Thursday, 22 July 2010

422 WHEAT, Grand Theft Auto, London King's Cross Water Rats, Thursday 30 September 1999

Finally, I manage to do more than just set one foot in this venue this time, as opposed to the abortive Letters To Cleo gig those long years ago! But first, a few hours shopping in Camden with Rachel and a chance finding of a promo copy of, hey, the new Wheat album! Got to the venue fairly early and chatted while the place filled up, including spotting comedian and DJ Sean Hughes in the crowd! We looked around for Wheat folks but didn't spot any - mainly because we don't know what they look like yet!

Grand Theft Auto came and went in a nondescript manner, and when Wheat arrived onstage at 10, we scooted through the by-now crowded pub back-room venue and nudged our way to the front. Wheat started off with "Off The Pedestal", the edgy and discordant new single, and thereafter eased into their set in a very sublime, slightly understated but deliciously melodic way. Vocalist Scott Levesque in particular gave a fine performance full of nervous energy and moodiness. Beloved by my Boston buddy Ed Valauskas, this Boston band Wheat are a relatively new discovery for me, but I'm growing to love their warm, haunting and melodic pop, which comes across like a clash between the spacey, expansive Countrified Americana of Grandaddy and the epic haunting grandeur of Dumptruck. "Death Car" was superb, as was the stripped-back and chilling "Soft Polluted Blacks".

We hung around after the show and finally caught up with a couple of the Wheat boys. Guitarist Ricky Brennan and "totally wired" and enthusiastic new bassist Kevin Camara are friends of our Boston friends, so we had a good old chat about Boston and rock people. Left at 11.30, reluctantly refusing an invite back to their all-night hotel bar, as a 2 hour drive awaited us. A late one, but Wheat were well worth it!

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