It feels like I’m coming out of hibernation... following a man-flu infested Christmas and a gig-free January (the first such month since July 2013...), it feels like the year’s finally getting under way with this, the first of two in two nights, and 5 in Feb! After seeing splendid young bucks Get Inuit at Start The Bus in November (gig 965), I’d described their sound as a plethora of summery powerpop bands distilled down through a distinctly 2015 filter; however after picking up the buoyant guitar noise of their 9-track EP, it kinda came down to 2, namely Silver Sun and The Candyskins, locked in a scrap over who gets the last sunbed. Certainly enough to drag this old rocker down to Bristol on a school night for some surf-punk infused fun!
So I hit the road at 7 and easily found the Exchange (a new one on me), parking down the road and hitting this scuzzy rabbit warren venue (which recalled Southampton’s fine Joiner’s Arms) midway through openers Many Monika. A trio fronted by an androgynous but hirsute male vocalist with quite the highest-pitched lilt I’ve heard since Sweet Jesus’s Ben Bentley, only with a similarly fey speaking voice. Despite a poor early turnout (about half a dozen punters and assorted Get Inuit chaps), he gamely shook his booty onstage to some punchy glam pop, of which penultimate number, “Suburbia” was the best, a Lou Reed style street story set to some VU-esque droney guitar. Not bad for starters, and better than the next band up, local lot Van Zeller. Following a somewhat fiddly soundcheck, they took the stage to a suddenly full and fulsomely enthusiastic home crowd (clearly everyone they knew...), and played some high-octane and driving but formulaic and ham-fisted rock, which went down well with da yoof. Not for me though, so I passed the time chatting with various passing members of Get Inuit, vocalist Jamie popping over having remembered me from Start The Bus, which was nice.
Everyone fucked off after Van Zeller! As tour support Fish Tank soundchecked, I commented to a fellow punter that there was a crowd here, once... So Fish Tank again came onstage to a small clutch of interested punters, but, undeterred, they set to their task with gusto. Another 3 piece, they had the right attitude (evinced by the bespectacled vocalist’s opening shout of, “Oi! Smokers outside! Fish Tank are on!”), and an immediately evident ear for a snappy, Britpop-influenced tune. Clearly of a similar hue to their tour buddies and headliners, their set was upbeat, spritely, hook-laden and eminently listenable crunchy guitar pop with some modish push’n’shove rhythms. No little humour either; early between-song banter consisted of, “small talk between songs but keep short!” and new single “The Bend” was introduced with, “this is our next single, we hope you like it ‘cos if you don’t we’re fucked!” This toughened-up number featured some intricate guitar picking from said vocalist, plus some Frank Turner-esque bellowing during the strident chorus. By the cacophonous climax of finale “Wizard” they’d enticed a good crowd back. Good set – good band!
So again, a bit of a wait in an empty room (where does everyone go?) as Get Inuit set up. Rather than issuing a bolshy rallying cry to start their set, however, they kicked straight into opener, the glorious helium pop of “Mean Heart” bang on 10. The irresistible mutant surf-psychobilly gallop of “I Would” was next up, and I rocked out as best my dodgy and heavily strapped knee would allow (dancing from the hips up these days, guys...!). Vocalist Jamie promised us, “a margarine tub of songs!” and delivered them with soaring, nasally tinged vocals and an energetic, kinetic and pliable performance, ably backed up by his equally up-for-it bandmates. The quiet/loud dynamics of newie “Barbiturates” featured some pregnant pause mucking about and playful “Sweet Child Of Mine” riffery, also showing a hitherto-unseen darker edge to their rampantly optimistic guitar pop, whilst “My Oh My” possessed a singalong, Buddy Holly-like chorus hook and deserves to be a Summer smash. Some Fish Tank baiting and drummer Rob’s repeated playing of the “Seinfeld” theme on a beatbox provided some between-song fun, and “Pro Procastinator” was again a flappy-gummed quickfire pseudo New Wave delight. All too soon, the set was done, Jamie remarking, “time for bed, take your calpol!” to the young crowd, before the soaring chorus of final number “I Am The Hot Air” concluded a set which for me cemented Get Inuit as a very very promising band indeed, and hopefully a regular on future gig itineraries.
All splendid chaps too, writing some lovely compliments on my setlist afterwards, and a quick chat with Jamie onstage revealed he’d checked out – and loved – Silver Sun following my recommendation. Cool! A damn fine way to kick off 2016’s gigging year overall, and you bet I’ll be back for more Get Inuit!