Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Computers / The Mighty Young @ The Sunflower Lounge, Friday 25th January

There’s a limb flying through the air. It’s difficult to tell if it’s still attached to its owner. It seems unlikely given the mayhem that’s unfolding in a compact basement in Birmingham. Welcome to the world of The Computers...

Lordy, it’s been a while since my last live gig. Nearly a month in fact. I’ve got some decent excuses though, what with the nut shrivelling cold, 3 cm of snow and a misguided attempt to go ‘dry’ for most of the month. Avoiding booze at home is tough enough, not drinking when you’re out at a just don’t seem right. What better way to pop my 2013 gig virginity then than a gig from The Computers eh? Rock and motherhumpin’ roll.

Before Exeter’s finest Brum’s The Mighty Young, purveyors of top notch garage rock ‘n’ blues, guaranteed to defrost the parts other bands simply can’t reach. It’s been a while since I last saw them but in the intervening months they’ve clearly been locked in a dark room somewhere practicing like crazy. Either that or they’ve done a swift deal with the devil. Either way they're rapidly morphing and maturing into a mightily impressive garage blues band with each of the three players frequently proving their musical chops in a dirty 30 minute romp through gyspy women, liquor and all the other sins of the flesh yo momma warned you about. The singer’s Beefheartian delivery was particularly pleasing and lovers of all things Black (Keys that is) and White (Jack, of course) should be salivating like a one eyed dog in an abattoir.

Time for The Computers then and, with a new single out soon, the rather fabulous Disco Sucks, they’ve plumped to promote it with a whistle stop tour of freebie gigs at a time of the year when most acts are still eating their leftover turkey. We’re living in uncertain times. Not much is guaranteed in life these days. But one thing you can count on is that The Computers will sweat blood, tears and pretty much every other bodily fluid in an effort to rock your pants off. Literally. You’ve gotta love what you’re doing to slog around the country in the snow for a week playing for FREE and that’s blindingly obvious watching them perform. From the second the throbbing heart and soul of the band vocalist Screaming Al hits the stage (okay, it’s more like a step in The Sunflower Lounge but hell let’s not quibble) the crowd explodes into a moist mass of flailing limbs, demented grins and spilt booze. Al’s at the centre of it all from the very first note, climbing onto anything in sight, the bar, the merch desk, the drum kit, the keyboards, the crowd...whilst still singing up a storm and playing guitar. Impressively the crowd even ended up carrying his mic and stand at one point as he surreally floated over our heads like a punk rock Mary motherfuckin’ Poppins. Song wise it was a fan pleasing set, complete with their biggest tunes to date, Teenage Tourette’s Camp and Music Is Dead plus the new single, Disco Sucks, which encouragingly seemed to get the best reaction of all. Al’s still screaming but the newer material seems to be sanding down the splintered edges a little (perhaps echoing the kind of transition currently being attempted by ex Gallows front dude Frank in his new Pure Love incarnation?). It’s a subtle change but it’s there and it might just start winning them a much bigger audience (the sort of audience they deserve in fact), especially if they can maintain the frankly death defying energy of the live show that’s got them this far.

If anything the encore saw things ramp up a gear or two, with a lively mash up of one of their acknowledged musical granddaddies’ best tunes, The Clash’s Train In Vain with a little of Ben E. Kings Stand By Me. Works really well too. Honest. As is traditional with The Computers the set ended with Al, perched precariously on the bar, splitting the crowd down the middle before inviting the two sides to come together in a (good natured) explosion of arms, legs, heads and various other body parts. Boom! It bears repeating that tonight’s gig was FREE. Given this the band could’ve been forgiven for just ‘phoning it in’ or playing a handful of songs but they played as if this was their last gig on earth. If it was yours you’d die a happy bunny...

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