Review: Scarlet Harlots / Tantrums @Biggerthanbaz

Scarlet Harlots / Tantrums
Bigger Than Barry Records Showcase
The Rainbow
5th March 2010

Tantrums by Tom Nicolson

As enjoyable as it is being ejected from a venue into a piss wet corridor filled to the brim with confused crowd members, it often leads to a strange pre-gig atmosphere. This is the price of having two events in the same night at the same place. As a result, both bands tonight must sound check in front of the crowd and issue instructions to the engineer over noisy heads.

However within two seconds of Tantrums taking to the stage, the crowd’s collective memory is erased. It’s all about the skyscraper sized songs careering at high speed towards our ears. As well as onstage antics like guitar biting and laps around the crash barriers, we are treated to a perfectly executed show featuring recorded spoken word interludes, heavy dub beats, primary coloured visuals, two brass players and the perfect melding of vocal harmonies thanks to new member Anna.

All the signs are there that Tantrums new E.P is going to melt from over playing as soon as it’s released on Bigger Than Barry Records. But it is live that this frenetically brilliant band excel. The crowd is unable to take its eyes off the stage as Tantrums unleash killer guitar work that is beautiful in its technicality and lethally catchy. Every second is high adrenaline joy. Anna doesn’t need to ask us to dance – we already are.

It might be the fact we’re well into Saturday before The Scarlet Harlots are able to get started on stage but it takes a few minutes for them to hit their stride. When they do, the reason why this band continues to dominate the local scene becomes clear.

‘Backlash’ is bursting with beat squelch and high guitar flecks, all wrapped up in Sam Baylis’ voice and punctuated by a chorus chant which our voices throw back. The combination of climatic build ups and danceable rhythms means the kids at the back slip half finished roll ups into pockets to better manage bouncing on tip toes.

Onstage, The Scarlet Harlots move as though the music controls them as much as it does us, with arms stretched out to conduct the electric currents. They certainly feel like a much bigger band than the low ceiling-ed Rainbow can contain tonight.

Interview with Anna Palmer on joining Tantrums here.

Lindsey Kent

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