Monday, 7 April 2008

We Fly Spitfires(one song anyway)/4 or 5 Magicians/Sabotage Left/Cove @ WelikedangerousWrongpop 10 band all-dayer, The Glebe, Stoke. April 5th.

Review by Steve Dean

Photo by Simon Bamford

Unfortunately, we were only able to afford the time to see the first four acts on this impressive WelikedangerousWrongpop bill, missing most of Alsager band We Fly Spitfires’ set to boot. Still, I saw enough to say that the three-piece power pop men played ‘Ashtray’, the one song we did hear, with adequate fired-up enthusiasm and energy to arouse interest and we’ll see if we can catch them again soon.

4 or 5 Magicians, currently on tour and hailing from Brighton on the South coast, play with a certain bouncy joie de vivre; despite singer and band songwriter Dan Ormsby’s anouncement that they would normally still be in their beds at that hour of the afternoon. Kicking in with the memorable ‘I’m in the Band’ this outfit plays with a loud and easy charm which lingered pretty much throughout the band’s entire playlist. Like 90s band Blur before them, to whom they bear more than a passing musical resemblance, and David Bowie’s 60s pop period before that, their songs have a very ‘English’ appeal and possess an almost homely atmosphere all of their own. Some powerful drumming and natty twin-leadwork stood out in particular and Dan’s songwriting being as commercially strong as it is, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they do very well indeed. They have a single ‘Change the Record’ out on the 21st of this month, get a listen for yourself.

When it comes to fire, grit and raw pulsating energy, I’ve seen few bands constantly hit the level attained by Birmingham rockers Sabotage Left here at the Glebe this afternoon. Playing as if seething with a barely-suppressed inner rage, drummer Damon Cocko drove the band along at a furious pace as singer and guitarist Oliver Craddock vented his spleen via some melodic, impassioned vocals and ripping guitarwork. With his workmanlike right–hand technique, able bassist Joshua Craddock’s pounding runs ensured maximum delivery as this band’s half-hour slot afforded some great tunes put across with an almost brutal sincerity and sense of angry purpose. Throwing their instruments to the floor at the conclusion of the set, they seemed to be truly moved and drained by their efforts. Not too many bands finish their act feeling like that. Then again, not many bands play with this sort of passion. Impressive stuff.

Cove is something else again. Purely instrumental apart from the odd muttered word and barely audible verse, Cove specialise in hard-hitting and somewhat discordant heavy metal; although not overly-well presented; the gaps between tunes being so lengthy, it almost seemed as if the guitarist and occasional singer was not aware he was actually on a stage. All that aside though, he certainly gets into his music, most of the songs appearing to be lengthy jams interspersed with set pieces. Having not heard a stage-jamming band for many years, I was quite pleased to be informed that they were back in fashion, so to speak. Due to lack of info on relevant sites, I could only identify Tony Mountford anchoring things down on bass, having seen him playing here a short while back with the Notorious Hi-Fi Killers, and I would also like to compliment the drummer on his good ‘n’ heavy stickwork. To me, the set itself had rather little content, considering the sparse vocals, but they were given a fantastic reception by the audience; and really, that’s what it’s all about.

The Glebe buzzing with good vibes all day, I’m assured that the rest of the evening, despite hiccups with bands’ transport breaking down on route etc, went really well; the celebrated Andy Robbins stepping in at the last moment to cover for one band unable to make it. Well done to Steve Clarke and Welikedanger for yet another successful Wrongpop venture. Here’s to many more.

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