The Babies Three / Rydell / Grand Central
March 30 1999
It was a decision to make. I could pop to Bradford and see the Nocte again on the Entombed tour, I could go to Leeds and see the Backyard Babies in the Cockpit (not much chance of that one on Saturday's performance) or I could come to this. So this won it. I love the Nocte, but we'll see each other again soon, I know. It was time for something new.
And arriving upstairs in The Packhorse you start thinking it's like hosting a gig in your own room (ok, big room) in front of 30 friends (ok, if some of you have 30 friends. Show offs). So, it was a poor turnout really, but I'm sure that's cos Leeds was loosing its collective rocks with the Swedish Babies instead.
And then a band ambled up to the stage, plugged in and let go. And it was awesome. I'm not usually transfixed by a guitarist, but here I was. I had to steal myself a few times from watching the guy just turnout out these beautifully melodic riffs with such ease. It was simple yet so engaging. The bass was coming through on everything, nice bass, cool bass, tuneful bass, not just ploding along. Great stuff. What does it all sound like? Well, it's kind of melodic hardcore without any of the hard pretension. I'm kinda limited in my knowledge of this music, which may be a reason it sounded so wonderful, but the name nagging at me was Sensefield. It's that kind of area. Melodic, emotional. Great great sounding songs. An absolute revelation. And in those 40 minutes or so, the decision to do a 140 mile round trip was justified, irrespective of the rest of the bands. God it really was great. The name of the band? Oh yeah, you'll need that bit won't you. They're called Grand Central, and they travelled 5 hours from Croydon just to do that. They got a majorly good review for their demo in Fracture, and on this performance, it's easy to see why. I bought a copy of the 3 track CD at the end, had a word with the bassist, and you're going to hear more about these very soon. If not from me (which you will I hope), from a shitload of other people. Going places I hope. And not just back to Croydon to work tomorrow.
Rydell were next, a familiar name though we'd not previously made eye contact. They were in a similar vein to Grand Central, it was the theme of the night, and were pretty good. But I'd been bowled over earlier. Still, I did manage to earn a cry of "they're leaving in droves" as I did a visit to the men's room. And no bloody cry of delight at my return. Bastards. Still, picked up a copy of a split CD they're done for this tour with Babies Three and Sunfactor, and I'll be giving it a whirl soon, so you can read more about them in a future Yaz.
But they were the filling in the sandwich. Yeesssss, I've gotten that cliche into a review. Time to feel smug.
And so we arrive at the reason I'd made the journey. Babies Three. A CD of theirs had arrived a couple of weeks back, and bloody good it is. I wanted to see them, and this was the closest they were coming to my neck of the woods. So I made the journey. Was it worth it? Course, cos I'd seen Grand Central. But oh yeah, very worth it. Coming across a bit harder in the live situation, though not heavy, they were the most animated of the bands, and were utterly excellent.
The material is punky kind hardcore ish but very melodic. Frontman Paul is an engaging vocalist, and talks with and to the crowd, relating the current tour tales of having to visit the emergency ward on the first night of the tour after cracking his head, playing to one person in Bristol, having their records nicked, and the top coming off their van. They play a few new songs, probably the ones from the split CD, I'll tell you when I've listened to it, as well as a few from the album. It caps what has been a great evening. Maybe, like I said, it's because it's kinda different music for me, but this was a revelation.
Infinitely better than the Swedish Babies were on Saturday, and not only because I managed to stay upright for the entire duration of the gig. How good were they? Well, if there's room, they're going to be a last minute addition to the Yaz CD. Just cos this sort of music isn't represented enough on there. And it needs to be because it's excellent.
Oh, and I'm listening to that Grand Central CD now. So I can tell you that at least two of the tracks they played were Never Say Goodbye and Solid State Memory. And they really are ace. Wish there was space to put them on the CD as well. Shit, looks like that means I have to start planing for Volume 2 now then.
There's just so much good stuff out there. Go and take a look. It's often closer than you think. And tonight it was like it was right there in your living room. Classy stuff.
Grand Central - What Has Transpired demo
This is soooo good. The gig left a majorly favourable impression, and luckily it wasn't misplaced. Too damn good to be called a demo. It's not just that it has a great production which has everything coming through clearly in the mix, including those lush guitar and bass riffs, but that the songs are so bloody catchy, distinct, melodic and argh, bloody great.
Really, I mean if you're into the whole melodic hardcore, or emo stuff, then you'll love it. If you like and understand Sensefield or Liberty 37, then you'll love it. If you're getting just a teensy weensy bit tired of the nu-metal angst and tazmanian devil vocal impersonations, then get this. You may like it. Sod it, just get it ok.
So anyway, three tracks on offer. Never Say Goodbye is bass led and features vocals that soar quite a bit more than in the live situation because here they're allowed to. And no, it doesn’t sound like Bon Jovi. I doubt, Wouldn’t know (Phew, credibility nearly took a knock there.) Solid State Memory is next, and is my personal favourite here. Great great opening riff. Simple but it doesn't need to be anything else, it reminds me of something, I'll come back to it. It's got a nice upbeat tempo, makes you feel good. In fact the whole CD does, a breath of fresh air, nice as we make the approach towards the alleged UK spring and summer. The vocals of Stuart really do sound good on this. What a great song.
Final track on offer is Set In Stone which starts of slower and more thoughtful, but still has a positive energy, and it's just hit a really great vocal melody and all that malarky. It's all positive, "you make a difference in my life today"
Grand Central are a band you really must see and hear. Complaints? Yeah. There's only 3 bloody songs, and live I know they have a bunch more. Ok, I'm going to have to take this off now to listen to some other stuff to review. I will, I will. Maybe. Nah, that would be unfair on whatever's next wouldn't it? Yeah, cos they'd be compared to this. Ok, just one more spin.
Contact: Grand Central, 22 Cumberland Road, Woodside, London, SE25 3RE.