Rammed, sold out rammed and buzzing like a very buzzing thing, that’s the only way to describe the Lending Room as I walked into what was to be a very special night. A bloody fucking epic night.
Four bands chosen to play that night because they had been the best bands at past 360 Club gigs. Two of those bands – The Harriets and Fudge. I know and love to see live, one – Sir Curse – I was looking forward to seeing because I had reviewed their current release ‘Graphite’, and Teeff are a band I had no idea what to expect from.
While putting The Harriets on first may have been a random thing – I understand that bands draw lots for the running order before ‘the headliner’ – this for me was a very good thing. I was feeling a little under the weather that night and they always lift my soul, make me smile and get my feet moving compulsively.
Opening with ‘Television’, a song that is based on that New York No-Wave thing (see what they are doing there?) they immediately had the crowd moving. The band seemed to be ‘on one’ that night, and really enjoying doing their thing.
The thing about The Harriets is while their songs are upbeat and tuneful – boy do they write a great tune – there’s a depth in their songs. Because they also write great lyrics. This, people, is a band that makes you smile and, scanning the crowd, big grins were all around.
My notes for them are sparse because frankly I was enjoying their set big time, big big time, I was not alone in this. Two, or possibly three, highlights for me. One they announced as a cover, although they didn’t say what the cover was, but as the opening notes started I realised almost immediately that they were covering ‘The Chain’, and while I know Dan is a mean guitarist, I was somewhat worried, I shouldn’t have worried he killed it. But before that section of the track the vocal harmonies were just beautiful – Ben, Dan and Jess really sound great singing together. Really nice one.
Another is a song called ‘Darling’ a lovely song with a country-ish edge, it’s just beautiful. And ‘Cafe Disco’. A song I seem to recall they said would be a single release the last time I saw them play (that was a while ago), and they said that this night as well. It’s a joyful thing and is one you should be keeping an eye, and an ear, out for.
They finish with ‘Harry’ a favourite of mine, and as usual it’s a riot of garage-y R’n’B. It’s a song that I, and the crowd, just can’t get too much of.
Teeff are, as I said, a band I knew nothing about at all, beyond having seen the name. Their opening song is strangely Cream-like – heavy progressive blues. Although given that there’s two of them – drums and guitar – it’s sparser. The guitar is bass heavy. This at times, as their set progresses, makes their music sound like a cross between heavy progressive music and post-punk. It sounds as though it shouldn’t work but it does, it’s fantastic.
And being a duo the playing better be good, and it is. The vocals are great too – really bluesy.
Look I have to be honest here, at the start I wasn’t sure about Teeff. But as they played I went through one of those ‘OK I’m getting it, oh this is brilliant’ journeys. I ended up wanting to go back in time and hear their set all over again. I know, impossible, I’ll just have to see them again, as soon as possible.
Oh and their cover of ‘Walk Like An Egyptian’ was a musical joy.
There are a lot of Sir Curse there are six of them, this meant the Lending Room stage was pretty full. Having, as I said, reviewed their single ‘Graphite’ (which they were launching that night) I was really looking forward to seeing them.
There was a lot to take in – their music, the odd ‘theatrical’ moments (that’s odd as in happening at times, not odd as in strange). Their set gave me a sense of sensory overload. Trying to take notes and photos while just being swept away was hard.
So while Sir Curse throw a lot into their music – jazz, Gypsy music and rock – it’s also bloody heavy. My notes say it sounded like 30s’ Cabaret music as played by System of a Down at points. Who knew that trumpet can be a heavy heavy rock instrument, I do now.
But through all of this was the voice, the incredible voice, of Lyndsay. That voice is so amazingly capable of singing in all of the styles the band do. At full throttle she’s amazing.
There are times when it’s impossible to say how fantastic a band are, this is one of those, all I can do is to tell you to see this band, see them with an open mind. See them and be swept away.
And so to Fudge.. Fudge. boast that they’ve never had a bad review (bless ‘em) and I’m not about to break that record. I’ve reviewed them live so many times that It’s hard I admit to come up with something new, I’m going to try.
I had decided to hang out by the merch table – assuming as with previous gigs that the Fudge. crowd would hang out there before the band played. They did. And I wanted to be part of that. I felt the anticipation of the ‘Fudge. Family’, it’s a heady thing. And because I’ve seen the band a few times I feel part of that crowd. Granted I don’t go into the mosh area, that would be hard with a large camera but I know I can venture into the edges and be safe because I know it’s safe, people are careful and look out for each other.
So before I go on I have one fact to tell you – this is the first time I’ve seen the band play with their new bass player Tom. All I can say is that he seems to have slotted in, his playing is way great.
Look from the moment they took the stage it was fucking epic. I say ‘took the stage’ but Cam started out on the bar – natch. It seemed crazier from the start than that epic gig when I saw them for the first time, the night they launched ‘Not A Threat. Just A Warning’.
I’ve said before, more than once, that the band write great songs, and that hearing them live is even better. I’m not going to bore you with that. I am going to say, again, that you’d forgive a band that can generate this kind of madness being slightly ragged musically, Fudge. are not, they are tight, tighter than a tight thing. Cam’s vocals, even when he’s deep in the moshing crowd or being held aloft, are always spot on. Otto’s guitar kills it, and Angus’ drumming keeps it all together.
So you now know that musically you couldn’t fault the band that night, but I hear you ask ‘I wasn’t there Frank, what was it like?’.
I’m going to have answer that by first saying ‘Why in the hell not? Did you mean to go but just couldn’t? Have you yet to see the band live?’
What you missed was, more stage diving from Cam than I’ve seen before, a crowd going absolutely fucking batshit crazy, ‘guest vocalists’, all kinds of fucking collective madness. Songs that not only get you moving but have great tunes and words. A collective experience not just a great great gig.
If you haven’t experienced the band live, do that, do that as soon as you possibly can.
All photos on this page © Frank Roper Photography – see many more from the gig on his Facebook Page