Hello, The Brudenell Social Club. Your cosy working men's club interior and your brilliantly cheap bar have been the host to some great shows as of late. A couple of days ago it was Lemuria, back in the UK for the second time, and Dave House, promoting his new album.
First, though, we must say hello to the Cost of Living, a regular fixture at northern punk shows, sadly playing together for the last time. They blasted through a great selection of short, sharp, angry punk rock songs with a girl on vocals and I would compare them to either Lemuria or Discount if I could have heard them a bit better (The Brudenell's sound is occasionally less than perfect), but as it stands, I couldn't really decide who they were more like.
Then we greet A Broken Robot, who will be with Lemuria and Dave for half of the tour. With few words and little messing around, they revealed themselves as the math rock band that no live bill appears to be complete without these days. Plenty of finger tapping, jerky rhythms and dancey synths proved that a token math rock band was better than a token ska band, and A Broken Robot can be added to the fast-growing list of great British bands.
I was excited to see Dave House (you know, the guy from the Steal) as tonight would be my first time -- whenever I'd had the chance before, something unfortunate happened. Last time, for example, my car broke down right outside my house as I was on the way to the venue. Tonight, though, I'd survived the trains, the weather conditions and all other trials, and Dave House did not disappoint me. Assisted by a backup guitarist/bassist and with a bass drum at his feet, he treated us to a handful of new songs, a bunch of stuff from See That No One Else Escapes and a few older tracks. A small amount of friendly heckling persuaded him to tear through a sped-up version of the already quick "For an Afternoon" and a little more yelling for him to play "Beep Beep Hi Hi" earned us a surprise: He unplugged his guitar, encouraged people to start setting up on stage if they like, hops in to the crowd, tells everyone to gather round him and plays it with everyone singing along. Amazing.
Dave House is an all-around nice guy, his songs overflowing with charm and, with Frank Turner's recent rise to mainstream fame, he more than fills the gap in the market for intimate acoustic shows by someone offering just that little bit more than your typical singer-songwriter.
Lemuria seemed to come out of nowhere. You could perhaps call them victims of the Nothing Nice to Say curse, after all; I first heard of them in Mitch Clem's comic, just before they started to shoot to popularity, but they would probably have gotten there on their own anyway. Melodic and poppy, with super sweet boy/girl vocals, but still definitely a punk band, Get Better was one of last year's best records, and live they sound even better -- a bit heavier and more urgent, making a surprising amount of noise for three relatively small people. Sticking mostly to stuff from Get Better, they occasionally brought out an older song, such as three of the best tracks from their split with Kind of Like Spitting, and the crowd reacted well, standing closer to the stage than I've ever seen at the Brudenell and singing along, which just goes to show the respect and following Lemuria have gained in quite a short time.
It's well deserved, too, as they were lovely people, seeming genuinely grateful for the support. When they had drum problems, we held a brief discussion on Warren's departure from Against Me! (the drummer from Lemuria looked quite a lot like Tom Gabel, by the way), and requests for songs were either gladly honoured or sincerely apologised for, with the promise that they'd play it next time. Lemuria created an amazingly friendly atmosphere, a safe place to enjoy something honest. They are, quite frankly, an incredible live band. Do not miss them.
- Get Some Sleep
- Bee Spit
- Keep Quiet
- Bristles and Whiskers
- some other song I can't remember