It’s been quite the week for noisy cult Birmingham based bands to reform for a ‘one off’ gig. Last Saturday witnessed the second coming of Distophia during the rather excellent All Years Leaving festival and tonight was the turn of much loved shouty, screamy, punky trio Untitled Musical Project to deafen the nation’s young...and not so young...once more.
First up though Tales. You had to feel for ‘em. The trouble with relying on technology for at least some of your sound is that it can...and will...decide not to play ball every once in a while. Tonight was one of those times and despite using a Mac...which always work...ahem...the band spent an increasingly desperate 10 minutes or so rebooting, unplugging and cursing the damn thing. Fortunately the bloody contraption eventually began to do what it was supposed to do, sort of, and the band got on with what they were supposed to do. They’re actually an interesting proposition, imagine White Denim going math rock and you’ll have a fair idea of some of their tracks.
Such was the drummer’s ferocity that he broke several drumsticks before the set was over, presumably taking out some of his IT related frustration on something that wouldn’t cost a grand or two to replace. “Next time you see us we’re going to be four piece...get rid of the technology” he mused, possibly only half jokingly. “Anyone want to buy a Mac?” Relax, shit happens. It’s what you do afterwards that counts and, for the record, they turned what could’ve been a disaster into something of a triumph. A worthy addition to Brum’s burgeoning music scene.
Are Youth Man the hardest working band in Birmingham right now? Could be. I’ve seen them three or four times myself in the past few months...but they seem to be playing pretty much every week somewhere or other. In fact I half expect them to pop up and start playing in my bathroom one night. This is a good thing by the way. Generally speaking the more you play the better you get (yes I know...duh uh) and the more people get to hear you. It’s pretty simple really. That’s probably one of the reasons why da Man got played on Radio One this week too...they’re putting in the hours. It shows too. Each gig they’re just that bit better than before. Tonight was another typically spiky, fast, loud attack on the senses with lead singer Kaila jerking and screaming all over the stage like a woman possessed while bassist Adam provided some impressively nimble riffs and drummer Marcus beat the holy crap out of the drums. It’s a groin moisteningly impressive sight and sound, from the frenetic opening number of Heavy Rain through to the more reflective and soulful Wide Awake (rapidly becoming one of my favourite Youth Man tracks).
Maintaining the theme of the night Kaila managed to bust a D string on her guitar giving Adam and Marcus the chance to jam whilst she swapped over to a replacement. Hell, even this bit was great.
Kieren, lead screamer of Untitled Music Project, seems like such a nice boy when you’re chatting to him. The kind of lad you’d happily take home to mother. Up there on the stage however...oh boy...that’s a different matter. He’s more like the dude your mother warned you about, a wide eyed raging soothsayer on a mission to blow a ragged hole through your eardrums. Blazing through their greatest misses it was pretty much like they’d never been away and a reminder, if one were needed, of just how great they were/are. Take Beards and Drugs for instance, two and a half minutes of menacing indie punk perfection that builds to the kind of splenetic climax that normally precedes a successful exorcism. Imagine a mash up between the Beastie Boys and Dead Kennedy’s...it’s a bit like that. Only better. If two and a half minutes is too long for you how about A Popular Music Composition which does its business and clears out a full minute quicker leaving your neck ever so slightly detached from the rest of your body. It was fast. It was frantic. It was, quite frankly, fantastic. Ending the set with cracking versions of perhaps the two songs that got them closest to a hit, Why Isn’t Paul McCartney Dead Yet? and The People vs Michael Miller left you with the nagging feeling that, despite protests to the contrary, this is one project (Untitled or otherwise) that’s still not quite finished yet...