Hot Club De Paris, Johnny Foreigner, Untitled Music Project, Kidnapper Bell
Christopher Upton 27/06/2009
There's a definite air of 'cool' in the air in the Victoria. While Hot Club De Paris aren't as hot a property as they once were, on the bill tonight we also have a band in the form of Johnny Foreigner who have enough buzz to attract all the city's indie movers and shakers. That term is probably a contradiction in terms though as movement is strictly limited to bar visits, leaning over to talk to friends or clapping at the end of songs. This means it's not the most exciting prospect for some quite energetic bands. But, it's a thrill to have Johnny here ahead of their second album and in their home town.
First support act Kidnapper Bell borrow heavily from The Dismemberment Plan, utilising similar complex guitar work and intricate song breaks. While a talented band they don't quite have the skilled tempo changes honed down, and they often sound misplaced and disjointed. The audience have caught on to the Dismemberment Plan vibe though by doing the standing still, some guy at one point even asks the band to by quiet as he was on the phone.
It isn't easy to ingratiate yourself though, even if you're local. Birmingham's Untitled Musical Project are usually an exciting live prospect. Borne from the ashes of Mclusky they break out the intelligent thrash indie effectively and violently. Unfortunately, tonight they appear to be a band that has given up. As they sing the refrain of Endless Deodorant and Bad Shoes: 'all you'll find here is dead rock stars,' it's almost too perfect and when guitarist Keiran's strings broke it was almost inevitable. The band's set is mercifully short and while a few members of the audience attempt to resuscitate them it's clear things are over.
This sets quite a precedent for Johnny Foreigner, charged with the task of bringing an ailing evening back to life. They don't achieve the impossible task of dislodging the static crowd, but they still manage to drench everyone in sweat in what has become a miniature sauna instead of a pub. Ripping through new tracks, from a seemingly bottomless repertoire they add to every time they play, these don't sound out of place next to favourites Salt, Peppa and Spinderella and Yes! You Talk Too Fast. The healthy mix of songs includes a breakneck version of Sofacore from their first E.P. The new songs aren't a massive leap forward for the band, retaining the localised lyrics and punchy guitars, but they're excitingly tight even when thrashed through.
Hot Club De Paris seem like the perfect band to finish off the night. Their poppy melodies and sing-a-long lyrics mean they're easy listening Indie and enjoyable at any time. Except for right now. With a late start to the night, a lot of people appear to have one eye on the clock to avoid being stranded in the city. While tight as ever, the singles are dutifully played to a depleting audience that seem increasingly disinterested. Johnny Foreigner state during their set 'we're from here so we can insult the place,' and while there may indeed be things to find fault with, tonight they prove that music in this city isn't one of them.
Hot Club De Paris Myspace
Johnny Foreigner Myspace