Thursday, 11 March 2010

557 SEAFOOD, Jetplane Landing, Dustball, Melaton, Oxford Zodiac, Monday 13 May 2002

Seafood again? Flipping 'eck! But this one was totally free, as Seafood bassist Kevin had stuck all 3 of us on the guest-list for this show, the nearest they were due to pass to us on their current tour. The prospect of a tipped support band was enticing as well, so Ady got Rachel and myself at 20 past 7 and we hit the Zodiac at 8 - David Rose +2!

Got in just as first band Melaton were ploughing through their first number. They sounded like a second rate Radiohead; that'd be Elbow, then! I dunno, bands that play such bloody miserable plodding crap can't really be having that good a time onstage, so we ignored them from the relative safety of the bar.

The next band up kicked off an amphetamine-fast rush of punkified pop, but it wasn't until they'd finished their second number that we discovered it wasn't the expected Jetplane Landing. "Hi, we're Dustball..." Dustball??? Surely not the gang of young Ash wannabee oiks that supported Tiny Monroe up at the old Point lo, those many moons ago? But sure enough, here they were, (relatively) fully formed and obviously having undergone some serious overhauls on the way. They played some exciting rock which ranged from brainy Blink-y punk to more sophisticated light and shade song structures, and sported a young vocalist whose dynamic inflections recalled Placebo's Brian Molko. Good (and unexpected) stuff!

Kevin and Caroline Seafood were manning the merch stand so we chatted before heading stage right, near the front, for Jetplane Landing. An American-sounding band with an obviously Irish vocalist, they played some dirty black rock'n'roll at full speed, full volume, and with inspiring intensity and conviction. They certainly mean it, maaaan, and kicked out the Jams in a way which (for me) recalled the more savage edges of early Nada Surf or early Jimmy Eat World. A rebel-rousing speech before their final number underlined the fact that they're rockers by volition rather than choice, and despite no one dancing, they went down a storm.

Down the front for the entrance of Seafood at 10.30, a pretty late one but well worth the wait. A blistering start this time with a superb "Splinter" and "Western Battle", setting the tone for this set. They'd obviously picked up some tips on intensity and conviction from Jetplane Landing, as this set seemed tougher, more confrontational and in-your-face than other recent Seafood sets, excellent (of course) though those night have been. "Easy Path" was up next, again seriously toughened up, and by now Rachel and I were hurling ourselves around with wild abandon as well!

The set was perfectly paced between coherent structured rock songs, extreme wig-out noise-fests - the mid-set "Folksong Crisis" a highlight in this regard - and slower paced, moodier numbers, including the standout "Desert Stretched", performed solo by David and a beefy acoustic, with background vocal colourwash from Caroline. A metronomic "In This Light", including a pulsating feedback mid-section which precipitated some primal screaming from David and some speaker stack-leaping from Kevin, climaxed another excellent Seafood set! This one finished at 11.30 so we hit the road immediately afterwards, instead of hanging around to chat. But we'll be back for Seafood gig number 20 - soon!

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