Vivers: This was going to be a joint review, but Matt has covered everything nicely. Bastard. I’d like to join in the headliner bashing though: they were weirdly offensive and insubstantial, like a fart at a children’s birthday party. Here you go.
Interior Monologue: Tonight was a tale of two violin players, Well, it wasn’t entirely but it sounded like a good place to start. It’s well documented that I have a thing for female violinists so my heart leaped when Evening Chorus took the stage. She also played a banana. Joining her on stage were a double bass player, a man who sang and played acoustic guitar and a banjo player. My first though was Mumford & Sons and that proved to be not far off the mark. The comparison was helped by the shirts tucked in trouser fashion decision of two of the band, to his credit the banjo guy baulked the trend by being only a massive beard away from looking like a member of Neutral Milk Hotel. The band started with full on 4 part harmonies which reappeared throughout, I really liked their brand of folky pop but I sensed my partner in reviewing was less keen. Hopefully this was only because of his belief that bands shouldn’t exist on the internet, they should live in caves.
Next band up were Ute. The second song they played was a cover of Radiohead’s ‘The Bends’ that they’d recorded for a benefit album. It was rather good. It was also the song that sounded the least like it was off Radiohead’s ‘The Bends’. If you’re blessed with a voice like Thom Yorke then you’ll get compared to them and to be fair it’s a long time since Radiohead wrote 4 minute indie rock songs and Ute do it well. Yorke never had a photo of the Queen on his guitar either. Throughout their set the drummer set their sound apart from the Oxford lads (although Ute are Oxford lads too) by making his drumming sound like the noise the ball makes when you let it loose on the completed mousetrap in the well known MB board game. This was a good thing, clattery clockwork noise drummers should be encouraged. In fashion news, the bassist was wearing a Pulled Apart By Horses t-shirt with a picture of himself on it. This was brilliant. Less brilliant was the pissed guy that sidled up next to me during their set and at unnecessary volume, that the place was like “a fucking statue convention”. Better than a loudmouth gobshite cuntmuncher convention. Some would say.
Now the tale of the second violinist. Cats & Cats & Cats usually have one. If you believe frontman Ben then she’s either dead or in trouble with the police (the less glamorous but truer explanation was that she had to work.). It leant a different dynamic to the band though, almost all the set was made up of new songs. Gone is the jangly post rock of yore, present is the surreal, twisted indie rock that’s not unlike Okkervil River, especially the songs that included the trumpet player. Latest singles ‘A Boy Called Haunts’ and ‘The Boy With The Beak’ (“This song is about a boy that turns into a bird. This is not a metaphor.”) were played early on back to back and got a good reception from the pretty busy Buffalo room. The band ended with oldie ‘Happiness For Lola’ which got a little cheer, proving that a few of us of been fans for a while. It’s encouraging to see them picking up a new following though because I think this band are pretty special and deserve the attention. Look out for the new album sometime in April.
My Tiger My Timing take the stage and the crowd begin to drift off. This seems a bit odd because their eighties influenced upbeat synth pop is exactly what I expect the cool kids to like. Still, what do I know. They weren’t my thing at all, it seemed a bit forced, as if they were trying to play music their heart wasn’t in. The bassist was wearing a Cliff Richard t-shirt and had hair I can only describe as staggering. Synth bloke could easily have been in Depeche Mode. The female singer looked like a heroin casualty but I doubt she’d ever touched the stuff, the guitarist might’ve been on ketamine though, he looked like he’d've been happier snuggled into a comfy sofa than standing upright on stage. Apparently the band nearly didn’t make it down from London at all because of the snow. The M4 being a notorious snow trap. It wasn’t my thing, they’ll probably have a big indie dancefloor type hit single but I think it might be a bit samey for them to have a prolonged presence in the pages of the NME.