Wednesday, 27 January 2010

621 INSPIRAL CARPETS, Puressence, London Shepherd's Bush Empire, Friday 5 December 2003

Guest lists and after-show passes for the Inspirals? OK then! My younger brother Paul (the "Budlet") has gotten himself "in" with Manc baggy survivors Puressence, and has landed himself Tour Manager duties for their stint with the revived Inspiral Carpets. Shame the proposed Echo And The Bunnymen tour slot fell through, but we were happy to accept freebies for "the Mats"! So we parked up in the Bush at 7.30, picking up our freebies at the Box Office. The Budlet was onstage setting up the guitars as we walked in the venue but popped over for a chat. Nice to see him working for a change!

Stayed up front, stage right, for Puressence at 8.15. With the benefit of a bit of familiarity with their material, thanks to "Budlet" burning us a comp CD, I quite enjoyed their set. They're dark, brooding and haunting in a way not unlike The Sheila Divine or The Good North, but with a baggy, funky rhythmic backdrop and considerably less strong material. The vocalists' high, strident voice is definitely the strongest weapon in their armoury, and he often made an average song sound pretty good. The set was also notable for a blur of movement from Paul as he dashed onstage to retrieve the vocalist's fallen mikestand, then dived into the pit to get out of sight. Never seen him move so fast!

It started to get busy, so we moved to the back, only to find it even busier there! Worse, the place was packed with lairy drunken baggy louts who seemed not to have been out since the first baggy go-round, and were making up for lost time!

"The Mats" came on with their full stage back-drop, full of large milk bottles bearing the ubiquitous cow logo, to a chorus of moo-ing from the crowd. They ran briskly through a "Greatest Hits" set of easy-on-the-ears, keyboard-fuelled sing-along pop. Unfairly lumped in with the baggy scene, in my view they're more akin to 60's beat combos such as the Kinks, with a quintessential Englishness about them. The years away have not been particularly kind - especially to vocalist Tom Hingley, who resembled a darts player - but they tackled the job with enthusiasm, and the drunken mob lapped it up. An early, perky "Saturn 5", the more considered "Move", and the inevitable final "This Is How It Feels", all sing-along melancholy and dark, depressing imagery (it's grim oop North, ya knows), were the highlights of an occasionally boring but mostly fun set.

Popped up to the after-show party, but it was heaving so we sat outside in the stalls awhile. "Budlet" joined us and proudly showed off his tour-book. Good for him! Got introduced to a Puressence guy, plus "Mats" vocalist Tom, to whom I mentioned that he seemed to be in "fantasy band camp" onstage. Then we hit the road and left my brother to clear up the mess for once!

No comments:

Post a Comment