It’s Saturday morning and I’m struggling. I’ve planned and want to see a bit of the afternoon gig at the Model Inn featuring Super Tennis and Tubelord, but my ageing, aching body is not going to let me, so it’s an afternoon with Gillette Soccer Saturday and copious cups of tea. I’m annoyed with myself, but it means by the time the bands kick off in the Gate I am at least capable of movement. It’s just as well, as the Gate is not a venue that caters well for the infirm, with two flights of stairs between the main hall and the bar, as well as the barrier that must be hurdled in order to reach the floor. I resist this necessity for Sparky Deathcap however and take a seat in one of the old pews. His brand of softly spoken Anti-folk doesn’t really kick in until the backing band is brought on for the penultimate song, and the music finally reaches those of us at the back. Copy Haho are next, and a real revelation to me, elevating their melodic hummable indie pop, from decent guitar pop tunes to something far more powerful and energetic, including songs such as ‘Wrong Direction’ and managing to beef up everything enough to fill the cavernous church. However, about half way through the bassist mysteriously disappears, to the surprise of his band mates, only returning towards the end in the middle of the crowd. Answers on a postcard please.
I want to try and catch Internet Forever, but the queue at the bar combined with service a sloth with M.E. would find slow means I miss out (sorry Chris). Back upstairs, more hurdling and it’s time for Dananananaykroyd, and I don’t care if I’ve spelt it wrong. This is my first live encounter with Dana… It’s fair to say I don’t think I’ve ever seen a band this loud also be simultaneously this happy, and with the now mandatory ‘wall of cuddles’, crowdsurfing and general euphoria accompanying ferocious party rock tracks as ‘Greater Than Symbol And The Hash’ and ‘Black Wax’, both band and audience are left beaming and wanting more. Luckily for everyone then, Los Campesinos are headlining. Since I last saw them they’ve released two albums, or an album and a record if you prefer. And you can tell they’ve spent a long time playing these songs. What was a naively promising band two years ago has matured into a headlining act more than deserving of the position. With a third album on the way new songs are mixed with songs from the second record (Miserabilia, Ways To Make It Through The Wall) and all interspersed with now old favourites such as You Me & Dancing and Don’t Tell Me To Do The Math. They now have more than enough quality songs to fill their slot, and Gareth seems to have really grown into his role as focal point for the seven piece, interacting seamlessly with band mates and the crowd, all culminating in a gigantic indie rock love in featuring crowdsurfing members of LC, Danana and JoFo for the finale. It was really really really good.
We manage to dash across town in time to catch the bulk of Slow Club at Dempseys, but to be honest, it proves a bit anticlimactic. Whereas Los Campesinos have really kicked on, Sheffield’s Slow Club seem to have stalled. Maybe I’ve caught them on an off night, and the crowd is amongst the worst of the weekend for whispering and fidgeting, but there’s no magic here. Gone are the unusual spoons, pots and pans used as percussion, and there’s less interaction between Charles Rebecca and the audience than when I’ve seen them previously. Perhaps if they’d played earlier in the weekend, and not close to midnight on Saturday it would’ve been different.
Never mind, the Moshi Moshi DJ’s then played R Kelly and Erasure, I got drunk, spent far too much money and had a brilliant weekend. Cheers Huw.