Thursday, 23 September 2010

351/ 352 THE WANNADIES, Warm Jets, Westpier, Bristol Bierkeller and Reading Alleycat "Live", Tuesday/ Wednesday 27/28 May 1997

A big Wannadies double-header; I already had tickets with a posse for the Reading gig, before my brother called up to check my availability for the Bristol show. I didn't take much persuasion! So, t'was first to Bristol; a quick trundle down to Budlet's place in my work hire car then got us to the Bierkeller just as Westpier were rounding off their anonymous opening support set.

I trundled down the front for the Warm Jets set, however. They came on at 9 and were mighty fine; I was only familiar with their jerky new wave stylee singles "Autopia" and "Never Never", but Warm Jets revealed there was more to their portfolio, with some absorbing guitar and bass work from our very own Colleen Browne (yes, she of Parachute Men, Heart Throbs and Pale Saints fame!) embellishing well-crafted and moody pop songs played with care; a little too much care to start off with, but hey, they loosened up!

The pre-main event tape featured a Flaming Lips classic which had me shouting along, "and now, she's got Helly-copters!!! Yes She Has!!!!" at the top of my voice, bemusing Budlet somewhat. We then got tickled by a couple of teenage girlies. Weird! Anyway, the 'Dies burst onstage at 10, to their kick-ass punk rock opener "Because". I piled in the moshpit and decided to kick ass myself! The Wannadies tonight were awesome; as good as, if not better than, I'd ever seen them before. Relying heavily on their upfront, in your face new CD "Bagsy Me", their 2-pronged visual attack of mad, fluffy haired vocalist Par (the man with the best hair in rock, according to an impressed Budlet afterwards) and gyrating keyboardist Christina were a riveting sight, as the band belted out their soaring, harmonic pure pop anthems with surprising and snarling venom. A brilliant, brilliant set, with "You And Me Song" an obvious highlight. I emerged from the moshpit soaked but exhilarated - again!

That wasn't it, though, as we hung around afterwards, catching our breath and watching the techies pack up, and eventually bumped into Colleen, who remembered me from days past and got us backstage to get setlists signed! Result!

After that, Reading was bound to find it hard to match up, but nevertheless it was pretty cool too. Tim's posse and myself bopped down to find a queue outside the refurbished Alleycat, with Tim also a little pissed off that his gig with Ish here in a couple of weeks wasn't being advertised! We watched Westpier from the balcony bar, quickly realising that their entire set was as anonymous as the bit I'd seen the previous night.

I then trotted down stage front for Warm Jets again, who let their hair down and rocked out much more tonight, their set benefitting as a consequence. Warm Jets are the first new 1997 band I've seen, who succeed in writing haunting and moody songs without sounding like Radiohead. Fair play to them; I bopped furiously to their set, of which the metronomically absorbing "Future Signs" was the highlight.

Tim and I stayed stage front afterwards, seemingly being joined by the entire population of Reading! I made some girl's night by giving her a copy of last night's signed set-list as a birthday present, with her boyfriend remarking I must be, "the nicest bloke in the world!" Oh yeh, and the pre-set tape was the same, so I was shouting, "she's got Helly-copters!!!" again!

The Wannadies played the same set as last night, just as superbly, just as dynamically, just as punky and just as poppy! The Reading crowd were an even more manic lot, and we were buffeted about down the front, picking up a few bruises in the process. But hey, we didn't care, as we were mad for it, high on life and on the Wannadies perfect pop tunes. Another great set from a special band, and another brilliant 1997 concert. Over the two, I think Bristol shaded it for me, but both sets provided evidence that Warm Jets are a band who are going places, but the Wannadies are already there!

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