The Swing Movement Explode Flatness

Granadaland Live Review

Written By Michael Wood Saturday, May 12th, 2007

Komakino, Mother Vulpine, The Tendertraps, The Swing Movement Granadaland at The Love Apple, Bradford

There is something flat about this second Friday night of the month of that is Granadaland at the Love Apple in Bradford. Perhaps it is this, or perhaps it is the idea that this this here Granadaland night might become a subset of this or perhaps it is the non-metonymic strangeness of the four day week but whatever it is something it has left the room flat.In a couple of hours things will have been changed.

The Swing Movement are one of those bands who are so easily tagged "improbably young". The mothers have come for a quick one and to say hello as the kids with guitars set up. They have to drink water cause not only are the Mums in attendance but they probably could not get served either. They are that sort of young, they are also that sort of good.

The sort of good that demands attention of the room when they start up with the anthemic How It Goes with it's "shudda/wanna" refrains and scratched out guitar. As a band they welcome comparisons to The Clash for the funked up bass sound of moody Joe Gamble but without one of them being over 17 they are more likely to be versed in The Libertines with Ben Walker and Patrick Wanzala Ryan riffing off each other in a familiar way. They share the energy of performance and have a dynamism between them that drives the music impressively. "Why not be The Libertines," someone comments, "after all Pete and Carl don't want to be any more and when was the last time they took to the stage with four lemonades?"

Walker looks like every scruffy bleached blonde teen hanging around a town centre but takes the middle of the small Love Apple stage and looks off to top right with effacement, almost embarrassment. Wanzala Ryan's hair puts one in mind of the legendary Ces Podd and his bandy legged bobbing shows a similar lack of hauteur. Joe Gamble is just moody while Drumsman Kieran Borrett might be able get served at the bar. As good a reason to pick one drummer over another one supposes.

All of which sells The Swing Movement short. While not being the most original band to pick up guitars they are certainly authentic. They stand nervously on stage with a refreshing lack of arrogance but they hint at a confidence as they buccaneer through the lyrically nimble Shooting Blanks - "I'm happy if you/but I'm happier if you're not/you've got all the money in the world/but you never show me that smile" - and on to the ridiculously catchy Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

Just as the set draws to a close they lads on stage begin to notice the room of attention and confidence grows with Walker and Wanzala Ryan going guitar to guitar with a swagger. They own the night - they will own more and more nights if they carry on as they are now - and blast away the earlier malaise.

Tendertraps are off the bill. Not a problem.

Presentation is the thing for Mother Vulpine. They are the sort of band who do their eyeliner after arriving and wear matching ties tucked into their black shirts and for a moment as they expand the stage forward into the acre between band and audience they seem to have taken too long a look at Franz Ferdinand - the band not the deceased Arch Duke of Astro-Hungary - for comfort however it would probably be more accurate to say they were born of the same mothers.

Mother Vulpine are Gang Of Four meets Eighties Metal and that goes down well on this their first visit to the town that gave the world Terrorvision.

Single Keep Your Wits Sharp (Her Words Are Quick) has one cup of smartness to three of guitar thrashing - the Bass Vulpine is a sight to behold with arms and legs flying everywhere and, according to Lead Vulpine, a tendency to make bass/head contact a little too often - while We'll Be Detectives goes to tight structures and enunciated vocals. "It is Friday night," Lead Vulpine tells us, "so you can come up to the front and dance." The success of Mother Vulpine is that from the initially sceptic audience a few take him up on his offer.

Stand out is the hypnotic Snow Falling In Unison which takes the night from thrashing guitar through smart pop and indie rock and settles impressively into what is increasingly known as newgazing and while watching at the four identically dressed Vulpine it becomes clear that while visually they are together musically they have a full Swiss army knife of styles and songs and - delivered with gusto - there is something for everyone.

Mother Vulpine are visiting Bradford for the first time except for Guitar Vulpine who had a curry here once and tells us she enjoyed it. Bradvirgins too are Derby's much noticed rocksters Komakino who extend stage further to include chair jumping and generally storm around the room. MTV2 like them and it is not hard to see why but immediately they fall more into the like than love category and while they keep an audience entertained and bopping along pulling a few from the bar they seem a little less fresh than the support. Not bad just not brilliant they seem a little like you have heard it all before despite the energy of the delivery.

Following on from the surprisingly pleasing Mother Vulpine and the never ending joy of The Swing Movement they round off the night keeping the mood high.

Next time on Granadaland: The Lodger, Laura Groves and the "Joy Division meets Folk Rock" of Le Tournoi.

Flat? Not so much no.

Written By Michael Wood Saturday, May 12th, 2007

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