Wednesday, 27 January 2010

618 STELLASTARR*, The Ordinary Boys, The Twenty-Twos, Reading Fez Club, Saturday 22 November 2003

You might think that after David Bowie, last time out, anything else would be a serious anti-climax. Not so; our audience with the Thin White Duke had left us even more energised, if possible, to see bands and experience live music. Shame then, that Rachel had double-booked herself for this one, but I nevertheless roped Tim in to joining me at the rejuvenated Alleycat Live venue. Glad to see it back!

Parked up in the rain in a brand new multi-storey round the back of the venue, walking through a new riverside retail development to get to the gig. How things have changed! Hit the venue at 8, through the new soundproof door and Middle-Eastern influenced decor, to the same old upstairs room, where 3 girl, one drummer-bloke NYC combo the Twenty-Twos (or 22s?) were already on, playing the type of punky, flippant punk pop which recalled the Sahara Hotnights. Not bad, what we saw. The Ordinary Boys were quickly next up, an ordinary bunch playing spiky and fast-paced, yet pretty ordinary songs, so a well-named band really! The main plus point about their set was that at barely 20 minutes, it was short!

Stellastarr* took the stage, a black-clad troupe apart from the naked-to-the-waist drummer, fashionably late at a still-early 10 past 9. The opener kicked things in smoothly, slowly and moodily, before building to an impressive crescendo, then the set really kicked into gear with the fast, jagged "No Weather". This band are really fast becoming one of this year's real prospects; moody, angular and dark without being gloomy and morose, they recall early 80's rockist bands such as Echo And The Bunnymen, pre-pop Cure, The Psychedelic Furs, or even early "Goth" bands such as the Bolshoi. No bad thing at all! Vocalist Shawn Christiansen has a mahogany-rich voice old beyond his tender years, and the swagger of a real star in the making. The addictive "Somewhere Across Forever" and haunting "In The Walls" were a mid-set double delight, and the maverick, catchy romp of encore "Pulp Song" climaxed a breathless and very impressive performance.

Bought a t-shirt afterwards, only to find I'd been sold a girly XL one! Got my money back though - but I didn't need a refund from the gig; a fine set from an impressive new 2003 band with oodles of potential!

No comments:

Post a Comment