Public Service Broadcast Club 2 (19/04/08)


22 avr. 2008, 16h40m

Sat 19 Apr 2008 – Public Service Broadcast Club #2

I want to start this passage by saying how fucking good an idea it is to have afternoon gigs, and better still, free afternoon gigs at a good venue that has happy hour with great offers on nice beers and other drinks while the gig is on. Notting Hill Arts Club is a fairly good venue, your standard gig part on one side of a divide, and all the tables, chairs and comfy seats on the other. Having sounded a bit dismissive there, I should mention that it's all well and good, that the sound is good, the seats are comfortable and the bar's round, so that generally as long as there's staff working, you'll get served.

But I'm not here to review the price of the gig, the venue and all the perks, I'm here reviewing bands.

Jam on Bread were first on - or rather, was first on, because it's just one bloke and his ukelele. I'm going to start by saying good things because it was a most enjoyable set (although I did miss the opening one-and-a-half songs). The very sparse setup had the audience completely silent and watching, it was gently and beautifully melodic, the songs were simple but engaging and enjoyable, the lyrics were endearingly cutesy and absurdist, and hell, I was quite impressed at the ukelele playing - it wasn't overly complex but the ukelele's one of those instruments that looks quite hard to even start playing, having never gone beyond acoustic and electric guitar in the stringed instruments myself, I can't really comment. If I'd have one criticism of Jam On Bread, it's that, well, at times the whole thing sounds dangerously close to being an in-joke. A song about "giant isopods" is greated with a chuckle and a muted sarcastic cheer, but it seems just one of the strangest inspirations for a song, and throughout the whole song I was just thinking "Errr....what?", like I was missing something. That's a small quibble, because there's a tribute to Labrador Records (uber-indie Swedish record label), and a cover of one of its' artists songs, Strange Things Will Happen by the Radio Dept among the rest. And the whole thing's just the sort of gentle afternoon music you want when you're on your first beer. So, let's say...8/10.

Tessellators are the best band of the gig, no shadow of a doubt. Okay, so math-rock is "in" at the moment and certainly Tessellators like to listen to their Fugazi, their Battles, and they probably like stuff like Captain Beefheart too. (In fact, a quick check on their bio indicates exactly that, I feel quite smug now and I'm going to award myself points for influence-spotting). As a band, they feel very VERY well rehersed and about as tight as a bankrupt Yorkshireman, and that works perfectly for the music, as cascading guitar lines, bass lines and keyboard lines intersect and interlock with each other, fleetingly passing through chords here and there but generally they stay tuneful without ever being slightly predictable. The vocals are the standard math-rock yelp that has only really become the standard math-rock yelp since everyone started listening to Foals but it works quite well. And it's clear enough that lyrics appear through the jagged edges, something I generally can't spot at any gig ever, and better still, they seem worth it, songs about cartographers, mountaineers and a ten-minute long (probably) epic about rounding Cape Horn (no euphemism) are all rewarding. The whole thing is rewarding, this band manage to be technically brilliant without sacrificing effect, atmosphere, and songs that are enjoyable to listen to. No qualms about 9/10.

I can't really say the same about, though they were better on first impression live than I'd gotten from about two minutes spent on their myspace page (no surprise there then). They're a bit "mathy" too, and though I hate that word I guess I'm only going to hear it more and probably use it more too, it seems to be the new thing (though I'm aware most bands aren't bandwagon jumping here, things like this just tend to come around by chance). Load.Click.Shoot don't have the complexity of Tessellators - where Tessellators had two or three things generally zig-zagging between them, Load.Click.Shoot are happier with one or two, and in a sense they're not so mathy and they're a bit more straightforward. They like the yelp too, but the whole thing just doesn't seem so sophisticated as Tessellators. It's a lot louder and a lot angrier, and yeah, this is probably the intention, and yeah, it's probably just my personal preference for quieter, more penetrable music like Tessellators, but I'm writing this so there. I mean, Load.Click.Shoot aren't a bad band, not by a long way, and they strike me as the sort who get more enjoyable the more you get into them. Unfortunately, I'm not, but I'm not going to be too mean, they get 6/10.

4 or 5 Magicians, then. The headliners of the afternoon, though having never heard of any of these bands outside of hearing acquaintances of mine talking about them, that's a moot point. To say they like 90s lo-fi rock is probably an understatement, had I have been slightly ill I'd have probably seen their lead singer morph into Stephen Malkmus, or Robert Pollard. I'll come clean now, I don't have much time for the likes of Guided by Voices, Sebadoh, and definitely not Pavement, so I'm biased against 4 or 5 Magicians from the start. But I'll be polite, because they're a fairly decent band, albeit a band in a style I dislike. The songs are good, the vocals fit the music, they're tight and they're not really at any point boring. Sometimes they get a bit repetitive, but then, who doesn't, and maybe a few of the songs blend together but then, that's the same for pretty much 99% of bands. You can tell here, I'm trying to nitpick because I've not got any criticism that can really be objectified beyond the standard "I don't like them because they suck", and I'm aware that writing that is a bit of a shit review. I was told by my companion at the gig that "other bands do it better", and I'm sure they do, but I'm not really interested in Guided By Voices nostalgia, so I'll leave that up to him, and grudginly offer 4 Or 5 Magicians 6/10, or if you like lo-fi 90s indie-rock, 8/10.

Overall: 8/10.


  • alcxxk

    see here and :)

    23 avr. 2008, 11h43m
  • guntrip

    good one brumsy.

    12 nov. 2009, 7h50m
  • ScythianNick

    why are you reading my old shitty "reviews"

    12 nov. 2009, 7h57m
  • guntrip

    (a) this was one of my shows (b) I ran into the guys from Tesselators briefly last night and decided to investigate to see what they were up to and ended up here (c) fast reply!

    12 nov. 2009, 10h11m
  • guntrip

    (d) my first comment sounded kinda rude which i did not intend, this was a fun trip down memory lane.

    12 nov. 2009, 10h12m
  • ScythianNick

    oh gnuty

    12 nov. 2009, 12h49m
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