Friday, 13 November 2009

747 LONGWAVE, Kid Captain, Terra Diablo, London Camden "Barfly", Saturday 10 May 2008

Off to see Longwave in the middle of a heatwave, so wore shorts for this one! I'd been a fan of this young NYC combo since 2003, picking up on their "Everywhere You Turn" single on MTV2 during my convalescence, finding it a post-Strokes mesh of new wavey roadrunner groove and studied New York street cool. The 2 albums I'd picked up since underlined that, along with more slower burn expansive alt-rock, a la Flaming Lips or Wheat. So, a good band then! However, they'd never been over to the UK during their major label incumbency, but now, unsigned, here they are!

So Tim, Penny and myself set off at 6 and enjoyed a sunny run up, parking in Camden at 8 and nosing around the market before going into the venue. Access had changed since my last visit and we also took the wrong flight of stairs to get to this upstairs venue. D'oh! Wandered in as hairy young Scots combo Terra Diablo were kicking off their enthusiastically played but dated Pearl Jam style grunge rock. The other support, Kid Captain, were however a considerably more interesting proposition; a painfully young lot and featuring a vocalist with vertical hair like something off "There's Something About Mary", they nevertheless played an impressive and snappy set of bright 90's influenced poppy rock, midway between the jagged atmospherics of Kitchens Of Distinction and the edgy jangle of Marion. The vocalist had a nice lilting voice, as if trying to nail one octave higher than appropriate, and overall they left a good impression.

Longwave set up then kicked off their set at 10 to 10, in front of a disappointingly sparse crowd in this small venue. I took position at the front, centre stage, determined to shake a leg to their set of largely new material. They were very good "live", veering between the mid-paced intelligent US indie rock of the post-"Soft Bulletin" variety, all wide open space and occasional jagged riffs. They introduced themselves after a couple or so numbers as, "Longwave, from New York City", so I had to ask, "Yankees or Mets?" Shannon, the vocalist, tried to deflect the question but admitted he was a Mets fan and the drummer a Yankees fan! "Wake Me When It's Over", the lead track from 2003's "The Strangest Things" CD was a delicious delight, its' open easy melody recalling Echo And The Bunnymen (a point I made to Shannon afterwards, who admitted he'd only bought a couple of EATB CDs because people kept making the same comparison!). "Everywhere You Turn" got me rocking with its cool groove; this of course was after the band had had an argument with the soundman who wanted to cut the set short, Shannon's response being, "you've gotta be kidding me, after all the shit we've put up with to play this venue - we've been promised 45 minutes and by my watch we've got 10 left - and we're going to play it!"

So a tense set rounded off, after which I snatched some words with the band (after having had an altercation with the soundman myself, for daring to shout for an encore!) and got my set-list signed. Shannon was a nice guy, thanking us for driving up and telling me he used to play with my Boston faves The Sheila Divine "all the time in New York!" So Longwave, with an impressive clutch of new songs "in the can", are probably the world's best unsigned band right now. Let's hope that someone signs them - soon!

No comments:

Post a Comment