Took a late call on this gig, having found about it from the NME classifieds the day before! Drove down in (once again) pissing rain, and got to the already quite full venue about 8.30.
First band on were a painfully young looking bunch of Scallies, who peddled a very 60's influenced Mod-ish sound, with very obvious Beatles/Stones and La's reference points. No surprise to hear they were from Liverpool! I'm quite partial to a bit of jangly pop, so I quite liked their Summery sound; shame they looked so damn miserable trotting it out!
Looking miserable, however, was something that main band Haven weren't about to be doing; they're riding on the crest of a wave at the moment, and received a rapturous welcome from the heaving crowd of mainly "normal" looking folks - not the usual gig crowd at all! Haven's set was pretty much based on promising new CD "Between The Senses", and centred on good old soaring, multi-layered pop with harmonic choruses. Haven vocalist Gary Briggs has an excellent rich, resonant voice which for me still recalls Talk Talk's Mark Hollis, and it lent power and raw emotion to their material. An excellently melancholy "Say Something", a brilliantly building "Beautiful Thing" (barely recognisable from the disappointing single version) and set closer "Let It Live" with an almost U2-like hook, were the highlights of a fine set from a band quickly fulfilling early promise, and going places - fast!
But not as fast as Rachel and I got home; door to door in 40 minutes flat!