Praesidium

Friday, April 25, 2008

Half Rabbits gig

The Half Rabbits (6/10) + Sennen (7/10) + Sunnyvale Noise Sub-Element (7/10) + Cogwheel Dogs (6/10)

Proof the people who matter read blogs - my post on my last gig received a comment from one of the bands! Anyway, since I wasn't doing anything else, my friend Nick was also free on the Friday night, and the bill featured four bands for just £5 in support of OxJam, we decided to check it out.

First up, the Cogwheel Dogs were a rather unusual line up - female singer/guitarist and a guy with a new-fangled cello. It's quirky, with song-writing as unusual as the line-up, but soon grows on me. I have to say the single, 'Cress', was probably one of my least favourite songs, despite the unusual offer of the single plus a piece of encapsulated cress for £3 (Nick and I were struck by the word encapsulated - apparently, according to her bio, Rebecca "is driven by the omnipresent, nagging desire to encapsulate things"). Other songs, like 'Ducking Stool', were rather good though. Not much stage presence, but certainly a band I wouldn't mind seeing/hearing again.

Sunnyvale were second on the bill, and delivered pretty much as expected - at least Stuart's bass didn't give up after two songs this time! I have to say sound levels were rather high and it did seem to put a lot of people off: at the start of the set Nick and I (sat at a table on the side) couldn't see much, but by the end we had a clear view as people retreated towards the bar. Chief talking point: is it really true that to say 'How Spiderman Was Tricked By His Wife' is a song about Spiderman?

Incidentally, I found out that the reason I'd only been seeing them as a two piece lately is because Giles is taking time out to work on film projects. Also that they're launching a new remix/out-take CD-R with another gig @ Wheatsheaf on 30th May. I also got to give Stuart a couple of quid for Audioscope (BBC story) / Shelter, after recently being sent one of their old CDs.

While their experimental post-rock noise may not exactly be radio-friendly, third band Sennen (MySpace) look considerably more mainstream. In fact, as they're setting up (putting fairy lights round the drum set!) Nick and I speculate on what they might sound like - based on the fact that one guitarist looks very like Matt Bellamy (Muse) and the other someone out of The Feeling. Predictably, it's show-gazing indie and not - as I'd guessed - death metal. One of the early songs reminds me very much of The Cure's 'Friday I'm In Love' while latter on I was thinking their rockier numbers were more like BRMC as they seemed set to go out on a high - only to reveal after a gratuitous solo that they had one more song. Rather generic and derivative, but I honestly think they could be indie one-hit wonders. Also, while perhaps not the greatest band ever, I think assessed purely on live performance probably the best band of the night.

Finally, The Half-Rabbits - who I hadn't seen before, but I'd heard good things about them from Nick, who'd seen them twice before, and via Nightshift etc. I have to say I wasn't particularly impressed. They sounded rather like Interpol and - while not bad - I didn't think they were anything special in either music or performance.

Sometimes three or four bands all putting in good sets can make a really great gig. I think to be honest tonight just fell short of that. All the bands were solid, and I wouldn't be averse to seeing any on another bill, but none quite captivated me and I wouldn't be particularly inclined to go out of my way to see any again. Still, it wasn't a bad way to spend an evening and it was in support of both charity and local music.

Photos available over here.

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