Tonight heralds the opening night of the home-grown and hand picked delights of Tim Howell’s ‘I Love Noise Pop’ promotions and come 8pm the room upstairs is a desolate wasteland with Noise Pop posters coming loose and hanging on by one corner as employees rush around to try and correct them save for one enthusiastic gig-goer sipping a pint known only as Greg. He’s been a big fan of KateGoes after adding them on Myspace before ‘Facebook took over’ – must have been a while then. If you’re worried that tonight might turn into a massive flop, fear not however and read on as you could not be more wrong.
Simply watching KateGoes is a very interesting experience indeed. Utilising clarinets, an old school tiny Casio that teeters and wobbles dangerously on the edge of a larger stage piano, a kazoo, a violin, a glockenspiel (most of these played by the same member of the quartet) and even more kooky: a saucepan and – get this- a squeaky dog toy. The latter is put to hilarious, if not somewhat awkward, effect in a song called ‘Heartbeat’ which sounds a little bit like Seal’s ‘Kiss From a Rose’ if that’s even possible.
Besides the novelty factor, KateGoes are at their finest moments sweet and irresistible and should definitely write music for children’s TV or something similar as the child in many people is brought out with lyrics like ‘I want to be a dinosaur’ and ‘bouncing ’til our bums are raw’.
Funny instruments aside, the band’s strength lies in their three-part harmonies that are to die for and bassist Susie Minnear who impressively resists this tide of cute with bouncy grooves and imaginative runs. A wonderfully geeky couple ironically dance and sing along at the front and the whole experience is very intimate and casual as little practice amps are stacked on top of each other and people giggle and join in.
With everyone feeling happy and lovely after this, a group of four take to the stage and start assembling Korgs and tons of pedals. Having caught up with these lot who go by the name of Anarchist Cookbook before the night began, they claim their influences as Radiohead, This Town Needs Guns, Delphic and plenty of other great bands and while scratching their heads over who they sound like most they settle on Johnny Foreigner. In the back of your mind you worry that with such an ambitious palette it will all fall flat.
Front man and lead guitarist Tom Lord however pushes a button on the Roland sampler in front of him and a pre-programmed heavy beat kicks in reminiscent of ‘Idioteque’ – a great touch that demonstrates their attention to detail and mish-mashing of lots of musical genres and a buzz that makes the now packed room instantly sit up. Rather than picking out individual songs to compliment in particular, the whole set melds together in a sonic haze of delay-soaked guitars, lean and taut basslines, power and flare from drummer Nick who plays with double the excitement of a younger Matt Tong from Bloc Party wearing a ‘Frank Turner and me 4eva’ t-shirt which has to be taken off two songs in as he’s sweating buckets.
In fact, the whole band are driven by teenage passion and nervous excitement. They literally throw everything they have into their set and are knackered by the end of it.
The bassist and the guitarist either side of Tom switch over half way through the set and both of them take to the Korg while Tom keeps it all together in the middle – shouting and crooning in perfect measure. In short, there is very little to pick out as particularly special as the whole set is so God damn fraught and exciting. Worst of all, this is only their seventh gig. On top of this great sound and creative spark, along with the advantage of youth, the backbone of their tunes holds very strong indeed as melodies are never lost amongst silly arty tangents. Along with a packed out bar full of friends AC have got the lot from very early on.
Apparently they are plagued by technical difficulties as the jack lead into the bass regularly decides it doesn’t want to play ball and the headphone wire to the drummer snaps completely preventing them from playing their last song which is a shame as the number they end on doesn’t tie things up with an epic ending you’re hoping for. God knows what an ‘alright’ set from them would sound like and with very little work and another creative mind on production you can safely anticipate a spectacular album from these boys.
Bloody hell. After such a great surprise it takes a while for the room to come down as brains are splattered everywhere. Nonetheless, ‘Eat Y’self Pretty’ launch into a solid opener, ‘I Was Born On The TV’. It’s a runaway train of an open-hi hat, riff laden, bass-hopping treat. The band utilise buzzing sawtooths, spikey guitars and an appropriately droll vocal delivery that is all melded together with a bassist who holds the line like a champ with the heavy grooves of ‘Scribbles of a Modern Mess’ boasting intelligent breaks in pace that keep you guessing.
The tunes on their Myspace are great and are full of delightfully obscure soundscapes which have earned them slots on Radio 1 and 6 Music to name but few.
Sonic Delays take to the stage just as the venue begins to start to empty – with a curfew at midnight its just gone 11 and Tim Howell is keen to keep the music going for as long as possible which makes sense as he’s squeezing in four bands and considering the late start to let more people in, it seems to have paid off. As well as being the mastermind behind tonight he fronts the headlining drone trio ‘Sonic Delays’.
Their title perfectly compliments their brand of straight down the line, no frills shoegaze and as the only guitarist, Tim more than compensates for a fourth or fifth member and completely defies his nice guy image as he effortlessly and brutally builds a satisfying and menacing cacophony of guitar buzz from his wailing guitar.
An obligatory run for a bus home naturally follows such a late finish and was a great night despite the fact that the later and more ‘established’ acts failed to match the excitement of ‘Anarchist Coobook’. With more live dates on the way and that EP in the works, its difficult to not let one’s imagination run away with itself. All that is for definite for now is that it is certainly worth checking these lads out as soon as you can get your sorry life together and to realise all over again what made you fall in love with music in the first place.
‘I Love Noise Pop’s’ great success tonight lied in it’s friendly atmosphere and attention to detail with a well chosen and varied lineup. With the aim to hold it every month, and with the personal touch being a mandatory requirement, expect lots more great upcoming local acts to transcend this event into your hearts.