Sunday, 28 December 2008

18.12.08 - Moles club, Bath

PURR Presents:

Purr toyed with us all on this crisp December eve, giving us three bands from vastly different chapters of the indie handbook. El Wristo opened the evening, offering us poor souls their paint-drying rock sound. Distortion don’t maketh the band, dear reader, but being able to write a tune does and whilst they embraced the former with all the zeal of a dog who has just stolen a string of sausages from a butchers, they spectacularly fell short of the latter. They seemed so middle-of-the-road as to be a one-way street.

Once everyone had woken up ex-Pipette (it’s gonna be on your gravestone, dear) Rose Elinor Dougall offered us her luscious, tender musings, with danger always lurking beneath the cracked smile of her tunes. Embracing a Year-Zero mentality, gone is the saccharine veneer of her former outfit, replaced with introspection and the jaded maturity of jilted lover. Still quite dull, mind.

And what about Kaputt I hear you scream. Well, sucking from the teat of all the correct indie Mothers they had this reviewer making shapes on the dancefloor like a smitten buffoon, all wriggly squiggly like. Their jarring guitars and rampant stomp sounded like it never gave a shit, drenched in abandonment and wearing a juvenile sneer. Life is worth living after all.


Moles - Bath Battle of the Bands 2008 Grand Final

Warning: Those of you in the Bath area look away now. Your city has the creativity of a brussel sprout.

Peppermint Hunting Lodge started with a song about a sandwich or something before frolicking around with a set which was very much an emo/hardcore affair. It’s all very shouty and vain and during the third song their lead singer was trying to eye up a girl just in front of me whilst getting all emotive with oohs and aahs. But, to indulge in some Sting-like psychobabble, there was a definite ‘Energy’ about them.

Exiles were an indie-by-numbers affair, combining futile guitars with moribund beats wrapped up in such an unconvincing manner that their name spoke volumes. But why Bath?!

Psalms were next, bringing their industrial stomp to the table, licked into shape with funky chemical synths. I wouldn’t usually go near this type of thing with a ten-inch dildo but compared to the previous acts they seemed utterly comfortable in their own skin, not taking themselves all that seriously which was a welcome change from the previous double-dose of pretension. They could be huge. In Germany.

1987 lit up their synth-laden set with rather a sweet, geeky charm. The Killers are obviously in there but the old ‘87 boys seemed to look like they were having fun, unlike Monsieur Flowers et al.

The Dusty Stars arrived soon after with a contrived eccentricity and an Englishness which was, frankly, embarrassing. Their brand of Fratellian jauntiness stuck in the craw although they certainly looked the part (and that’s all that matters, innit?)

To finish was El Wristo. I assume this means ‘Leave Now’ in Mexican or something. I was amazed. It actually sounded like paint drying. It’s so Middle-of-the-Road it’s a one-way street. As I dozed in and out of their set I found myself wondering how on Earth they had progressed so far.

The Winners? Why, The Dusty Stars of course. ‘Grand’ final? Try Bland instead.

Wednesday 4th December

PURR presents:
Piney Gir
Betty and the Werewolves
Colliding Lemons
Ill Ease.

To kick off what turned out to be a gloriously inconsistent night in Moles was Brooklyn’s very own Ill Ease. A combative little tomboy, her drum-looped, bass-heavy sleaze had all manner of body parts a-shaking, constantly winking suggestively towards Elastica, Peaches and the Gossip through the grinding guitar and tick-tock bass. She looked like she was having the time of her life, like a child who’s just been given their first handgun. Such a charming lady it felt like watching a mate from school triumph, without those all too familiar feelings of resentment. Stopping mid-song to comment on a walking sore thumb’s gaudy Warner Bros. jacket, it felt, if only for a nano-second, that I was in a skaggy Brooklyn club (in the best way possible).

With the final throbs of bass still running up and down my inside-leg, Colliding Lemons were on. All attractive ladies, I initially assumed they were having a Girls Night Out, enjoying multi-coloured shots whilst keeping a trained eye out for trilbied indie fops. How stupid did I feel when they started playing?! With enough giggly charm to warm the most celibate of hearts it was as if five female cast members from High-School Musical drank two bottles of cherry Lambrini and decided to form a band. Their set was drenched in gleaming 80s Powerpop, a heady blend of Roxette, the Bangles and Kim Wilde, and an overall appreciation of finely-honed tunes. In a bizarre, polished, nauseating way they could go on to make billions of dollars to fritter away on gold hairbrushes, diamond-encrusted jacuzzis and pink Lamborghinis.

As the full moon rose, out came Betty and the Werewolves. They were so pretty I almost wept. With beautifully conditioned hair they slammed headlong into their infectious set. Slow songs? No chance! Maudlin numbers? Forget about it! Their raucous, garage-rock sound always threatened to fall apart at any moment yet they always pulled clear of The Edge delivering two-and-a-half minute slices of cool, tense abandonment which burns the fingers and fries the brain . "I'm a school teacher," Betty later told me, "...but none of my students know I'm in a band."

After another damn mesmerizing routine from Purr’s Panthergirls, ending the night was Piney Gir. I don’t know what it means either. As the band started playing, Miss Gir (?) emerged from backstage with a female companion grinning like a Cheshire cat. Their set attempted to bring skiffle and country into the 21st century, with mixed results. They were a supremely accomplished band yet their breezy songs started to cloy after the first couple of numbers. With sound affects courtesy of a child’s toy box (you’re a bit Quirky, we get it) their songs about sticks and stones and paper and glue made me feel like I was watching a living, breathing iPod advert. At one point I was pretty sure the backing singer was playing a bottle of Merlot as percussion. After such a previously galvanizing set from Betty et al maybe they should drink more of that Merlot and just get down with it. Don’t be shy.