Jets To Brazil / Euphone
December 3 1999
I believe there was a third band tonight, but I'm afraid I missed them due to being asleep. Well I was tired!
So Euphone are the first "band". Which is stretching it in some ways, as it's a drummer and bassist only, with samples and other technology providing the backing. To be honest, it didn't work live for me. It felt like an elongated rhythm section solo, with the focus on the drums, playing along to a backing tape. On record it may work better where you allow it to drift along to whatever your doing, but here where your focus is aimed firmly in one direction, there's no visual engagement, and the music is fragmented. It's also difficult for me to make an accurate reference to it. I did think a few times of New Wet Kojak without the sax, but that could well be waaaay off the mark. Did little for me, but I saw a number of people clutching newly purchased copies of the album shortly afterwards, and they did receive a rousing reception, so maybe I just don't have the right mindset for it.
And to be honest, Jets To Brazil were slightly disappointing. From the opening of Lemon Yellow Black they were fine musically, but it just didn't have that extra spark that I was hoping for. There's hints of something special on the album, but it didn't translate live for me. They were good, but they were
workmanlike. There's also the problem that the set list, like the album running order, seemed unbalanced to me, meaning that we get the slow more introspective songs in one lump towards the end, and as good as the likes of I Typed For Miles and Sea Anemone in particular are, it just felt that things lost momentum. There's a couple of new tracks offered up tonight, which again sound good but without that little extra special something. By the time they make it to record they may well become so, we'll see. It's not helped by the fact that although the place is seemingly pretty close to a sell out, with people transfixed, there's no real atmosphere. At least I didn't sense it. And there's like 3 different conversations going on around me at different times. Tracks such as Morning New Disease, are good even without that spark, simply because they're good songs. But I dunno, it just felt that this one was good, but could've been soooo much better. And it's cut short once more due to the 11pm curfew. It's not the fault of the bands or the management, but people do know that this curfew exists, and so it shouldn't pose major problems, but that's the second time this week it's interrupted a gig.
King Prawn / Ex-Cathedra / Anemo
November 30 1999
Anemo were already doing their thing when I got there. Another youthful band playing to a youthful crowd. Initial impression is of the punk pop sort of style, although there are some moments which suggests there's maybe a few different ideas going on in their heads as well. But it's not really tight enough yet, or with any songs that stuck in the mind. Unlike some of us though, they've got time on their hands for all that to resolve itself.
Judging by appearances, which of course is something we never do, oh no, Ex-Cathedra were going to be some nasty punk band still reliving anarchistic tendancies from the 70s. Instead they're joined on stage by a saxophonist (I think, never was any good at identify instruments other than guitar and uh, what's that other one???), and proceed to delve into the ska punk thing. But where many bands do it and it feels fake, this seems more genuine and authentic. The vocals are pretty harsh, and there are moments when it almost feels like there are elements of The Specials in the ska style. But of course, I'm stupid and so probably well off the mark, I know and I don't need to be told. By half way through the set, they've pretty much got most of the place skanking and dancing along - of course that don't include me, but it's good to see. They thank KP for the tour and depart, and it was a really good feelgood kind of set. Totally blowing away any preconceptions which may have formed by judging their appearance. Not that we do that of course. Oh no.
It's been a long time since it was my pleasure to witness the live performance that is King Prawn, and it only takes a few minutes to realise how much that's been missed. Well by me at any rate. And I'm pleased to say, by a hell of a lot of people. One of the most pleasing aspects of the whole evening was how there was a really decent sized crowd here this evening, with more than half of them happy to dance away gleefully down the front. Poison in the Air opened the whole thing and the place responds from the off. The band respond in a way only they know how. It's an eclectic mix, ska and punk blasts, and Babar doing his thing in a way only he knows how. To try and remember and recreate some of the things he says would not do justice to the lunacy of the event. There's a fair mix of new stuff in here tonight, with some titles possibly being Day In Day Out and Own Worst Enemy (but please don't shoot me if I'm wrong. Me only human. Me make mistakes.) They still swap instruments, Babar proving to be a fine frontman, and Al a fine bassist. It's all cut short at the end of Racist Copper as time is up "just one more Andy?" pleads Babar to the landlord. No go. "He says he'll be shut down if we play any more, and you don't want to lose the best venue in Derby. We'll see you next century, and have a good christmas" says Al as the band leave the stage. And he's right. The Vic is a great venue, there's few enough of them around as it is, and it's not worth risking something like this. Even for more Prawn. They'll be back, and it's essential there are places for them to come back to. But it looks like the Prawn's star could be rising a bit. About time.
Iíve just heard the new Dai Lo demos. Theyíve been in a £2 million studio. Are they any good? Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww! Maybe Iíll be allowed to say more next time - please, can I can I? Good? The productionís ace, as you may expect, even unmixed, but the songs oh man the songs. Come on, demand an EP now. After me, "We want a Dai Lo EP.When do we want it? Now" Thereís something special brewing.. And it ainít special brew.