Spookey/Random Heroes/Bastard Sons Of Science/Chevy & The Chasers – 13th Note (22 November 2005)

Chevy & The ChasersI spent several years of my life in a band that went by the name of The Texan Chainstore Masochists. This was a name that I’d thought up waaaay back when I was in primary school and decided I wanted to be a rock ‘n’ roll star. In our mid-teenage years (and in the midst of several weeks discussion that was coming to no decent conclusion) it seemed like a good enough idea. A decade later, I’d come to loath the name (which of course you never tell anyone – always treat your worst puns like the work of genius you once thought they were). I mention this purely because the name Chevy & The Chasers makes me cringe slightly more. It doesn’t even have the quality of Reo Speedealer to raise a wry smile the first time you hear it and then it slowly dawns that it’s a pretty crap name for a band.

Musically it all starts well enough. First couple of songs are perky punk-flavoured numbers that buzz along quite nicely. But, you kinda get the impression that someone read a Musicians’ Union article on Building The Perfect Set List. But, it seems as if they’ve followed it so religiously that they’ve specifically written some tracks to fit the mold not because they wanted to write the songs. And, as they start to showcase their abilities more with pointless time changes and extended solos, we’re lifted evocatively to any night of the week (go on, I dare you, anyone at random) in Rockers. Only not really so good. Or, at least, honest.

Too much faffing about (lets introduce those time wasting fines they have a festivals). Too much playing to the group of their mates that have maneuvered to the front of the room for their set and then bugger off. (What is the score with that? I realise it’s gone on since year dot, but come on, have some respect for yourselves. Yeah, it’s great that you can con a bunch of people to help you out – particularly is you really are piss poor enough to have to rely on P2P gigs – but if you really have any belief in what you are doing musically/artistically then why the hell do you want to repeatedly bolster your ego with empty platitudes from people who obviously have absolutely no interest in music to start with.) This may be early into their gigging career, and there were moments of spark, but there’s a huge must try harder on their card tonight.

The Bastard Sons Of ScienceBastard Sons Of Science (can’t find a link for these guys, probably got one of them MySpace things but we don’t recognise them round these parts) play seriously tongue-in-cheek mini-epic metal. There’s no other way to describe them. And, as they announce this is the last one, we’re feeling mildly amused and pleasantly entertained by them. Until it becomes apparent that what they meant was it was the last one of their trilogy of concept pieces built around the movies of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Y’know those folk that are hilarious down the pub and everyone thinks they should go on stage? It’s very seldom actually a good idea. Three hours later (or what feels like it at least) the eventually deign to stop and depart closely followed their own substantial block of rentacrowd.

Random HeroesAnd, now to contradict all that. In many ways, both bands that preceded them could learn many a valuable lesson from Random Heroes. Compact and bijou, and tight as a gnat’s bits inside tights. No flab, no faff. They’ve got the ramalama moves off pat. Unfortunately, it’s all a little pat. They’ve got energy, but it’s the energy of a runner – something trained for and mechanical not passion and fire. Not one of their tunes lodged anywhere near my brain even during them, but they were perfectly designed to do the job. There was just something too needy about them. There is such a thing as trying too hard. But, the weren’t bad. They weren’t interesting enough for that. There’s a huge market out there for this kind of punk-lite and I’m not the target audience (I even wish them all the success they could ever dream of), but even Blink 182 had a few moments that register with me.

Spookey!!!!Spookey are an all-girl three-piece from Japan. They play rock and roll. They are truly magnificent. In high heels and crepe soles the kick the absolute crap out of the three bands on before them. It is indicative of just how brilliant they are that the slightly dodgy sound that dogs the opening of their set doesn’t stop the crowd from exploding in grateful applause for reaffirming out faith in that evilest of mistresses, rock.

This band are as cute as button, in the singular. They have the poise of a gang. A sense of being a unit. Whereas many a munter band’ll try sticking on matching t-shirts, with this lot it really it really does seem like a tag. They are sassy as fuck. Bouncing about the stage as if there’s no tomorrow. The bass played keeps winking at the crowd, one foot on the monitor. Their permanent grins mirror those of the viewers throughout. None of that mean and moody bollocks this is about the sheer joy or rock ‘n’ roll.

Two more converts to the cause with me tonight. Glorious.

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Written by Tony Kiernan

10 December 2005 at 3:31 pm

Posted in Gigs

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