Review: Calories / Sunset Cinema Club / Green Gables

Calories / Sunset Cinema Club / Green Gables
This Is Tomorrow Christmas Party
Island Bar

Regular readers of The Blue Whale Blog, if such creatures exist, will know how much we enjoy nights put on by the guys at This is Tomorrow. The line up of Calories and Sunset Cinema Club (currently battling it out in our ‘Top Ten Brum Bands of the Decade‘ stakes), means that tonight is no exception but it’s also encouraging to see that newcomers to the scene, Green Gables are granted the opening slot to expose themselves to a discernible audience.

Commencing with a shrill of Joy Division style feedback before leaping into Sunshine Underground indie funk it’s clear that Green Gables have quality at their disposal. The bass driven geezery swagger that is accented by glimpses of Vampire Weekend guitar lines and a heavy helping of The Clash starts to propel and by the end of the set, a cold room is impulsively motioned into movement.

If they can shape something a tad more instant out of the promise that they show then Green Gables will attract much punk-funk interest next year.

It’s been far too long a hiatus for our liking – Sunset Cinema Club haven’t graced a stage for what seems like an age to us. The feeling is definitely mutual here at Island Bar as yelps, whoops and screams bounce off the walls as the DJ stops cuts the PA and the band blast a quick line check.

As they launch into ‘Baka! Nani O Shite Masuka!’ it’s clear that they have missed playing together too as they are on formidable form tonight. ‘Flower’ is treated by the crowd as as old fave, despite being relatively young and ‘Rant’ is dizzying as it is ferociously aired. There is a growl from the engine of Sunset Cinema Club tonight that is not necessarily finely tuned as much as it is dying to be let off the leash which is reciprocated with excitement from the seasonally inebriated audience.

Knowing that it may be sometime before we see the band again makes Blue Whale savors every note – man, the festive spirit is making us emotional, but blow me, what a band.

If Calories had just a little more profile and radio play nationally then no doubt their debut album, ‘Adventuring’ would be bothering a fair few top albums of 2009 lists. It’s probably this correspondent’s most played LP of the past year by quite a way – the way it straddles massive melodic hooks with textbook songwriting has earned it repeat listen after repeat listen and we are itching to hear the follow up.

Live though, it has to be said that, at least in our experience Calories have in the past relied a little too much on their genius tune-smithery and never really let themselves fully go on stage, certainly in comparison with the former guise, Distophia. Tonight however, we see them in the best live form we have ever witnessed the three piece, perhaps the Christmas cheer has got to them or maybe Sunset Cinema Club have raised the bar for them.

Whatever, this is when this band are at their best when they are scuzzed up, energetic, half drunk, full of banter and even spitting food into the audience. ‘Forest of Varg’ is already a classic with it’s hypnotic vocal and whirling bass solo, ‘Even Stevens’ invokes crowd surfing in the tiny upstairs bar and the rumbling floor toms of ‘Fragile Numbers’ sound like the room is going to collapse under the weight of Tom Whifield’s beatings.

‘Drugged’ is stretched out into some kind of car smash karaoke with the drum kit moved into the middle of the floor while the band loosley improvise in some kind of blurry yet anthemic close to the night. We’re all singing our hearts out as the chorus of “Everything is beautiful in its own way’ rings around Queensway like some kind of alt. rock Christmas carol.

Here’s to 2010 and all the adventures it may bring.

Andy Roberts

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One response to “Review: Calories / Sunset Cinema Club / Green Gables

  1. Pingback: Review: Calories, Sunset Cinema Club and Green Gables @ Island Bar 23/12/2009 | Natalie Chillington

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