Here’s what we saw on Friday as part of Gigbeth.
First we went over to the Sunflower Lounge intending to see Apache Beat – as they were the only band that we reckoned wouldn’t be back soon (they’re American, most of the other acts were local), the programme said the night started at eight and they were on second, but when we got there at about quarter-to-nine there was precious little evidence of any gig whatsoever. We hung around with the junior mods for a bit, admiring a nice collection of Adidas Stan Smith and fringes, but then cut our losses and shlepped over to actual Digbeth. On the way down Hurst St we saw a bagpipe player with nice brogues and a traditionally cavalier attitude to the falling temperatures, it was brass monkey weather and I’m sure I saw something fall.
So the first actual band we got to see shook their dusty Converse with a SKA twist, they played bits of Pigbag to an empty Dragon Bar, there were a lot of people on a tiny stage not much footroom – but they rocked quite well. EDIT – Cueball 8, they’re called.
“Nuneton’s second best band” announced Norman Collier, which had a touch of faint praise about it – they are Fiori (above) and it’s very possible that they get beaten up for looking like they do at least once a week. They have skinny jeans, backcombed hair and a deluge of song titles that hint at awful trite lyrics like “Stranger” – I say hint because the vocals are buried in the mix and the band have a habit of knocking over their mike stands. The drummer has a cowbell on its own stand that falls over a couple of times every song, although a Local Government Administrator with a ‘tashe and Hush Puppies is on hand to keep picking it back up.
Fiori have a song called “21st Century Blues”, a title that would have sounded cool only 15 years ago but has lost its meaning what with us actually living in the 21st century and everything. The song itself is pretty good and they riverdance across their multitudinous effects pedals in embroidered and heeled cowboy boots in a way that suggests they paid attention in ‘movement’ classes in primary school. The crowd, albeit mostly staff, their parents and the other bands, get into it and they have the conviction that comes from being the best at what they do (in Nuneaton presumably) which carries them through. There’s a guy (with them I assume) with some lovely zebra detailed winkle-pickers and the drummer never actually gets round to hitting the cowbell.
From the most rock and roll shoes I’ve seen in a while to the least, to the main room at the Sanctuary and Johnny Foreigner‘s bassist who is resplendent in a comfortable looking UGG boots and opaque tights. They reminded me of nothing so much as Bis without the keyboards, and have potential but seem to be angry about something (are all young people pissed off all the time these days ;) ). They do the Bis-esque call-and-response thing, but I’m thinking it’s too “this side Pack up Your Troubles, this side Tipperary”.
Deluka are next up, and are fronted by a Joan Jet-alike in nice pumps (who has her guitar tuned for her, so much for women’s lib) but there’s electro going on too. One song “Sleep is impossible” has single potential, but not sure that any of the others we hear stand out. There’s a guy up by the pipe organ with an acieeed smiley mask, and the girl-fronted rock thing takes me back to not only Elastica in the same venue in ’95, but has my head replaying scenes from Hazel O’Connor’s 1981 film Breaking Glass (go see it) .
We popped out before the end and took the hard way in to see the Project X dress rehearsal, head honcho Rich Batsford has already been blogging about this, so go check it out. He says Dexter had had a few beers, our old mate Rob definably had in fact we had to confiscate one or two from him – before he ruined his desert boots with spillages – everything seemed to be going well and I’m sure tonight will be great.
To change tack again we went to see DJ Zinc at the Medicine Bar for a bit, he wasn’t really playing much drum and bass, but the crowd were going significantly wild. Some pure music afictionados were showing their appreciation by taking mobile phone pictures of each other eating glowsticks.
Both Zinc and MC Dynamite were standing behind the decks so we couldn’t see their shoes.