Monday, 12 May 2008

Tick Tock The Delays and Pendulum

I've been having a run of midweek gigs where we get tickets and it all goes badly wrong; last weeks was the worst ever. Bloomin Ladytron (scousers), thought it would be a great idea to come on after the European cup semi final. As Livepool normally fluke the games without really scoring this would have been ok, if a tadge late at 9.40pm. But NO, extra time etc etc. I was so pleased they got beat. We couldnt wait around for the band as we had parental responsibilities. I hope the latest album bombs.

Anyway back a week later to see The Delays and as last weeks episode has put Pam off, I'm here with Colin, he's an IT man. He's Scottish and likes a pint or two so it was going to be an interesting evening. First port of call, a swift pint in Warrington and who can argue at under £2 a pint. Perfect timing for the train and on to Manchester a couple of beers and tea....Colin ordered the Vodka Burger followed by Porridge Vodka and finishing with After Eight mint Vodka. That definitely qualifies as setting the pace.

This gig was back at The Hop and Grape Bar (now the academy 3), its small, you can wander to the front and they sell more alcohol. The big burley Scots fellow on the alcopops was excellent behavior, he claims it was his first time.

The Delays are a band who really need to decide what they are up to, half the songs are pop tunes which have more than a nod to 'The Feeling' and the other half just rock out. I'm no A&R man, to be fair who is these days! (Industry joke), but I suspect The Delays really do write some very good tunes, its just that the whole image thing seems to have been forgotten. If this is deliberate then fair play to them, carry on sticking out tunes, making just enough cash and have a good time. If they want to sell loads of stuff then; go pop, cut your hair and have a shave like the keyboard player. (Colin had him down as a Howard Jones lookilikey to**er). Thats the keyboard player not Colin.

I saw the Delays play at V Festival a couple of years ago, well I watched from a distance as I sheltered from the rain under a beer tent. Pam, braved the elements stood at the front and came back to declare 'its a bloke not a girl'. Well he does have a fairly high pitched voice and he does make the most of it on the more poppy tunes, maybe Pam's take on this is right and they should just concentrate on writing great tunes.

One of the new tunes

The set they played was heavy on new songs but thats actually a good thing as the new album is pretty cool. There was a weird sound problem for 10 minutes where the stage right speaker kept glitching in and out. It was a strange experience which felt almost like ears popping on an aeroplane. Odd but good I think.

I think we both really enjoyed the hour and a bit they were on stage, perhaps the drinks helped, perhaps they have enough songs and I'll definately watch them at a festival...I just can't help feeling they are going the same way as JJ72.


Then we got to see Pendulum at the Academy 1. This turned out to be one of the oddest gigs I've been to for a while. Jess my elder child introduced them to me about 6 months ago and as recent dance bands go they are one of the best. Saying they are Drum and Bass makes me sound like I know what I'm talking about, but really its just good dance music - or so I thought.

Jess, Pam, Friend of Jess and me off to the gig and into the super secret carpark at the back of the Academy 1 and then into the queue with kids.......average age about 17. After a bit of discussion its decided the average age was 18. Jess' quote

'Then again we were right down the front and no-one else would have let their kids do that'

woops, top parenting again.

Whichever way you look at it the crowd was very young compared to me and Pam. On top of that we werent wearing luminous socks, pink tights or homemade T Shirts. We didnt have facepaint on and Pam didnt turn up in a bikini like some of the punters. Considering all of this I now understand why the guy handing out the 'get into the nightclub free tickets' actually said 'are you sure you like Pendulum', bloody cheek of it.

So in we went and off the kids immediately went, armed with a bottle of water each, I saw at least 4 people eating pills just to warm up. I won't rant at this point but honestly what is with the whole DJ thing? I agree with Craig ' just bunch of chancers who didnt learn to play an instrument'. Anyway this one had a very poppy crowd of kids to warm up for the main act would have been cheaper to hand out more pills.

So on came the lightshow, which in itself was pretty spectacular then on came the dance band and get this

2 lead guitarists

A bass guitarist

A drummer

and a keyboard player

Then on came a lead singer... whatever drum and base was I didn't imagine it was going to involve quite so many traditional instruments. There were rock guitar licks over heavy synth that Depeche Mode at the darkest would have been proud of, there was heavy drum beats that would impress The Prodigy and even a heavy beat ska moment ( this must have been for the dads - me). It was one of the most impressive live bands I've seen for ages. A bit like primal Scream doing Swastica Eyes with Kevin Shields on guitar and the whole thing actually working rather than the band breaking into a fight.

An hour later Jess turned up and declared they didnt need to stay for the encore as they had heard all the good songs now. sheesh the mp3 generation. I think there was only me gutted to be leaving, but not wishing to make a scene in front of a friend I kept my own council. Then the usual T Shirt gauntlet to be run outside. I was stitched for £10 not a bad result as it could have been far worse (Fall Out Boy - 3 kids £30) at least these were only £5 each here.

Another top tune by them

I suppose the mp3 generation wear them till they get dirty and then throw them away as all the good dye will have been used up.

In summary really ace band but go and see them at a festival in the dark so you don't feel like the local CID.

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