Tag team review dreamboats Vivers and Keef. Brilliant photographs kindly donated by Simon Ayre. He is a tall genius.
Vivers: There must be something wrong with me. Walking up Buffalo’s narrow stairs and hearing the sick thud of a drum machine that something’s died in, aided by gusts of bent cornet, leads to the happy thought “Great, Gindrinker are on”. Cardiff’s battered warriors draw the biggest crowd tonight, thick with wankers who never want bank holidays to end, and they witness a hundredth gig that’s part single launch, part permanent reaffirmation of quality and part ale-soaked exercise video. New songs dribble out, but nothing really changes: bracing anti-music of snarling tinpot guitar and rusted declarations from the Common Sense Party Of Hatred; more fun than poking bees’ nests, healthier than two Guinnesses. As always though: more cornet please.
Keef: A confession: I’d not seen Joy Of Sex since Matt’s departure and their subsequent five-knuckle reshuffle (get it? Never mind). It appears there’s been a bit of a revolving door drummer policy since then, with this being ex-Threatmantic Huw’s second gig with the band. You’d never guess. They look complete with his addition, to the point where the drum machine seems almost obsolete. The much busier drumming noticeably changes their sound too, now heavier, less minimal, but with the low-end thump leaving plenty of space for some very nice spidery, cheese-wire guitar lines from Rosie. She’s the secret weapon here, instantly comfortable in her new role and genuinely startling at the set’s close when taking centre stage for a Lene Lovich-esque vocal turn amidst doomy synths and ‘Metal Box’ bass. Sign the drummer up full-time, rethink the horrid oar-shaped headless bass (please) and greatness awaits.
Vivers: Extradition Order take a couple of songs to get the genitals going; possibly the dull skinny tie look and false rumour of London origins. Sorry. But a few songs in the realisation dawns that this band are going for the ‘garage autopsy’ approach, a tricky move that involves sounding like Thee Vicars or similar Nuggets-mainliners only slowed down to a treacly pace, 45s played at 33 and stabbed randomly. The generic instruments are strung out and disjointed and at times one band member’s playing seems to have no connection to the next. This is A Good Thing, especially when screaming is added on top. What’s going on? At the frazzled heart of Extradition Order there’s a lot of good stuff, buried like a body.
Keef: Two of Extradition Order, though thankfully not the drummer, return swiftly as part of the David Cronenberg’s Wife live experience. Tom Mayne does Antifolk the way it should be done; affable and engaging in person, turned out in natty suit, bootlace tie and specs and resembling a less seedy Neil Hamburger, Mayne eschews snottiness or confrontation ensuring his lyrical barbs are all the more effective.
They’re allied to above-average tunes, too, whether drawn-out and dirgey Velvets/garage monologues allowing Mayne’s curdled wit to poke through or snappy, Fall-indebted rockabilly belters like the magnificent ‘I Couldn’t Get Off’. Then, when you think you’ve got him pegged, he slips in a sweetly sincere acoustic cover of a tune by under-the-radar US Antifolker Phoebe Kreutz. They wrap up in little more than half an hour, a perfectly judged close to a night of bands whose surface similarities reflect more on shared label I Blame The Parents’s quality control than any musical predictability.