Friday, 5 March 2010

562 RIVAL SCHOOLS, Little Hell, Magic Dirt, Bristol Fleece, Monday 10 June 2002

When The Cat's Away Dept.; Rachel was off to Scotland on business this evening, so I thought I'd take advantage by popping off to a gig! Sorted late tix for this one and got Shaun from work to accompany me, to check out one of his Emo heroes, a band whose CD he'd taped me in the first place! Hit the road at 7.15, parking up at 8 and jumping the queue to get in. Well, I bloody hate queues!

Had time to get a drink in before Magic Dirt, first band on, joined the rapidly-filling crowd onstage. Sporting a rakish-thin female vocalist which from our rear vantage point resembled Madder Rose's Mary Lorson, they played a brand of noisy garage rock, recalling recent finds The Bellrays, but less sleazy and strident, and a bit more tuneful. One to watch, perhaps... Unexpectedly, we had a second support; Little Hell, who despite being not too bad really at Reading Festival last year, have evidently regressed since then as they were bloody awful tonight. A horribly ham-fisted howl of a set, once again recalling AC/DC but this time at their most lumpen and dead-headed. Luckily they weren't on for too long...

Rival Schools however kept us waiting for 10 minutes over their expected arrival time of 10.15, but were worth the wait when they casually sauntered onstage. Veterans of various late 80's and early 90's hardcore outfits (notably vocalist Walter Schreifels, who was the guiding light behind Gorilla Biscuits), they've been lumped in with the burgeoning Emo movement, perhaps a little inaccurately in my view, as to me they recall the pre-grunge US hard-edged rock of Superchunk and early Buffalo Tom. This certainly came through in their performance this evening, as they produced a sweaty, down and dirty, fast-paced US alt-rock set. Elements of da Chunk and da Tom were prominent, as was the sinister steaming laze-rock of Dinosaur Jr. New single "Good Things" was a cool mid-set highlight, but the top tune for me was the jagged ferocity of "Used For Glue", accompanied by synchronised jumping from Walter and Rivers Cuomo lookalike guitarist Ian Love. Prior to this, the set closer, Walter had rather bizarrely quizzed the heaving crowd about David Beckham and the World Cup!

A more subdued 3 song encore rounded off a bloody good set from a band able to merge the ferocity of hardcore with a more tuneful and, yes, emotive approach. Hmmm, maybe that Emo tag isn't too inaccurate after all...

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