We're back on the UK gig trail only a couple of weeks after returning from a soggy Boston for old faves Seafood, back after their last disappointing CD with hopefully a more "punk rock" direction (according to vocalist David Line at least, when I bumped into him at the Dinosaur Jr. gig last year!). So we took the one opportunity we had to see them on this tour (date clashes ruling out Oxford and Bristol) and hi-tailed it to a murky Southampton for da 'Food, Take 21!
Hit this run-down alternative pub joint at 8.30, having driven past it twice (!), whilst indistinct first band Freezer Burns were on. Rach reckoned they sounded OK from the bar, but I didn't hear much to commend them myself! The Race were next up, led by a hyper little hairy chap towered over by his female guitarist bandmate. They were quite entertaining, with an itchy and insistent mix of XTC-type rhythm and Wedding Present style choppy guitar, and some nicely building tunes which were played well by this enthusiastic combo. Not great yet by any means, but a name to watch, perhaps!
Had a quick word with new dad David before Seafood set up, then we puzzled on the absence of old friend Kevin Hendricks, as long-time roadie Alex seemed to be tuning up the bass instead. Sure enough, when da 'Food took the stage at 10.15 to a rapturous welcome, it was for the first Kev-less performance of our 21!
(We subsequently found out he'd left following the recording of the new CD. Bloody terrible timing, if these new tunes get the recognition they deserve...)
Nevertheless, da 'Food were brilliant, I'm pleased to report, evoking the performances that made them the only UK band worth a damn, back in the early 2000s. Alex, inevitably, fitted in seamlessly, as an admittedly slightly drunk but mesmerising David led the band through an incendiary, strident, kinetic set of thrilling amphetamine-fast rock. A slew of equally fast new numbers (including one excellently absorbing and climactic newie) complemented oldies such as "Cloaking" and "This Is Not An Exit", and the set climax "Folk Song Crisis", its' howling middle 8 a cathartic noise thrill, was as good as ever. A couple of sloppy new acoustic thingies by a happy David ended the set, which underlined that Seafood are once again in rude health, as snarling, vicious and indispensible as ever before.
A quick word with Mr. Line before we hit the rainy road home - he said he'd say "hey" to Kev for us. I hope you did, David!