Thursday, 29 July 2010
403 EL NINO, Medal, One Lady Owner, Bristol Fleece, Tuesday 27 April 1999
One of the rare times I get to drive! If memory serves me right, in fact, this is the first time since having my fuel lines cut - at this very venue!
So, I picked Rachel up and parked the car close to the venue with a certain amount of trepidation, and popped over to the deserted Fleece, which wasn't even open yet! Had a couple of games of pool in the pub next door, then got in; there were free CDs for the first 50 through the door so we were keen to get in, but we needn't have worried as we were 3rd and 4th in!
The place was still very quiet indeed for the entrance of the first band; despite being arguably the best-known of the three on this triple-header, One Lady Owner were first, at 10 to 9. They played a very metronomic set of their gloomy, doomy rock, which was good in part, invariably when a bit of unexpected keyboard showed through. The vocalist looks like a brickie, or an extra from "Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels" and has a gravelly growl like the vocalist from goth lot Fields Of The Nephilim.
So, to Medal. At least I thought they were called Medal, they might have been called Radiohead Jr., as they were a total rip-off of "The Bends"-era 'Head. Sorry kids, I don't care if you're from Oxford, someone else has already had that idea! Luckily, we were relieved of the monotony of watching all of Medal's set, by spotting El Nino hit the venue, then sneaking backstage to re-acquaint ourselves with the splendidly gregarious Mr. Glenn Hicks. Turns out he's a friend of John Strohm - small world, isn't it!
We left the good gentlemen to prepare for their headlining set just as Medal came through to backstage, only to be assailed in the venue a few minutes later by Mr. Hicks again, not only introducing me to the drummer and enthusing about our travelling from Swindon for the show (hell, you Americans drive further for pizza...), not even only sharing my wide-eyed wonder about the new Flaming Lips sound, but also leaping off-stage pre-set and showing me the NASCAR sticker on his guitar!
All this camaraderie heightened expectations somewhat, but we were not to be disappointed as El Nino took the stage at 10.30ish. As instructed, Rachel and I rocked and rolled, and moved and shook to a fine opener "Codie Clear", which then segued nicely into barnstorming newie "Blue Sky", dedicated especially to David and Rachel from Swindon. Hmm, sounds familiar...
El Nino are one of those special bands who, "live", put their work on record totally in the shade. Incendiary, dynamic hard rock with a melodic edge, played with power, passion and much love. A fantastic set which left me breathless - lots of room to dance (the place was deserted - what's wrong with you, Bristol!) so we gave it loads.
Congrats from all the El Nino lads afterwards. A top rock show!