Thursday, 27 May 2010

480 Striptwister, Tangible Fruit Squad, YOU ARE HERE, Woking "Boston Experience", Sunday 14 February 2001

Joining an eclectic bunch of bands (Del Amitri, Kingmaker and The Railway Children!) whom I've seen 3 gigs in a row (but still short of U2's 4 in a row record), we're off to see You Are Here again! This is also the first time since his former band 101 days that Tim's managed to persuade me to see one of his bands out of town. Actually he didn't need to do any persuading - I was there like a shot! So Rachel and I headed cross-country to Woking, a less arduous journey than thought - 1 1/2 hours through Bracknell and Bagshot. Easy! Less easy was finding the venue, as we'd parked over the opposite side of the station, then once over the right side, we ignored the venue's dirty great neon sign outside. D'oh!

Met the boys in the venue, a first floor wine bar wannabee with polished beige floor panelling and windows all along one side, giving it the feel of a nouveau riche youth club. Weird! The "Boston Experience" element extended to a smattering of pictures on the wall of Beantown and "The Bruins" Ice Hockey team, including one of their old ground "The Garden". Soundchecking came and went, as we chewed the cud with the boys, and the place filled with a suspiciously older looking clientele. I felt quite young really!

You Are Here were first on, getting the tap on the shoulder at 9. Taking the stage (or corner of the room, as it were), they bounded into their increasingly familiar jangly US-inspired intelligent rock. Despite their criticisms afterwards of not hearing the sound very well "onstage", the mix from where we were was pretty much spot on, clean and clear, with no one instrument dominating. The boys did it full justice with a committed and flaw-free performance. "Not A Summer Song", again mid-set, got me and Rach really throwing shapes with gay abandon, and the triumphant finale, "Trying To Write", with the insistent "On A Rope" grooved riff, the descending bassline and the strident, "yeah yeah" yelp of the chorus, surely must be polished up as their next single. And their increasing stage confidence showed, with Mark actually cutting loose from his mikestand for the "yeah yeah"s!

And we sussed out the true meaning of the "Boston Experience", because, as in Boston, Rach and I were the only ones dancing here as well! Despite that, YAH were very well received, particularly by the vocalist of Cranberries wannabees Striptwister, who gushed approval as we helped the guys pack gear up afterwards.

Stood at the rear for the second band, a bunch of baggy chancers with good musical technique but no togetherness whatsoever, who showed YAH's set up for the fault-free jewel it was by also being beset with technical and sound problems. We didn't stay for Striptwister - we'd heard their soundcheck! Bade farewell then had an equally swift and trouble-free drive home, again extolling the virtues of You Are Here!

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