Wednesday, 7 July 2010

450 SEAFOOD, Lisbeen, Tenner, Southampton Joiner's Arms, Wednesday 7 June 2000

Another nice gig milestone reached and I'm pleased that landmark gig 450 falls to Seafood, the only British band currently doing the rounds that are really worth a damn right now. So Ady picked Rachel and myself up and the happy trio scooted off to the South coast. Ady's memory of Southampton's topography, gleaned from his rare sober Uni moments, proved nevertheless accurate, and we parked pretty much directly outside the venue, a large room in the back of a pub, with a layout resembling the old "Barfly" Falcon venue in London. Got in on the guest list (result!) thanks to an e-mail fired to Seafood bassist Kevin Hendrick, and met up with the Kevster on arrival, handing over a bunch of Boston rock tapes as thank you, for his enthusiastic perusal.

First band up were Tenner, who had supported the Llama Farmers at Moles last year. I'm pleased to report they've improved, virtually beyond recognition. This time, some spunky pop tunes are bubbling to the surface, and the ski-hatted vocalist was a considerably more riveting presence onstage, with a flippant bent not unlike early Wonderstuff. They may now be one to watch... Not so sure about Lisbeen. I thought, from my bar vantage point, that they had a female vocalist, but it turned out to be a rather muscular chap with a husky voice not unlike Tracey Chapman! The band churned out consistent but vaguely unsatisfying mid-paced rock with a slight Celtic lilt, apart form their best number, a Grant Lee Buffalo sound-alike called "Kentucky". Not too bad, but I could have done without the petulance at the end...

Seafood, however, are a much different kettle of fish (ouch!). Following a slow instrumental opener (a Billy Mahonie cover, apparently), they fairly exploded into "Belt", all power riffs and light and shade. Their set was brilliant; marvellously well-paced, with breathless adrenaline riff-outs followed by slower, more considered numbers. The delivery, though, was evidence of a band on the total top of their form. Shards of guitars strafing the audience, light and luminescence, action, devilment and dynamism by the bucketloads. I rocked out like a madman, losing a shoe during "Psychic Rainy Nights" but carrying on rocking barefoot, then being hurled into a big guy standing at the periphery of the mosh, spilling his beer all over him! Luckily he saw this as an accident, but nevertheless this 34 year old matched the young pups for stamina in the mosh, no doubt!

And the band played on! Seafood have lazily been compared (probably by myself as well, at some point!) to US alt rock acts such as Sonic Youth and Sebadoh, but nowadays there's a drive, and energy and passion to their music that's 100% Seafood. And tonight they held it in, then launched it full-on at Southampton. A fantastic set, for me even topping the shuddering brilliance of their Point set earlier this year, as I emerged, soaked yet exhilarated, from the mosh at the end. Once again, brilliant stuff, and a quick post-gig chat revealed that Kev thought it rocked as well!

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