The first of 3 UK Vs US this week (tomorrow is DaiLo Vs Dog Fashion Disco, and Saturday of course is Cortizone Vs Tool), and it appears seriously sold out. When I arrive at 8, there's a fair queue for people buying tickets on the door. Having a ticket allows you to walk straight in to see the place is pretty much full already, and there's all those people to cram in. It has brought out "the ladies" (said in typical Jonathon Ross stylee), and it's hot here.
But it does mean that something has finally been done correctly. There's only 1 support, they don't start until about 8.10, and so it means that Hundred Reasons have the luxury of playing to about a 3/4 full venue minimum, instead of the three rows of people that has so often occurred for UK bands on support slots here in the past. It's still easy to walk up to just a few rows from the front, but the people are here, and like it or not, they're going to have to listen.
I've not really listened to Hundred Reasons a great deal, the bits I have heard, they're good, but they've not slapped me round the face going "LISTEN TO ME YOU KCUFWIT", but tonight manages to change that. There's enough charisma emerging from the stage, the sound is very melodic emoesque in style, with a number of ye olde hardcore guitar moves. But it's the songs that take centre stage. Even though it's my first hearing of many of them and they don't stick in the mind in terms of being able to walk away remembering and humming them, you can tell they're class. There's been a few apparent reservations that the alleged lure of a big label opportunity is tempered by being told to "compromise their sound" (you know what that means). Well, that of course is bullshit. The bottom line, period, is if you have good songs, then compromise is not an issue. And the songs are good. Friendly yes. The single, to be released in August (Rhemus?) shines, although despite pleas from the band to dance, most people seem content to just listen and (hopefully) absorb. The biggest cheer of their set is reserved for when they ask if people want a free single. Oooh, suddenly there's an interest. If I wasn't such a nice guy I'd say is was typical of the lazy arsed scum sucking British public that they're only interested in free. But luckily I'm nice so I won't say that :-) But you can go to their website to find out the details. ISGOLD is what you'll need. The final song is introduced as "a slow one, so if there's the person of your dreams in here tonight, take hold of them". Unsurprisingly enough I remain definitely unheld, but it's an absolutely corking song, and a total high to finish on.
Aye, seriously sold out. And luckily enough, the crowd is the species known as cantusmakusupusmyusminduswhereusiwanttobeus. A breed that too often runs rampant. They wait until the set starts before deciding that they have to be, just have to be stage centre, down the front, where there's currently little room. Of course, they decide this from their place at the bar. And so in order to achieve that goal, they have to push past you. On both sides. Constantly. And then within minutes of doing so, they decide "noooooo, it's too hot, I'll go back". But then they hear a song they like, so they decide "noooooo, must go back". Annoying in that no matter where I seem to stand, it happens.
Privelige opens things up, and the place goes pretty much nuts. The floor bounces like it's not bounced in a long time, and people are singing every word. It's been quite a while since I've been to a gig where people really can and are singing. It makes a nice change, and there's not many bands around these days that have a frontman that can get away with saying the likes of "you sound beautiful". New Skin takes things further, before a slew of tracks from Make Yourself. I forget what was played overall, but there's the title track, Drive, Consequence and my personal favourite, Warmth. In between Brandon takes time to announce that "we've been recording a record, a new one, for the last 6 months, can we play you a new song". He receives a resounding yes. "Sing along if you know the lyrics" he teases. The second new song I think was called 11am, and both seem to show a continuation of a more mature sound, with the emphasis once more on the quality of the song over the reliance on distortion or strange tunings. We also get the likes of Certain Shade of Green, the wackiness of Nebula and Brandon controls everything, stripping off, first jumper, then t-shirt. For some reason this appears to excite a number of people.
"Hey, does that say Salad Bar over there? They've got a salad bar, this place is fun". It's not Salad, it's Food, and he's probably not eaten there. Unlike the last time they played here, the focus is purely on the songs, last time they jammed a little too much for my liking. Tonight it's striped down and working. They're employing a few of the little lighting tricks that can help generate an atmosphere, and it's easy to see that they may not be playing the likes of Rock City again, such seems to be the upturn in their fortunes. They encore with a spaced out Calgone, Brandon singing a verse of Maiden's Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner to a largely unknowing it seems crowd. But that opening is pure Maiden, and you know that half the bands today love 'em, even if they don't say it. It continues through, and then evolves into Madonna's Like A Virgin (which is strangely much more recognised by the crowd). I'm not sure if it's my ears, but I could have sworn he changed the line to "fucked for the very first time." Though it may well have been "sucked for the very first time", before it returns to Calgone and the band retreat to the safety of the dressing room after what has to be said was a total triumph for them. It's kind of interesting to see how they've grown from playing the smaller downstairs venue to absolutely packing this place out tonight. Who knows where to next? Nottingham now has a 10,000 arena - any bets against it?