Friday, 7 May 2010

507 THE STROKES, Moldy Peaces, Mull Historical Society, Oxford Zodiac, Tuesday 12 June 2001

The Strokes, The Strokes, The flippin' can't pick up a music paper (particularly the NME) without coming across reams and reams of column inches about them. The kids love The Strokes. NME loves The Strokes. They've even left a pretty favourable impression on this cynical old git to date, with an insistent debut single "The Modern Age" currently sitting atop my 2001 singles list so far. But can they cut it "live" when the spotlight is exclusively on them? Let's see...

Our intended number tonight was reduced by one, when Ady got a whack on the head with an iron bar at work, so was told, unsurprisingly, to rest up. Hence we had to call on Rachel's dad's car once again, getting there in good time to park up, have a quick drink in the Bullingdon Arms, sell our spare ticket to an eager punter outside, and still get into this already-heaving venue before first band, on at 8.30! Said band, on this Rough Trade showcase, was newcomers Mull Historical Society. From write-ups I'd read about this lot, I was expecting some kind of quirky, unorthodox bunch of Scottish folky types, like a Scottish Mercury Rev, or even Hobotalk. However, their set was so trad and derivative it was like watching an Oasis tribute band. Rachel even commented that their first number sounded like Robbie Williams - horrible thought! Rach and I headed back to the bar, surprised also by their arrogance - bottom of the bill and they come on to dry ice and backing music!
Ran into former 5.30 frontman Tara Milton at the bar, chatting again about those hectic 5.30 gigs. Indeed, the stars were out tonight; after Rach and I headed out to a vantage point near the gent's loos, we ran in to Kevin from Seafood (always in the loos, eh?), then whilst standing there before Moldy Peaches' set, Rach's foot was trodden on by Radiohead vocalist Thom Yorke! Freaky!

Anyway, back to the music. Or was it? Moldy Peaches, up next, were a very strange duo dressed in Robin Hood and Cat costumes, who strummed some very weird stuff which I can only describe as Jonathan Richman's goofier moments, with added swear words. Sorry, Kimya Cat-woman, I have no desire to lick your puss-yyy, so Moldy Peaches music went straight over my head. But then I guess I was neither drunk or a teen student, so I wasn't their target audience anyway...

So, 2 crap supports over with, it was finally time for The Strokes. They joined the stage, 5 skinny New York punks in ratty t-shirts and scruffy thrift-shop suits, certainly looking the part. And musically, they fitted the bill too, kicking off with the title track "Is This It?" from their forthcoming debut CD, then bursting into the itchy, insistent garage punk of wonderful first single "The Modern Age". Nice touch - get it over with quickly! This really energised the crowd into a frenzied mosh, and The Strokes took that as a cue, delivering a fine, energetic set. They look like they sound; young, brash, angular, punkish, nervous and agitated but confident in their ability and potential. "Barely Legal", with its' evident nod to Boston rock (the verse sounds like Big Dipper's "Wrong In The Charts", and the chorus is a dead ringer for The Sheila Divine's "Automatic Buffalo") was an early highlight, but also spot-on was forthcoming single "New York City Cops", with a big savage riff-led chorus. That said, the set retained the insistent tinniness and scratchiness of the best New Wave bands from the 70's. Fitting that, in a year that we lost Joey Ramone, that New York spits out a young band with the potential to take over The Ramones' mantle. Excellent stuff from a band not yet worth all the hype, but with oodles of potential.

Nice blokes as well! Pretty much as soon as the lights were up after the show, they were out chatting to fans and signing stuff (including my set-list!). All were very humble and seemingly amazed by their current success. So far, they're making the right moves and doing the right things to ensure they deserve it!

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