Tuesday, 2 February 2010

605 ELEFANT, THE GOOD NORTH, Auto Interiors, Middle East Downstairs, Cambridge, MA USA, Wednesday 24 September 2003

One venue usually dominates our visits to Boston. Last year it was 608 - this year, oddly enough, given that we'd flown over for TT's 30th Anniversary, it's turning out to be the 500-capacity downstairs room at the Middle East! After a day notable for Rachel climbing Bunker Hill Monument (I didn't - done that before, and didn't fancy it in my post-op condition!), we arrive in time for Auto Interiors, who play some nice if unmemorable powerpop, which nevertheless gets a ripple of applause from this low turnout.

The Good North are next up - they come highly recommended from such as The Damn Personals and our friend Jim Gilbert, and have been compared to Jim's former band The Sheila Divine and Idlewild in local Boston mag "The Noise", having also apparantly taken their name from an early Idlewild song. They're good, edgy, moody and fast-paced, recalling the frantic nature of that young Idlewild band, and also 90's faves Marion! Lots of kinetic energy and nervous tension onstage as well, with the 3-pronged guitar attack regularly swapping sides onstage, behind the passionate vocalist. Don't see much of the Sheila Divine comparisons, apart from the obvious dynamism, but they live up to the hype and it's easy to see how they did well in the Rumble this year.

Jim Gilbert joins us at the bar, and we hang out before the main band of tonight, Elefant, elevated to that status thanks to the unexpected late withdrawal of Ambulance Ltd. Elefant have a splendid drummer, all furious energy and intent, propelling a dark and sinister sound similar in mood to Placebo or Interpol. However, their vocalist, tall and handsome and so-ho aware of it, is a total dick, either out of his head on some substance or other (which is pretty sad if people have paid to see you perform and you don't respect that enough to hold it together), or pretending to be (which is even sadder!). Either way, his antics spoil their performance, so we ship out at the end of their set having been impressed by one band rather than two.

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