candys. kid galahad. four star mary. goldrush

25 02 2003

NUS ENTS CONVENTION Reading University Students’ Union

It’s a curious thing that this NUS conference thingy in the lush setting of Reading University comprises equally blaggers like you and me and people who look like scout leaders. Anyway, no-one’s paying any attention to the bands. The drab Teenage Fan Club-isms of Goldrush aren’t ever going to lure anyone from the bar.

Four Star Mary are more like it, their good-time barroom rock’n’roll communicating well even to a largely indifferent crowd. And they may be keeping it quiet, but they’re the band off Buffy.

Best of the night are Kid Galahad, whose album Gold Dust Noise is out nowish. They might look like the indiest kid ever beaten up in school but they’re freewheeling at the dirtier end of the indie-pop spectrum and pack excellent chant-alongs like ‘Pack it In’ and the massively-riffed ‘Where is My Gold’. Catchy lyrics and clever sampling show a genuine sparkiness. Plus they’ve been on Teachers and they sound a bit like Action Spectacular (anybody? anybody?).

Last on are The Candys. They look like a discount Ash and sound like the best dirge-pop act ever. While not as sparky as Kid Galahad, they’re a complete package: ice queen bassist, pretty boy singer, sulky rocking out. There’s definite promise even if none of the songs stand out apart from the brilliantly-sampled epic closer. Maybe no-one’s paying attention tonight, but Kid Galahad and the Candys are definitely worth a few quid and a snakebite at the Monarch.

This review first appeared on sometime in 2003-4.


boom boom satellites. sona fariq. gear

24 02 2003

93 Feet East, 24.02.03

Not sure whether it’s Boom Boom Satellites‘ following, or just Shoreditch, but there’s lots of Japanese art student types with funny haircuts wandering around. Certainly the place is a lot busier than the last Monday night I was here, so hopefully word is spreading of these great free, yes, free, live shows at the start of every week.

First on are Gear, who rock out in a convincing power-punk way. There’s certainly potential to be exciting. Then it’s Sona Fariq, who headlined last time, and properly kicked it out. Tonight though they’re a little subdued. Still, they’re one of the best live bands around, bringing the noise with an energy and conviction everyone needs in their life. It’s a full-on sonic punk rock assault with edgy funk angles, and it’s fantastic. Unfortunately their set is curtailed by an injury down in front, which means Boom Boom Satellites are a full hour late on stage. Still it’s worth missing the last train, because they’re absolutely bonkers and absolutely ace. Electro, techno, fuckno fuck yeah! It’s Tom Morello on the soundtrack to the manga version of Starsky and Hutch versus the Giant Robots and its fucking wicked! Go to one of these free nights, its well worth it, and go see Sona Fariq and go Boom Boom Satellites. You’ll thank me.

This review first appeared on The injury down the front happened to my mate Paul’s twin brother, who got there later than us when we were down the front, and literally ran down the front, jumped in the air and crumpled into a ball. He was on crutches for months with the kind of injury that ends footballers’ careers.

soundtrack of our lives. ladytron. ikara colt. raveonettes

6 02 2003

NME Awards Show London Astoria 06.02.03

Not really sure why the doors are so early (6pm), causing me to miss most of The Raveonettes. Well, happy hour caused me to miss most of the Raveonettes, but I needed a few drinks to face the Astoria’s price list. Three quid for a can of Carling? Fuck right off. Lucky then there’s such an assortment of fine musical treats to be had. The Raveonettes have a B-movie feel to them, from the ‘50s-style artwork on their excellent record Whip it On to their twangy guitars and song titles like ‘Attack of the Ghost Riders’. The only problem with the album is lack of variety to the vocals. Live there’s a rawer edge to the songs, as they veer into Jesus and Mary Chain country.

Ikara Colt are spikier and punkier. Their disjointed fuzz-rocking was lost a bit in the cavernous Astoria until ‘Rudd’ kicked things off properly, and their energetic stage presence whipped the crowd up. Seconds later singer Paul sends the mic arcing up in the air and disappears in the crowd. A quality moment, nearly matched as a highlight by the finale of ‘Sink Venice’ which had everyone singing along. Go get the album Chat and Business, learn all the words, then go see them in a little back room where they can really make spiky fuzz-punk magic.

Liverpool’s finest electronickistas Ladytron come across as pretty austere. You wouldn’t think four people in matching uniforms – black – pressing buttons on little boxes – black – would make much of a live experience, but you’d be wrong. Ladytron are ace. Totally captivating stage presence, and surprisingly storming songs. ‘Miss Playgirl’ and ‘Seventeen’ are particularly stomping.

Then it’s time for The Soundtrack of Our Lives . They enjoy a certain highbrow reputation, but tonight turns out to be all about having a rockin’ good time. Not sure they deserved quite the level of adulation they received, but still, they know how to rock. Double headed guitars, Union Jack jackets, loads of hands-in-the-air clapping along… it’s our own little corner of the 70s. They sound like the Who playing Led Zeppelin at a gospel meeting, and they’re great.

This review first appeared on