Monday, February 10, 2003

The No Rock Review

We've been sat on the latest batch or Morag-from-Twang reviews so long we're surprised they've not hatched or migrated to Nervous In Suburbia. But here we are, then... first up, Delgados and friends in Manchester:

I can't believe I thought about not coming here tonight; somehow I forgot how wonderful the Delgado's are. But here they are to remind me, complete with flutes, violins and a huge bag of fan-bloody-tastic tunes. They played a lot of stuff off hate and the great eastern and a smattering of other favourites, mixed up with some entertaining between songs banter. The show last night in leeds was
bollocks apparently (I find that hard to believe) and its not wanky for them to wear there own t-shirts cos they don't have the band name on them. It was so good I forgot my foot hurt. The bus stop lady said the encore was an elo song; I was too busy disbelieving this was it; they played for a little over and hour which isn't a lot considering how big their bag of magic is. This is a night of wonderous things; crashing guitars and beautiful sounds and haunting
voices and clever, true and haunting words. The acoustics were perfect and I leave re-enlightened. All you need is hate indeed.

the spinning fields and the mountain goats, manchester, saturday. I sat next to someone from the fall you know

It's not often I see band so bad I have to leave the room: the Spinning Fields may well take pride in achieving this. The room was so small and empty I felt embarrassed and uncomfortable; I didn't want to be a hypocrite and clap. Later we came to the conclusion its good to dislike things; it gives you something to fight against and means when I like something and say nice things (as I do most reviews) well then I mean it. So what was wrong? Hmmmm. It's wrong to judge on appearances I know. But when the singer appears to be a geography teacher who thinks he is a cheeky chappy super wacky macca thumbs aloft type chancer, and the bass/ keyboard guy has the kind of bum fluff moustache usually associated with 15 years olds tan
middle, then...?The first song was dull nonsense about cemetery road in denton (Tameside not texas) and then the second was called meet me at the harvester. And it wasn't a joke?um. When I came back they were talking about `the woking wonders' and launched into a tragic
take on that's entertainment. Never has a song been so misplaced.

I had filed the mountain goats away with the palace brothers and how I quit smoking era lambchop. That is, records I only ever heard at the houses of indie kids who were too cool to like country, and whose music I loved at the time but never cared enough to own. So I went out of a spirit of vague nostalgia and curiosity and remembered
fondness. Plus the pop art tag on a gig is a pretty reliable stamp of quality. I'm glad I made the effort. Their songs are richer and more varied than I remembered, quiet and thoughtful and tuneful and quite, quite lovely. Apologies are made that they won't be doing their rock thang today; the singer has a sore throat and no matter how he pleads is not be given a cigarette. I'm kind of glad; I'm in a reflective mood and it's a small room best suited to acoustica.
John says he got sick of love songs and started writing about junkies instead; it's a refreshing change. He also says how delighted he is to be in Manchester because as a teenager closer changed his life and how his wife loves the smiths and is jealous that he is standing in places where morrissey once walked. These influences show a little in his songs, they are more than simply country or Americana or whatever its called this week. The final
song is the finest, `the best death metal band in denton' (texas not Tameside as someone shouts out) How can you not love a chorus of "hail satan"s? They come back to do one more song; they say if you claim to not know it you are a poseur and that we are all genetically wired to love it and must all join in with the chorus?
The song in question is the sign by ace of base. And yes, a fair few of the miserable alt.cunt crowd do singalong, myself included.
Blimey; people are smiling and laughing and everything. I never dreamt I'd see the day.

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