So, last night and exactly a week before that, I managed to see my ‘new favourite band’ live. These gigs have been in small, intimate venues, in front of crowds of between twenty to forty people, and there is a good deal of truth in the words of Josh from Fleet Foxes when he said on Radio One last night (as I was driving home) that really the best way to see a band is when the space and the crowd are small enough that the band feel they can form a connection with every single member of the audience.
The Airborne Toxic Event (their name comes from a book that I love and that I read at University, called “White Noise” by American writer Don DeLillo), are going to be big. I referenced Fleet Foxes above (another band I would merrily commend to your listening pleasure oh dear reader), and they are all the evidence that I need that I am right about TATE (apart from the cool coincidence that happens when their band name is made into an acronym). Fleet Foxes were unknown when they first came to the UK to play some shows in 2007. Rather like TATE they played a large number of small, intimate gigs around the UK and just let their music ear-worm its way into the alternative scene’s consciousness (I use the term alternative scene here for the big tent that many scenes share that are simply outside the mainstream; sue me). Just like TATE, they were getting a small amount of airplay on the ‘right’ shows on Radio 1 (Colin Murray, Huw Stephens, and eventually Zane Lowe), as well as all of us in the International KEXP community boring the ass off anyone who would listen, and now they are back in the UK, playing venues like The Shepherd’s Bush Empire, and packing its 2,000 capacity… It is also worth mentioning that TATE have a road-tested management / marketing / label team behind them, so with a few music fans starting to talk about them, the right ‘alt’ opinion formers covering them, and a bit of luck they are going to be huge – you heard it here first… 😉
I often ‘go on’ about music on my blog(s), and I know that a lot of what I __really like__ is not everyone’s cup of tea, but if you like interesting guitar music (i.e. with __something__ fresh about it), and you like Franz Ferdinand and / or The Killers, or Hot Hot Heat, or The Kaiser Chiefs then check The Airborne Toxic Event out. I have nothing to gain from you doing so, except that the more people who like their music here in the UK, the greater the chance that they’ll come back sooner, oh and I do like people to find out about good music too.
They were great, they tore the place up on night 24 of their 30 consecutive UK dates, even though they barely knew where they were anymore, even though only fifty people came out to see them… The little, cute, blonde stood next to me, called Steph was a good benchmark of crowd response; when they played ‘Sometime around Midnight’ she was visibly vibrating with joy, as was I truth be told.
Enough… You’ll either check them out or you won’t, you’ll either like them or you won’t – I did my part.
I would also like to take this time to mention the support acts that I have caught by attending these two gigs, as they have all been rather good…
On the 17th I arrived at the Jericho Tavern, having been told by seetickets.com that there was “No Support”, to discover that there would be two bands playing before the main event. I caught the latter half of the first band – The Socials. I have to say that I was impressed, and let’s be honest that is not always the case with regard to opening acts. They clearly have talent, they were good at the whole ‘being on-stage’ thing, and their material was good ole, foot-tappin’ UK guitar, jangle-pop, mixed with a sense of identity. If they keep playing and recording then you may well hear more from them before too long…
Next up were The Long Insiders, and man did they surprise and delight me. They had a bunch of friends show up to support them, and I got talking to a couple of them (Steve and Kirsty(?)), and I quickly realised that the act was going to be something a bit different, but wow! Imagine a fifties rockabilly meets surf-music band, fronted by a burlesque styled, dark-haired beauty with a voice like a fallen angel and you are getting close. Their music would not be out of place in a noir movie, or gracing the soundtrack of a Lynch movie either, but more than that it was just such a breath of fresh air and excitement, that I found myself singing along and whistling after every tune. If you get a chance to see these guys, take it – they’ve got game.
Last night I caught the last four numbers by The Volt, and I have to say that again I was pleasantly surprised to discover that support acts are sometimes well worth seeing… Click on the link above and listen to ‘Rock my Soul’ on their MySpace page – these guys can play. They’ve got quite a few gigs coming up in December, January and February; if anyone fancies catchin’ one I would be up for it…
Tonight I’m shooting a local model for fun, her portfolio and as a ‘getting to know you’ exercise to see if we like working together, and then I’m charging the camera’s batteries, cleaning down memory cards and printing maps, as tomorrow I am off to see two people for whom I have all kinds of love (but clearly only the appropriate kinds) get married, and into the bargain take some pictures of the events of the day. Apparently I get to stop for a while in February 😉