with ‘em too, add the perfectly complimentary twin vocals that haunt most of their songs and sparse keyboards and you’ve got a perfect post millennial soundtrack. Dashing In Passing was as sublime and glorious live as it is on record, the sound of souls melting, hearts splintering and tears staining a thousand inner city concrete paving slabs. Just in case you were ready to label Outfit as dons of the downbeat though tonight’s set was...well...yes...I’m going to say it...pretty darn funky in places too. It’s a surprising mix but it’s one that works brilliantly, the perfect combination of the heart breaking and the ass shaking. I’m always hesitant about bigging up new bands too soon in their career but what the hell, Outfit are special and, whether they go on to be massive or not they’re one of the reasons to be cheerful about the state of music right now.