Friday, 11 February 2011

You're not in Manchester any more....

Axis Of
with Battleships
Always The Quiet Ones
This Is Two
Zanzibar, Liverpool
Rating: 4/5
There was a kind of pleasing symmetry about tonight; my first (and last, unless you count the fiasco that was collecting an eBay-purchased drum kit last year) trip to Liverpool was nearly two years ago, and in a roundabout way that's exactly why I'm back. That night, supporting My Vitriol were a cracking band called Connectingflight doing that whole Oceansize/Biffy thing. I bought an EP, liked it and so occasionally checked back in to see what they were doing. That band was soon toast, but out of its ashes came In Casino Out, and through them I discovered Battleships, hence the trip over tonight (though I should add that Metamusic Phil also introduced me to Axis Of recently, which was basically "cashback", as Partridge would say).  
The problem was that I didn't see Battleships. Through nobody's fault that I can tell, the gig started pretty late (which was just as well really, as it gave the venue time to fill up), so I only had a chance to see This Is Two and ATQO, whose EP I bought and will review later (incidentally also my second pay-it-forward moment; the first was ripping up and binning a bank mini statement somebody had accidentally left in an ATM). 
Anyway, enough bullshit. First up were This Is Two. Honestly, I don't know how old these dudes are, and I think I'm probably underestimating, but they've got a pretty solid sound for their years. Yes, they need to drop that faux-Biffy intro, because everybody in the room has heard 'Living is a Problem...', but apart from that I actually rather liked what they were doing- at the end of the day, it's always very welcome with me to see any band having the balls to play real guitar rock these days. At first their singer's voice really did not click, with alternate howls and overdramatic wails being a bit much, but once they found their groove I couldn't fault it any longer. In general (my nitpicking aside), their set was killer, they had swagger (but not in the cuntish Oasis way) and I'd happily part with cold hard cash for an EP.... except it's not out yet, so I guess I'll have to wait. In the meantime google them and decide for yourself; it's 1:30am and I cannot be fucked to find a link. 
Second up were Always the Quiet Ones, who I'd heard briefly before and thought "hmmm yes, a little bit Soundgardeny, this is alright...." Live though, they are fucking ace. Like fucktacklarly brilliant. Like, they just made all the ladies in the front row pregnant. Fucking A, motherfucker. At the risk of hitting a critical mass of swearwords, I'm gonna assure you here that they really are that good; turned down is the post-2000 arbitrarily jagged style one might attribute to the Biff or the 'Size (or, equally I spose ATD-I or YCNI:M), turned up is the rock, and it's like fucking 1992 again. Except it's not, because there's lots of textures, atmospherics, math turns, post-rock turns and just really interesting shit thrown into the song structures to show you that it's a throughly contemporary sound. Besides that, the songs are all fucking long, and who ever heard of prog grunge (outside of my practice space, I mean)? The venue's also filled up, and it's been possibly four years since I've seen a room this full to see an unsigned rock band. Conclusion: I need to move to Liverpool. Anyway, like you give a fuck, their best song was 'Freak Show' which, by a cruel twist of fate, is not on the EP I bought before I had to bail back to the train station. I got there with a minute to spare, so fucking go me. 
If I were you, I'd check out every band I've mentioned here, including the ones I didn't see (and I've included a player below so you can hear the ATQO Headcase EP; if I were me, I'd fucking go to bed. Which reminds me.... 

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