Tuesday, March 18, 2003

SARAH NIXEY. PVC TROUSERS. NICE: Justin Fun tripped off down to the Mean Fiddler to see Black Box Recorder. He reported back. It makes us jealous, but we're trying to be brave:

It was the first time I'd been to the Mean Fiddler venue, and despite my natural prejudice against all things mean fiddlery it's a nice place - fairly plush (£3.10 for a warm can of Grolsch though). The surprise (to me, anyway) and welcome support act was Clang - Donna Elastica's new band. Once I'd stopped wondering "is that really her? but she looks so young..." and started listening to the music I really enjoyed it. The sound is somewhere between PJ Harvey and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, which admittedly may just be another way of saying that they sound like Elastica - Pink Flag still clearly spends a lot of time on Donna's turntable. Fun stuff nonetheless - spiky guitar and an debate-inducingly androgynous (girl, we think) bass player. Isn't it nice when you go to a gig and the support band alone justifies the trainfare?

Black Box Recorder took to the stage to Sham 69's 'Hersham Boys' (you know that bit in the Simpsons where a slacker student is asked 'are you being ironic, man?' and replies 'I don't even know anymore'? - I think much of Luke Haines' life must be like that).Haines & Moore were in white suits & ties, while Sarah Nixey wore red pvc trousers and a T-Shirt which superimposed Winston Churchill over a Union Jack with the subtitle: 'Life is unfair' - BBR to the point of self parody, which is probably the point. The set covered the whole of their career - surprisingly heavy on songs from 'England Made Me' given their recent disco leanings, although there was plenty of room for more danceable numbers ('School Song, 'Being Number One' and 'Andrew Ridgely' livened things up nicely). Luke Haines doesn't say much, except to call for a minutes silence for Adam Faith (unobserved), and to steal the show by keeping all the best lines for his backing vocals (his "OK, Hello" in 'The New Diana' is the funniest thing all night). The evening ends with a downbeat 'Girl Singing In the Wreckage', an odd choice for an encore, but it winds things down nicely enough. After all, where other bands strive for honesty and passion, BBR make a virtue of irony and detachment - they wouldn't want to send us home over-excited, would they?

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