Wednesday, 29 September 2010

343 SILVER SUN, Grass-Show, Don, Bristol Fleece, Thursday 6 February 1997

Continuing some seriously top-drawer gigs so far this embryonic new year, here's one that turned out to be another top-class triple-header at the Fleece! I bopped down with Beef and Ady, getting in just in time for a beer before first band Don came on. Don were a collection of chaps who'd obviously not just emerged from a student common room jam, looking more like they'd clocked up some miles on the rock'n'roll treadmill. Despite the "muso" image, however, they played a set of thoughtful, considered and well-constructed good old rock'n'roll, kind of Kevin McDermott Orchestra meets Pearl Jam, if you can imagine, but actually better than you'd imagine that particular clash of folky rock and grunge sounds. A good start!

Sweden's Grass-Show were next up; I'd picked up their single in the cheapo box at Manchester's Vinyl Exchange the previous weekend, and filed their driving rock under Mega City Four meets Husker Du on a dark night. How wrong I was, as they played an offbeat strumalong pop amalgam, suggesting Bettie Serveert, or at their best, fellow Swedes The Wannadies. Some superb numbers, especially the next single "1962", which had an fast, insistent groove, but also some disappointingly messy, sub-metal doom-thrash wigouts. Once they tighten up their quality control, however, they'll really be a name to watch out for!

Then, at 11, came Silver Sun. A band I'd been holding my breath to see, ever since their frenzied Sparks-meets-Ash single "Lava" pogoed its' way into my consciousness and left an indelible mark. I was expecting much - rather unfairly, perhaps - but I was not to be disappointed. From the get-go they were utterly brilliant, veering from mighty strumalong numbers with soaring melodies and US West coast harmonies so evocative you could feel the surf washing over you, to all-out amphetamine rushes of songs, complete with this incredible trademark helium harmonising. Vocalist James Broad, a Hank Marvin lookalike with the angular, jerky presence of Big Dipper's Bill Goffrier (high praise indeed!!!) looks like a geek but sings like a choirboy, and this set proved that Silver Sun are the freshest, feistiest, fizziest pop band on the market right now, turning me into a ragged, one man whirling dervish in the process. The best set by a British band since... ooh, I really don't know! And surely it's too early to proclaim this one gig of 1997, although whoever beats this will have to really go some!

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