Fourteencorners, My First Tooth, Le Tournoi Excel Before The Peak At All Day Hootenanny More
Written By Michael Wood Sunday, April 20th, 2008
Mark Levin, Garfunkel and Simon (Patrick Dowson), My First Tooth, Pablo's Last Stand, Kid Id, fourteencorners, Laura Groves, Le Tournoi, UltCult, The Seven Inches, The Rosie Taylor Project, Buttonhead All Day Hootenanny at 1 in 12 Club, Bradford
If I ever was to see a man playing Radiohead on a harp - see it and enjoy it - I might have predicted that it would be in the surroundings of left wing cafe serving bean burgers and vegan food to a crowd that divides it's time between band watching and knitting. The All Day Hootenanny - an ambitious split headed all dayer - was a good day and this was a suitability curious start.
Mark Levin's harp performance comes after Garfunkel & Simon - aka Patrick Dowson of Monty Casino - has titillated with a Springstein cover retitled and reformed into Born In The BRI and sets up the curious afternoon in the Library of the 1 in 12 club on Bradford's Albion Street. Having seen Radiohead in my time I can say that I enjoyed Levin's versions of their songs more than the originals and that is credit enough for any man.
There is nothing but credit for Northampton duo My First Tooth who take to the rug that makes a stage wearing matching cardigans - one of which hides Sophie's amusing t-shirt - and perform with a similar fused coordination.
The duo deserve better than to play to a handful of people but play they do with Sophie's multi-instrument performance going from violin to a long necked mandolin to a Bontempi mouth organ while the stoic Ross bends his vocals emotionally around a set of self penned, heartbreaking tunes. Sleet and Snow stands out and is delivered with perfect phrasing on the lines "Who's idea/was this Gondola ride/the cable frayed/we're plummeting."
It is emotive without being overtly emotional and fits the dynamic of the band with the youthful Sophie providing a charm next to the painfully shy Ross who would hide everything but his abilities which shine without braggadocio but with a calm confidence.
Certainly Ross shows less confidence than those in Pablo's Last Stand the two strong folk group who follow My First Tooth but do not exceed them. They are serious folk - the type of folk where one stamps a foot on the floor to keep the beat - and they are good but lack the spark of the previous act who form the highlight of the acoustic half of the day.
Downstairs we are in rockville and Kid Id are a squeezed onto stage party reminding one most readily of Madness but with a more obvious political agenda and this could make them nauseating but in truth they are a riot.
A bongo playing drummer recalls Animal from The Muppets and the Henson theme continues as Kid Id mellow out to play a stand out song called Skipping Stones which recalls Mississippi Mud and for a band who my id seemed keen to dislike I find myself beaming.
I beam when fourteencorners take to the stage. They are shy a bassist - Jim has left for the Marines recalling the Napoleonic phrase about not knowing what he will do to the enemy but he scared the Hell out of me - but have Laura Groves filling in on organ and with customary 'corners ability they master the muddy sound set up to come over as clear as any band will today and more so than most bands will in their gigging career.
I think for a moment about how the ability of drummer Marco Pasquariello especially but also Josh Taylor and Luke Silcock to get the band sounding good when playing in venues of varied qualities may be the decisive factor in my belief that they are West Yorkshires's finest hidden gem. Certainly that skill augments their desire to play cleanly sung, intelligent lyrics over crisp guitars and as with The Lodger one is amazed that this county offers up bands like The Pigeons or Kaisers above them.
Tsotsumi has been dropped from the set but The Walk Home continues to sound better and better with Groves keyboard straining background and Pasquariello's softer touch of drumming. We Are Pathetic! We Are Stars! is Silcock's chance to show finger work on an acoustic that makes one glad one never had to play Subutteo against him and in the centre is Taylor who's heart bleeding on sleeve lyrics and determined certitude create the focal point. Few songs on my Walkman get as many plays as New Limbs For Old Flames - in fact my Last.FM says that none do - and that is the mark of this band.
The mark of Le Tournoi is an inconstancy between a disorganised discord and something that touches on genius and as afternoon begins to fade into evening they are very much the latter having been augmented by the livewire antics of Keiron Casey on guitar the family Sanderson plus one are on form and when on form there are few better.
They are a Scooby gang of a band. Kieron's ebullience seems him leap from the stage to grab a pint, Robert on bass is calm and centred taking vocals at one point for a Neil Young cover - "I can't sing" he intones - while James on drums has praise heaped on him by the previous band's sticksman Marco Pasquariello and pounds the band on.
Emilie - effortlessly cool - streams melody from her keyboard and pitches vocals high augmenting William who continues to grow as a guitarist and songwriter playing newer songs that are richer than the back catalogue that is dipped into with It's Only a Power Station sounding especially full and while many bands group together through likeness the five members of Le Tournoi seem to be a desperate as could be.
The difference is heard in the music and when it goes right - and it does - it creates drive, snappy, intelligent tunes. There is a new drive in demeanour of Le Tournoi - a determination to push things on - and there is a randomness of how far that could go. Tonight they are enthralling and recapture the excitement that saw them catapulted from bedroom band to Bradford's most talked about act. More of tonight in their support slot at St Georges Hall with Lightspeed Champion could see them seize attention.
Coming off the back of such a support slot are UltCult who are a shadow of the band that played only a few days ago struggling with sound problems and having dropped the most interesting song from their set. They will have better days than this one hopes.
Sounding great are Leeds band The Seven Inches who take the stage with lead singer Ian looking rather like Klinger from M*A*S*H with only my Grandmother's wardrobe to choose from and he is annoying in that punch him way but memorable too and should the band be aiming for distinction in a sea of similar acts around the scene then they achieve it with Ian strumming a paper guitar, bouncing around the room and generally giddying it up.
The songs are strong with Our Type Of Friends (title? - mw) standing out amid a general collection of good pop tunes which do not out stay their welcome with the exception of a lyric about Tom & Jerry which returns to the wanting to punch style of sticking in the mind and at that point one has to wonder if people said exactly the same thing about David Byrne when Talking Heads used to perform and it never did that band any harm.
Not able to do themselves much harm at The Rosie Taylor Project who's inexorable rise continues regardless of a distinct lack of memorability to their songs. They are a serious and sombre act and may be perfect on a mellowed out summer's evening but they do not stick in the memory on a dark night in Bradford.
They play through a set and they seem very in control but they lack the ironic smile of the better Tweecore bands. Buttonhead are twee without the lyrical smarts and after forty-five minutes of tuning up momentum drifts away into the night. They shriek, they need more melody they are easy to break away from, and so I do.
With The Peasants as Bradford Welcomes Back Los Campesinos! More
Written By Michael Wood Thursday, April 17th, 2008
Los Campesinos!, The Luvvers, UltCult BD1 Live at St George's Hall, Bradford
After blazing through Broken Heartbeats Sound Like Breakbeats the band introduce themselves. "We are Los Campesinos! and we are from Cardiff, which is near Bristol."
It is the type of comment which typifies the seven strong popster from South Wales and one is not sure if it is a flippant quip or a heartfelt claim on the heritage of that City.
UltCult look young enough to not have been at school when Sarah 100 came out but they resonate with the same DIY spiked joy that bands like Talulah Gosh, Even As We Speak and The Sea Urchins used to put through the Bristol record label with a sly mix of Kevin Shields edged on.
They are three girls, two guys and small glockenspiel - glockenspiels are the instrument de jour tonight - and they sound like the fastest relationships one could have started and ended in a single night.
Odious Emporium opens the set and is impressive. Five Bedrooms and Two Lounges closes and stands out and what passes in-between is far from dull. They depart to impressed noises.
Noises describes The Luvvers who are a musically tight four piece of lads - the very sort that will later be described as "saying nothing [to me] about [my] life" and they are fronted by a bleached blonde haircut who seems to ape style and lack substance.
Substances concern Los Campesinos! and Gareth Campesinos jokes that they are on crack but the band are more like the sound of a bunch of teenagers on sugar rush. They are a band to fall in love with mixing smartness - smugness even - of lyrics with an excess of energy in performance and ring in an ill fitted innocence that gives them charm. They credit Blank Generation's Adam Simons with giving them a first gig outside either capital and are genuine in doing so. "We would have had to get proper jobs..." Gareth comments.
This ebullient charm runs through the night. Drop It Doe Eyes - sung by Aleksandra Campesinos who swaps from side keyboard duties to the front - is a joy and the Pavement cover Frontwards sounds superb. Harriet Campesinos - see what they have done with the names? - draws a bow over her violin creating depth to what would be a sound of kids hitting tin and looking over the instrumentation the seven have one can see where the Arcade Fire comparisons come in. Had Arcade Fire gown up in Cardiff and listened to Heavenly they probably would sound like this.
Gareth retreats to the back of the stage and joins Ollie Campesinos drumming the famed start of You! Me! Dancing! and they go from good to great with the half full St George's Hall moving with a total joyous lack of unison. They finish on Sweet Dreams, Sweet Cheeks after stand out version of We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives which exceeds the album and sees Gareth bounding around the stage. They are a band who are going interesting places and owe much of that to the start and support they got in Bradford.
Tonight they repaid us.