The Long Blondes, Brakes, 1990s - Fringe benefits: The Long Blondes & Brakes

Clark Summers 01/11/2006

The Long Blondes + The 1990's (Birmingham Academy 2) ...

Last Saturday (28th October) witnessed the first ever Long Blondes gig in Birmingham and long-time Blondes devotee F.B. was there to savour the occasion. The gig itself was at the Academy 2 - a rather odd venue, reminiscent of a gutted electronics super-store, minus shiny products of course but with the added bonus (not) of hideously expensive bar prices - 3.10 for a pint of C*****g! On the plus side it meant there was no chance of us falling into the trap of many a blogger and proclaiming every band we saw on Saturday night to be "the future of indie rock!".

The 'Blondes delivered a short, sharp set of future classics from forthcoming debut album 'Someone To Drive You Home' the pick of which was the simply delectable 'You Could Have Both'. Lost gem 'Fulwood Babylon' and the less generic disco stomper 'Five Ways To End It' also got an airing along with familiar staples 'Giddy Stratospheres' (less Blondie-fied live) and 'Once and Never Again'. Like heroes Suede the band obviously put a lot of thought into every track (not just the 'A' sides) and their overall aesthetic/approach while hardly original is rather impressive and somewhat admirable given the current trend in popular indie rock circles for dumbing down. Front-woman Kate Jackson is certainly one of the more interesting characters to have found favour with the NME of late and the band have certainly become a lot tighter and better drilled as a live outfit since the start of 2006.

Support on the night came from Rough Trade's highly fancied The 1990's. Their jerky post punk reminded us of a less poppy more sloppy Franz Ferdinand mixed with dashes of Television and The New York Dolls (well 'Personality Crisis' at any rate). F.B. is still somewhat unconvinced by them despite having a soft spot for debut single 'You Made Me Like It'. Maybe it's the pop culture references? We're always a sucker for them.

Without wishing to make this post sound like a mini homage to Rough Trade Records... readers would be well advised to point their browsers in the direction of Fluxblog who deliver the goods again with a quite wonderful cut from the new Brakes album which coincidentally arrives in U.K. stores on the same day as The Long Blondes debut L.P. - Monday 6th November fact fans! After the deluge of Peel Session releases last week someone out there is clearly aiming to bankrupt F.B. before the year's out.

Long Blondes - Once and Never Again (Promo Video)

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