Tag Archives: live review

The Return Of The King(s), Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster, Manchester Club Academy 29/10/12.

I bloody love these guys.  When I first heard their debut Horse Of The Dog on it’s release 10 years ago, *feels old*,  I could NOT stop listening to it.  Clocking in at just over 25 minutes it grabs you by the scruff of the neck, screams in your face and lacerates you with Cramps/Birthday Party-style guitars that momentarily made me think I should perhaps listen to a nice safe band like Travis……but that didn’t last.

Fast-forward 10 years, only two more albums, an almost Spinal Tap-esque rotation of guitarists and the re-release of their single ‘Chicken’ (which was used in a recent Nike advert) and suddenly all feels right in the world.  Re-forming after splitting up in March 2010 with ALMOST the original lineup, (no Tom on drums?) there’s a real sense of excitement in the academy tonight. Andy Huxley who left in 2005 due to that old chestnut ‘musical differences’ is back on lead guitar and they sound EXACTLY as brilliant as they did back in the day, (during Huxley’s feedback-drowned solo on ‘Pyschosis Safari’ it sounded like the Kraken had been released).

Opening with the creepy ‘Freud’s Black Muck’ from 2005’s ‘The Royal Society’, it’s just a non-stop assault on the ears (in a good way you understand).  They only play songs from their first two albums, (leaving out 2010’s ‘Blood and Fire’) and a couple of b-sides but to be honest the omission of their last long player was no big loss bar a couple of decent tunes.  The crowd sang/screamed along to most of the words and there seemed to be a genuine feeling of relief to have ’em back.

And then there’s Guy.  Mr. Guy McKnight Mr. Mental himself.  What a bloody frontman, he never disappoints.  Sounding like Elvis being molested by Kurt (enduring image) with his forays into the crowd to scream lyrics into their ecstatic  faces you just can’t take your eyes off him……he won’t let you.  You just feel this is a band that gives you their all and the appreciation from the crowd is more than obvious.

So what happens now?  They play Camden’s Electric Ballroom on Halloween and then………..who knows.  HOPEFULLY another album, (please x10) but if not………well at least I’ve seen ’em tear the academy a new one.  Oh and I got a couple of cool t-shirts from the merch stall.

Here’s the setlist if you care

  1. Freud’s Black Muck
  2. Celebrate Your Mother
  3. Alex
  4. Whack Of Shit
  5. Chicken
  6. Torrential Abuse
  7. I Rejection
  8. Puppy Dog Snails
  9. Giant Bones
  10. Charge The Guns
  11. Team Meat
  12. Temple Music
  13. Morning Has Broken
  14. Rise Of The Eagles
  15. Psychosis Safari
  16. Fishfingers
  17. Presidential Wave
  18. The Way Of The Men Of The Stuff

3 days: 3 gigs; 1 session


St Vincent at Leeds Met

St Vincent at Leeds Met Students Union

Drowned in Sound absolutely adore St Vincent, and having seen a clip of her in soundcheck on said website a few weeks ago I was intrigued to learn that her support slot on the Grizzly Bear tour was solo. Apart from supplementary guitar on one song by Grizzly Bear’s Daniel Rossen, it was just Annie Clark, a looping pedal, and some sequenced backing. I must say I was surprised by how diverse she could be within those limitations. As Sam commented to me after The Strangers, she somehow managed to go seamlessly from 40s jazz guitar to an onslaught reminiscent of Joe Satriani in just 30 seconds. Songs such as Save Me From What I Want worked really well with her looping backing vocals along with herself, and during the more frenetic passages of Marrow she had the appearance of a manikin suffering a seizure. Her cover of The Beatles’ Dig A Pony was a pleasant surprise too. I was very impressed, and would like to know how these songs come across with a full band.

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Half Man Half Biscuit – Leeds University – Stylus – 15th October 2009

If you bumped in to British radio stalwart Andy Kershaw and asked him about Half Man Half Biscuit, he’d tell you that they are “our greatest folk band”

While this is probably a reference to the way in which Nigel Blackwell’s lyrics concern themselves with the minutiae of everyday life, the thought of a 24th Century version of Cecil Sharp House staffed with legions of reverent, bearded men in tweed jackets, brows furrowed in concentration, trying to divine the historical significance of lines like “There’s a man with a mullet going mad with a mallet in Millets” (from “National Shite Day “) or “Neil Morrisey’s a nobhead” (from “Bottleneck at Capel Curig”) is a warming one.

Half Man Half Biscuit at Leeds Stylus

Half Man Half Biscuit at Leeds Stylus

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