Copy Haho / Hold Yr Horse Is / Greatest Hits / Boat To Row
This Is Tomorrow
The welcome return of one of Birmingham’s more considered curators of live music, This Is Tomorrow, kicks off with the warm and delicate Boat To Row. The frankly annoying thing about Michael King, AKA Boat To Row, is that he possesses an enviable musical talent which allows him to perform with consummate ease in whichever style he decides to play. For example, an alter ego of Michael’s is guitarist in disco-sex-ska-punk rabble, Youves who have recently returned from a triumphant national tour with Calories. Here though, Mr King effortlessly emanates a folk purity that is about as far away from the 4/4 filth of Youves as Joe McElderry is to Tom Waits.
The fluent acoustic pickings and wholesome honesty of his sound are like a safety blanket wrapped round you as you curl up on the sofa watching an episode of Bagpuss. The softness is surprising as earlier today Mike had his car towed away, costing him £140 in Christmas present cash to release it from the pound. After that it’s a wonder that he doesn’t come on stage as a ball of anger, smashing his guitar to pieces.
Still, a timely blast through of ‘Frosty The Snowman,’ adds to the air of innocent playfulness in The Victoria as does ‘Autumn Glow’ until a cheeky cynicism arrives to close the set as Sam Manville aka Greatest Hits joins Michael on stage for a run through of ‘Merry Christmas and a Crappy New Year’, their joint seasonal effort which ends the performance on a humored high.
Greatest Hits takes to the stage for his own performance and if Boat To Row could be pictured playing in picturesque English countryside, then tonight Sam Manville is in Fuck Up City. Unfortunately he is struggling to get to grips with the chords of his tunes. Fortunately his sense of humour, both lyrically and between songs is more than enough to charm the crowd into being patient while he gets into the groove.
Once he gets into the swing of things it is apparent that Sam is in fact another multi-talented musician. As well as being the frontman in vitriolic hardcore metallers Blakfish, he has an awesome knack for melody, displayed in its stripped down acoustic form here tonight (and also in it’s full electropop glory on his Myspace page). Despite the rust, it’s still an entertaining set and shows that with at least say, 20 minutes practice, Greatest Hits can live up to his name.
Switching up a gear or six, Hold Yr Horse Is are taking no prisoners with their Queens of The Stone Age meets (a bearable) Biffy Clyro power rock. Somewhere in there AC/DC are trying to wrestle themselves out of a figure-four leg lock from yourcodenameis:milo while being smacked round the head with a metal chair by Million Dead.
‘Broken Sound’ is all donkey punches and Arab straps while ‘Christopher Walken’ makes Blue Whale feel like a post-statuette attack Berlusconi with its bludgeoning floor toms and stabbing riffery.
The dead pan Copy Haho have a lot to live up to, needing to make their grungey college rock work twice as hard to keep the momentum going. Which they do, but probably rely on their provocative stage banter as much as they do their tunes to get a rise out of the crowd.
‘Wrong Direction’ chugs along while singer Joe Hearty’s swoopy vocal moodily loops over our heads in a similar fashion to fellow Scots The Xcerts or a less shouty Dananananaykroyd.
The beauty of a This Is Tomorrow gig is how the line up offers great variety, while still retaining a consistent thread through the different acts and tonight was no different- it’s good to have you back!