Tuesday, July 23, 2013

One Beat Saturday featuring (deep breath...) Boat To Row/JAWS/Dumb/Wide Eyed/Velvet Texas Cannonball/Grafham Water Sailing Club/Racing/Youth Man/Ian Bowkett/Bad Moon/Sugar/These Kings @ mac, Saturday 20th July 2013

As thunder and lightening rain down (literally) on Baron Towers the warm and settled weather of last weekend seems like a long time ago. Thankfully mother nature's clearly a music fan though as One Beat Saturday neatly avoided the frankly apocalyptic storms currently drenching anyone silly enough to go out in a vest and flip flops today. Anyway enough of the weather, it’s been a pretty impressive 12 months for Birmingham bands/artists (at last) with PEACE, Swim Deep and Troumaca all making names for themselves outside B-Town and Laura Mvula securing a top 10 album. Capitalising on all this One Beat Saturday gathered together another dozen up and coming acts kicking off with These Kings’ impressive Editors go math rock-ish set, Sugar (nope, not the Bob Mould version) who laid some cool stoner vocals over twisted goth grunge guitars and Bad Moon who funked the place up a little with slap bass and a 60s underground meets 90s indie vibe. Next up poet Ian Bowkett made the first of several appearances, rather brilliantly capturing what it’s like to be young and in love these days (alcohol seems to be a pretty important lube...as it were), a theme he winningly returned to throughout the day/night. Youth Man’s punk fuelled assault on the senses were a real highlight, with blisteringly paced tracks running headlong into sludgier territory whilst Cold, released last year as a single, revealed a more soulful, reflective side. Punk Anansie anyone?

Racing’s laidback retro funk grooves provided the perfect afternoon summer soundtrack (impressed with the moustache on the keyboard player too). Check out this bad boy, cooooool eh? 

They paved the way for Grafham Water Sailing Club to twist heads with their motorik beats and disintegrating Joy Division drums. So good in fact that they set off the fire alarms (no mean feat in an outdoor gig). Unlike most of today’s bands Velvet Texas Cannonball have been around for a while and all that experience showed as they put on the kind of set that fans of classic rock (think The Doors, Free, Led Zeppelin) would happily sell their denim jackets to witness. Wide Eyed’s take on shoegaze added some neat Smashing Pumpkins style riffs to the mix leaving Dumb to undermine The Pixies’ comeback with a set of tracks that nudge close to Black Francis at his bitter best. Here's their latest track, uploaded mere minutes ago...

The impressive number of Jaws t-shirt wearing audience members were rewarded with their particular brand of jangly 90s style indie rock that fellow B-Towner’s PEACE and Swim Deep have successfully revitalised. They got the biggest crowd up and dancing too...well swaying from side to side at least. 

That just left Boat To Row to folk things up at the end. Closing their set and the whole wonderfully eclectic event with their plucking beautiful love song and ‘theme tune’, A Boat To Row, To Row To You, brilliantly demonstrated that Birmingham’s certainly moving to more than just one beat these days. 

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