65daysofstatic, I was A Cub Scout, Tiger Force, Frank Turner, Dead!Dead!Dead!
Kev Eddy 16/09/2006
It's about two in the afternoon that the sunshine and barbecue smoke of Brick Lane gives way to the heat and gloom of 93 Feet East. Smalltown America Records' third all-day event promises much, with a sparkling selection from the up-and-coming young pretenders - London and beyond.
There are certainly good signs from the outset. The Mighty Roars throw out their tip-top straight-up brand of garage punk with great style and panache. What they do may not be groundbreaking but the passion shines through - and with tunes this good it doesn't matter.
After a quick dash to the second room (the first of many into what really should have been named the Sauna Stage), we're confronted by the twee-noise hookorama that is Tiger Force. Occupying the same musical arena as Bearsuit and Help! She Can't Swim, this duo and their bubble machine have improved leaps and bounds in the last six months. Even so, they were mildly wearying after 25 minutes. Lots of promise.
Dead! Dead! Dead! sell themselves as 'Arcade Fire-in-training'. Interesting description, but there was more of Terrorvision around their sound than the Canadian wailers. Perhaps that's cruel. D!D!D!, to be fair, have elements that sound like a lot of bands - even so, they do make a valiant effort to make something unique, and they certainly have potential.
I never realised how emo Jetplane Landing were before. Andrew Ferris' solo acoustic set really frees the emotive side of the band, and even the odd angrier number seems well suited to his alternative interpretations. His covers - Public Enemy's Bring the Noise and Cyndi Lauper's Girls Just Wanna Have Fun - were also inspired.
I'm afraid, though, that I found Oppenheimer thoroughly dull. Perhaps in a different setting, surrounded by bands of lesser quality, there'd be more to say about them. Not today though.
Back in the Sauna, there's a man who needs four arms. Pagan Wanderer Lu gives us a discordant electrofolk treat in the heat, with older and newer songs sitting together happily. Sometimes, though, I wish he'd get someone to help him out onstage, as his one-man-band DIY aesthetic threatens to derail the set occasionally. He gets away with it, but only just.
Frank Turner continues the folk offensive, albeit in a more traditional vein. His tales of North London life seems to have attracted quite a following, with the crowd spilling every which way, and with good reason. Falling somewhere between Billy Bragg and Henry Rollins in his more confessional moments, Frank delivers a truly superb set, and one that proves you don't have to wear a white vest to be hardcore.
Blood Red Shoes are running late, so I Was A Cub Scout pick up the majority of the crowd. And how they do it. With an unmiked drumkit in the middle of the room which leads the assault, Cub Scout sound like Death From Above 1979 with synths instead of distorted bass. A must-see.
Due to the need for burger, an ill-timed call from a family member and a far-too-packed sauna for Scanners, it's 65daysofstatic who end up being the next (and last) band of today. True to form - and their well-deserved reputation as one of the best live bands in the UK today - they're beyond superb. The stop-start quiet-loud glitch-filled wall of noise, backed up by equally uncompromising projected visuals dominate the room, creating the sensation that the music exists independently of these four men: that a spirit has been conjured somewhere between their instruments and the audience.
The advent of new material promises much, as well. Tauter, more complex, more sensitive, but still utterly compelling. With the set brought to an end by triumphant versions of Radio Protector and Retreat! Retreat!, it feels as though you're watching the end of a chapter in the Book of 65. If there was ever a band that deserves greatness, this is they. I, for one, can't wait to read on.