Jarcrew, Kill Kenada, The Boxer Rebellion, Gold Cash Gold
Alex Worsnip 29/01/2004
Tonight, the achingly cool Metro club plays host to four bands, on the surface similar - all dressed in a similar, typically indie way, but in sound all rather different. We begin with Gold Cash Cold, who play a bluesy, sludgey rock set of grease and sleaze. Think BRMC crossed with some Aerosmith with less tunes and you're halfway there. They really have nothing new to offer, and are extremely muddy and uninteresting. You've heard it all before done so much better. "This is our first single. It's about assholes!" announces the lead singer with scarcely containable glee. Sigh....
Definitive improvement with The Boxer Rebellion, a band who I knew and liked before the gig. The Boxer Rebellion are indie music with a groove and a heavy twist. Its not earth-shaking but its a cool sound, especially on the gloriously hazy single 'Watermelon' and the balladic 'You and I'. They're signed to Alan McGee's Poptones label, and are surely McGee's coolest band since...well, Primal Scream, I suppose. Though that may not be saying much. And no, I haven't forgotten The Hives..
Next up are Kill Kenada, the band I'm most keen on seeing. Kill Kenada are quite similar to Sonic Youth - except they're from Bognor Regis. This might not sound like the greatest of accolades, but Kill Kenada are truly excellent, boasting a chaotic array of angular guitar sounds, yet keeping everything remarkably tight and controlled. The singer is simply astounding - his shouty, but precise and difficult vocals, in the hands of a lesser man, would simply fall apart live, yet he is noteperfect. Slightly underproduced on record, they rock with astonishing intensity live. The only quibble is how much they do sound like Sonic Youth (the guitarist wears a Sonic Youth badge on his guitar, overstating this a bit), and single 'Red and Black' bears a slight resemblence to both 'Chapel Hill' and 'Silver Rocket' in places, but that song itself is simply astounding, so we need not worry.
Finally there are headliners Jarcrew, who are one of the strangest propositions I've ever come across. They have a cheeky and apparently lunatic singer, who quipps about meeting H from Steps and clumsily but endearingly states things like "so...yeah..." between songs, later climbing onto the bar, and running about the audience, a drummer who both introduces the songs and produces prominent backing vocals, and a strange guitarist and bassist combo, who unlike the singer and drummer who exude cool and the epitomy of geekery, except that one is huge and the other absolutely miniscule. Together they produce equally disparate sounds, veering from assaultive hardcore to gentle lullaby to pulsing electronica to textured post-rock in a matter of seconds, and with songs that don't really fit together or make any kind of coherant whole. Yet their focus and musicianship is remarkable, and they make for an intriguing, if sometimes inconsistent, set.