All 8 entries tagged Boar Music

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November 01, 2007

Maximo Park: Wolverhampton Civic Hall

Maxïmo Park
Civic Hall, Wolverhampton
10th Ocotober 2007 

Alexandra Szydlowska

    You’ve got to feel sorry for the opening act sometimes. Easy enough on the eyes, they provoke a smatter of approval from the predominantly male audience as they walk on stage, all husky voices, sequins and blunt haircuts. But as soon as technical difficulties are overcome, anecdotes fall flat and they are free to strum their way into their first number, it becomes clear that Theoretical Girl and the Equations don’t stand a chance of raising any pulses tonight. The formula that the Equations have to offer, that is, three power-chord progressions, a repetitive song cycle and a stiff and manufactured stage presence, despite a hopeful burst of technical competence during the drum solo at the end of the set, just doesn’t add up. You do the math, Theoretical girl.

    The next supporting band won’t be so quick to sink into obscurity, if only for the fact that Good Shoes manages to stir a dangerously inert crowd up with an infectiously energetic brand of indie pop that, though as repetitious as it may be, is quintessentially British. Hailing from Morden in London, they set the tradition straight for arty-looking suburban kids whose music features plenty of catchy guitar hooks and a hip-swinging rhythms fit to strut to in your checked slip-on shoes.

    The lead singer of Maxïmo Park tonight, it’s got to be said, is an absolute hero. Paul Smith steals the show with an endearingly cheerful manner, managing to look lean and well put together in a crimson shirt and tux, despite having just thrown up from food poisoning before sticking a trilby on his head and coming out on stage. Almost immediately the crowd begins to stir and bubble as the band rips into the high-voltage favourite, ‘Our Velocity’ off new album ‘Our Earthly Pleasures’. It’s refreshing to witness a band that predominantly sings about failing relationships and yet manages to get away with being lyrical and nostalgic without being classed as trite. The key to their music is to steer clear of emotional vacuity and pretentiousness, delivering lyrics that brim with wit, wisdom and original narrative perspective. It helps that, unlike the previous two acts, it is almost impossible to trace evident influences in their music. Coming from a Maxïmo Park gig you leave with the satisfied feeling of having witnessed the coming-of-age of a great band that has heart and feeling and promises to grow with you.

Broken Social Scene Birmingham Academy 17th October

Broken Social Scene presents… Kevin Drew

Live @ Birmingham Academy - 17/10/2007

James Riley

Kevin Drew loves you. In fact, Kevin Drew loves everyone. He made a particular effort to show this at the last Broken Social Scene gig I attended while they were promoting their last record. He clambered off stage and came out into the crowd during their closer, hugging everyone that cared, including myself, before eventually running out of people and getting back to the microphone to finish off the song and set. In any other circumstance, you could probably label the act as ‘hippy’, as ‘pretentious’, but with Kevin and BSS, there’s something different, something more sincere happening.

Openers Noah & The Whale were very sincere indeed. Starting tentatively with a pluck and a croak, it built very gently, in almost complete silence, until drums, violin and harmonium filtered in to reveal a band sounding almost as if Alfie were resurrected not from Manchester but the West Country. I thought their barn burning songs would become too much but they rescued it with the closing pair of Rocks and Daggers and chirpy (sold out) single 5 Years Time.

The words on the ticket may have said ‘Broken Social Scene’ but anyone actually expecting the sprawling collective to be together here would inevitably be disappointed. Instead, we got six typical indie-rock guys filling the room with feedback interspersed with the melodies and harmonies that come from one of Spirit If…’s better moments in Lucky Ones. It was loud, and it ruined a lot of the subtleties that come across on the actual album. Inevitably, it was no surprise that the best songs in the first half were BSS’s ‘own’. Cause=Time, Stars and Sons and Superconnected all got an airing, suiting the loud and pulsing dynamic, whereas Tbtf, Fucked Up Kid and Safety Bricks didn’t really work well amidst the fuzz and actually missed the female counterpoint that BSS usually have.

It took an abortive attempt at Gang Bang Suicide later on to really kick the songs into gear. Kevin stopped mid-song to reprimand some talking in the front row, before leading his band into two sublime performances of Farewell to the Pressure Kids and Bodhi Sappy Weekend. Entering the final stretch, they followed this up with an extended version of the already brilliant Lover’s Spit, adding trumpet courtesy of Jimmy Shaw from Metric, breaking it down before blowing it up again. After such an amazing ending, it seemed redundant to add the ‘encore’ of Major Label Debut. However, it was poignant to have Kevin shouting the lines “It means I love you!” to finish off.

After the talking altercation, Kevin walked down to the front row and apologised to the people he embarrassed, proving that yes, Kevin Drew does love everyone, but he loves his music more.

October 11, 2007

Scouting For Girls – Scouting For Girls

1 out of 5 stars

Liam Gilligan

Hot on the heels of other summery indie pop bands such as The Hoosiers and Air Traffic, are “Scouting for Girls”, releasing their self titled first album. Following their top 10 single “She’s So Lovely” – a track which sounds just like The Feeling – if they weren’t quite so posh.

These guys have achieved the perfect formula for being just another band that becomes a local radio favourite, the type of band your mum would enjoy on the drive home from work. They’ve got catchy, piano driven songs that make you smile and think “that’s nice”. However, herein lies the main problem, since every song on the album follows this formula, it gets tired and repetitive very quickly.

It doesn’t help that all the songs on this album link back to the same old subject – girls. Songs about girls who have dumped him, songs about girls who have boys, so on and so on. Repetition also sits in every single song; with lead single “She’s So Lovely” being the worst, with the entire chorus being one line repeated seven times.

This album is cheery and probably perfect background music for the summer, however it's still unchallenging, bland and really just shows how lazy bands have become while still being able to achieve success by hopping onto the “remotely Indie” pile. This is probably one for your Mum.

Idlewild – Scottish Fiction : Best Of 1997 – 2007

3 out of 5 stars

Thom Kirwan

This new release from Scottish Indie-rockers Idlewild contains 17 tracks spanning all 5 of their LP's but sadly nothing from the 1998 "Captain" EP.

Every Idlewild album so far has had a distinctive sound to it, so the non-chronological track order provides an eclectic and enjoyable experience, especially when the album moves from "When I Argue I See Shapes" from their debut LP "Hope is Important" to "Love Steals Us From Loneliness" from 2005's "Warnings/Promises", where the change in Roddy's voice is so profound that it makes you wonder if they replaced him with a lookalike folk singer somewhere between the two albums. Similarly the production qualities and styles vary so wildly you would be forgiven for thinking you were listening to a Various Artists album rather than hearing a band evolve over the years.

Listening to Scottish Fiction alone you would never believe that Idlewild started off as a punk band with Roddy screaming down the mic, and this is where my only criticism of the album lies. Even though you can immediately tell which era each song is from, the songs that defined the punk/folk periods of their career are missing, omitted in favour of the singles from each album.

So overall whilst this is a great introduction to Idlewild you need to dig a bit deeper to see the whole picture, which is a shame as some of their finest moments have come from the depths of each album.

Hard–Fi – Once Upon A Time In The West

2 out of 5 stars

Ollie Smyth

I’ve always struggled to pinpoint Hard-Fi’s appeal. I mean they’re a band with a pretty shabby name and the sort of image that even Marks and Spencer wouldn’t touch.

I’m going to make a conscious effort to avoid the ‘difficult second album’ tag and the fact that Hard-Fi are a rather poor live outfit.

Nevertheless, the boys are back with another forty minutes worth of bold, cocky, and stomping tunes. Suburban Knights isn’t bad at all and is even now a regular feature in Evolve’s ‘indie’ room on a Thursday. It's followed by I Shall Overcome, a song with a pathetic chorus yet a rather charming chorus.

Lyrically there’s no real progression. Richard Archer is once again falling for strangers and then singing about it in a very bitter manner from start to finish.

Recent single Can't Get Along (Without You) being the perfect example. Let’s just hope Archer has some strong friends to see him through his constant heartache.

The perennial Hard-Fi background harmonies haven’t gone anywhere and neither has the brisk guitaring that was key to the success of debut Stars Of CCTV.

My housemate has labelled Television as genuinely the worst song he’s ever heard coming from my room. Jonathan is not a Hard-Fi fan. Unfortunately for the lads from Staines it’s probably one of the more memorable moments from the record.

It’s safe to say, however, that the powers that be at mainstream radio will love this collection of gritty, wishy-washy indie rock’n’roll songs.

In truth it’s the job of the slow ballads, Help Me Please and Tonight, to save the album from mid-top forty obscurity. The band are clearly capable of some thoughtful song writing which will no doubt lend to their accessibility.

Having spent a fair bit of time living once upon a time on a train with this album i hard not to think that the band could have, and really should of, delivered a more convincing effort.

Once Upon A Time In The West is also an incredibly hard album to place in one’s life. It’s certainly not the best going out music; neither are the band suited to library time.

Watch Me Fall Apart is quite a pleasant little song but only goes to further illustrate the tediousness of the Archer anguish.

Likewise, We Need Love, will no doubt soon hold a special place in the hearts’ of middle aged singletons everywhere.

This is a musically competent album and not an entirely bad effort. I know this sounds like a sixth-form Geography report but there’s not an awful lot more to say about this lot. I’ve often wondered if anyone actually missed Hard-Fi during their absence? Anyone?

I’ve since discovered Hard-Fi to be the perfect band to have to perfect shave to.

My copy has already been handed down to my little brother. So thanks, but no thanks.

Sum 41 – Underclass Hero

2 out of 5 stars

Liam Gilligan

I must admit, Sum 41 are a guilty pleasure of mine. I enjoy nothing better then throwing on “All Killer No Filler” and reminiscing to the days when I was a tiny, spiky haired 14 year old.. In reviewing this album, I was hoping that losing their guitarist, taking a political stand and marrying Avril Lavigne had not caused Sum 41 to lose their spark.

Opening track "Underclass Hero" immediately jumps into All Killer No Filler mode, Donning baggy shorts and jumping in the air to something that sounds suspiciously like Fat Lip. The rest of the album though, sounds as if Deryck Whibley has been listening to his pop-punk contemporaries a bit too much. “March of the Dogs” and “Walking Disaster” wouldn’t sound out of place on Blink’s last album, and the political messages that constantly stand out scream “American Idiot”.

The melodrama that accompanies this album drags it down, and while previous album Chuck had slower ballads to intervene and break up the faster songs, this record leaves me waiting to throw my fists in the air and pump my fists.

The most disappointing thing about this album is that while their sound has obviously matured, they’ve lost what made them stand out in the first place, with only tracks like Underclass Hero and King of Contradictions sounding like Sum 41. It's just all been done before, and done better as well.

October 10, 2007

Diary of a Festival Virgin

David Barnes

Summer SundaeWhen you think of Leicester, the first things that come to mind are not big name acts, camping or sunny weather, however for three days this year Leicester became a font of talent and entertainment, or at least a very big park in the centre of Leicester did. Now this was my first festival, and seeing as when I told people I knew that I was going to the Summer Sundae I got a lot of confused looks, I was unsure what to expect. So armed with my press pass, couple of cans of cider, some basic camping gear and my good (and moderately emo friend) Luke, we ventured into the grungy depths of Leicester. We got there late but luckily the site of the festival was only a short walk from the train station, and the off licences were in good reach so that was a good start, however putting your tent up in the dark: not so cool, but pretty funny.

Saturday morning we woke up feeling a bit groggy, the campsite was pretty nice, showers, toilets and recycling were pretty much everywhere so that was a bonus. So having had a snickers and some wine for breakfast and then we went to see what was going on. It was warm and sunny, which was a relief after the summer we have had. In the day the acts were alright, but mainly filler in my opinion but this is where the cabaret tent showcasing different comic talents came in useful. In the evening there was Sophie Ellis Bexter, for my sins I think she is gorgeous, so that made the set all the much better, but her act was very good and got the crowd rared up for a good night, then came the magic numbers and they were fantastic, even if they all do look the chubby differently sexed versions of each other. The finale on the Saturday evening consisted of all the acts of the day along with blow up versions of the magic numbers, trippy but a pretty damn good finish to the day.

Summer Sundae 2Sunday was all sunny again, another great day to be at a festival. We started with the pidgeon detectives who were great, lead singer was very energetic and started shouting “get your owl out” which never ceased to make him chuckle apparently. And went on to an evening of Echo and the Bunnymen, which was alright, but not my cup of tea apart from the classic killing moon (any fans of Donnie Darko will know this one).

All in all the Summer Sundae was a brilliant festival, great mixture of styles and tastes as well as unsigned artists and headliners, not to mention good comedy and a vibrant atmosphere all helped with the fortuitous sunny weather (and the Oxfam party I crashed). Its location was right in the heart of a city which made it great for getting around, and festival goers can sleep easy as this was the only festival to be carbon negative. Next summer keep this festival in mind. For more information check out

The Rumble Strips – Girls And Weather

3 out of 5 stars

Rhianne Muir

After a somewhat unsuitably long wait, indie festival darlings The Rumble Strips have finally dished up their long awaited debut album ‘Girls and Weather’, and it is, well, not bad. The thinking man’s Ordinary Boys, the Rumble Strips’ brassy, ska infused Northern Soul is certainly fun, but is somewhat throwaway. Belting opener ‘No Soul’ and follow up ‘Alarm Clock’ more than prove that front man Charles Waller – formerly of Vincent Vincent and the Villains – is capable of conjuring up a cracking melody, but they don’t do a great deal more. Do we really need another track detailing the hardships of working life as ‘Alarm Clock’ does (Albeit with a clever metaphor)? Surely Hard-Fi laid this tiresome subject to rest long ago? Singles ‘Motorcycle,’ with its fabulous Bees-esque instrumental and ‘Girls and Boys in Love,’ are the standout tracks, and ‘Cowboy’ is certainly worth a mention, yet ultimately there is little to distinguish one track from another. Its when the band show their melancholy, vulnerable side on tracks like these and ‘Hate me (you do)’ that you can really relate to the West Country foursome, yet moments like this are few, and its far too easy to grow weary of the incessant horns that plague a record with otherwise good potential. At its worst, ‘Girls and Weather’ could be the soundtrack to a teen-flick prom, at its best, it has a great chance of reinventing an ageing genre and bringing it into the 21st century with a twist. Let’s have more of the latter please.

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  • i still refuse to accept that operator please are any good. by on this entry
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  • I took my musical ego in with me and thought they were awesome live, as were support act Operator Pl… by Mathew Mannion on this entry

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