I’m not quite sure why The Young Knives played the Night & Day last Thursday in what seems like a step backwards after selling out the Academy 3 last October and being booked to play the Academy 2 next month. I’m not complaining though; this could be our last chance to catch the band in such a small venue for some years.
Opening was Peg Simone, who I’d never heard before and who impressed JustHipper much more than she impressed me, probably due to a lack of pretense and kookiness. She played solo, with a guitar that dwarfed her tiny frame, and her strident bluesy rock was initially intriguing but soon began to grate. PJ Harvey does this sort of thing in her sleep and Simone’s vocals and guitar skills seem merely average in comparison.
We saw The Answering Machine a couple of times last year and not much seems to have changed since then; they still sound like a twee version of The Strokes with lyrics by David Gedge; they still have that innocent charm about them, aided by lead singer Martin’s constantly good-humoured self-analysis, picking apart his own between-song banter, at one point giving out the band’s MySpace address, thumbs raised, and immediately realising that he looks like a complete twat. With equipment failing around them he apologised profusely for the on-stage shambles, though it wasn’t their fault and, if anything, they seemed slightly less shambolic than they were last year. They’re still great, however. All the familiar songs were there; “Oh Christina”, “Anthony” and “Oklahoma” got things underway but it was “Your Home Address” that was the real winner. They played a new song at the end and, though it was up to par with the rest of their material, it was disappointing that it followed their own formula so closely.
The Young Knives played a blinder, as I knew they would. Kicking off with your two best songs might not be the best of moves for many bands but these guys have got so many other songs snapping at the ankles of “She’s Attracted To” and “Part Timer” that after this momentous opening salvo the pace and the quality never dropped. With drummer Ollie stuck way at the back of the stage the Brothers Dartnell set about their songs with an energy that belied their physique. You could trace the timeline of the gig through the sweat stain on House Of Lords’ shirt as it grew and grew until the final dry patch disappeared and it was just about time to wrap things up. As that stain was growing we got cracking versions of “Weekends And Bleak Days” and “The Decision” while “In The Pink” was sublime with House’s manic delivery of the verse brought down to earth by the sweet harmonious chorus. There was plenty of amusing banter between the two brothers but sadly none of Henry’s incredible breakdancing that we saw when they supported Clor a couple of years ago at the Roadhouse. With House’s shirt ready for the wash they closed with “Here Comes The Rumour Mill” and then returned to play a song they claimed to have only just written. It was called, I think, “The Petomane” and though, like The Answering Machine’s newie, it offered no great change of musical direction, it was a corking tune worthy of ending such a cracking gig.
The Answering Machine – Oklahoma
The Young Knives – Here Comes The Rumour Mill
File under Gig Reviews, Reviews, mp3.