This wasn’t a good night for The Last Chance Dance Band but they did show potential. A real geekish charm surrounded the three-piece melodic indie band, especially in the frontman who had the kind of awkward stage presence and unnatural talk that you are willing on to success. They appeared to have been studying at the school of Weezer, however, their set was besieged by technical issues, but when they got it right, as they on their last track, it was excellent.
Taman Shud look like lovely and fairly normal people and we’re sure that offstage they are; onstage they’ve found a way to open the door to Beelzebub’s kingdom. Three guys and one lady, who you probably wouldn’t be surprised to see across the water cooler in the office, appear to have consumed the entire history of cool, heavy music and are chucking it at you. ALL. AT. ONCE. There are doomy riffs like Electric Wizard or Goatsnake, enveloping keys à la first album Suicide, and at times the blown out aesthetic of a Darkthrone. They can be unbelievably intense, yet ‘Viper Smoke’ – the title track of their recently released album – is a toe tapper. Come back soon.
Jungfrau responded by sounding the opposite. Playing from their soon to be released debut album album Nacht, their music benefits from a real sense of space. All the instruments are given room in the sound, which allows the intricate, light touch drumming and skeletal guitar work to mesmerise. The ballast for these dark, foreboding tracks is the immense bass, which provides a solid foundation for Hannah’s bracing vocal talent. Catch them at their album release show on 19 February at The Shakespeare’s Head.
Fresh from winning both our contributors’ live band of the year and our readers’ release of the year, it feels like Slum of Legs are on the verge of something special. They are seemingly in tune with the feminsist/queer scene, but to tar them with the musical naivety that riot-grrrl could imply would be totally wrong. There was really strong playing in the six-piece; Maria’s violin a real virtuoso presence, Emily’s keyboard sounds were weird, varied and delightful, and Kate’s unobtrusive, ultra confident guitar work was a constant even when things get cluttered elsewhere. In Tamsin they possess a front of seemingly limitless energy and possessed of a loud, knowing cynicism.
They write some bloody great songs as well. ‘I Dream of Valves Exploding’ rides a catchy, simple synth and guitar riff, slowly building intensity until it explodes. ‘Doll Like’ is the closest they come to punk, a three minute burst of energy. Even among a set of well developed numbers a recent b-side ‘Razorblade The Tape’ stands tallest. It sounds the most together of their songs – there’s a lovely interplay between the synths and violin, and its rhythmic simplicity is echoed by a repeated refrain of “I won’t let you get away” (the song appears to be sung from the viewpoint of a stalker). It’s completely memorable and the crowd are joining in long before the end.
It wasn’t perfect, a slow start seemed to be down to issues with the onstage monitoring, rendering the early tracks a little uncertain, all not helped by having so much going on at once on occasion. After they get going though, it was a fantastic mix of punk spirit, ambition, feminist politics, catchy songwriting and strong images. Perfect for this wonderful city of ours.
Words: James McLarnon
Photos: Sandie Levent