Saturday, 21 January 2012

X rated. The Xcerts at The Borderline

The Xcerts*****
Flood Of Red*****

The Borderline 18th January 2012

Tote bags. Beards. Plaid. More beards. Fucking tote bags! Yup, tote bags. Sported by blokes. With beards. Bellends. Bearded bellends. With bags.What is going on? If any of the hipsters in tonight’s assembly decided to commit a murder, there’s no way a conviction would stick. Any identity parade would be declared erroneous because the line up would look identical. Even the women.

Sorry, I digress. tonight’s show promises the world. A buffet of slacker grunge alt bastards from all ends of this sceptred isle. 


First up are a trio from Southampton. Why that’s relevant is beyond me. Saying that, the old ship city is doing something right; Burn The Fleet and, er, Craig David among the marine diesel infused conurbation's issue.

So what was on offer? A jaunty enough start with a U2 ish delay fest followed by some tapping and guitar whizziness all backed by a big-arsed bass and, well, to be honest, an average drummer.

Nonetheless, the assembled bearded, be-bagged bellends seemed to quite enjoy what was being served up. Matthew Reynolds’ vocals were chocolately and mellow and hovered around rather than soared over the interesting soundscapes.

All together now, Oom Pa Pa Xanadoooooo
There was definitely an indie vibe, but in a good way rather than the joyless predictable shit of The Vaccines et al. Throw in a smattering an art school proggy, techy rocky sensibility and top it off with a touch of Chas and Dave oom pa pa and you’ve mixed up an interesting Martini. There were elements of Rush (probably unwantedly and unintentionally) and even moments of a Ceilidh ish flavour, all culminating in a rousing finale with descending thirds lending an Elgaresque grandeur to wrap proceedings up.

All-in-all, not bad. Not brilliant. But definitely not bad. In a world of stunning trios, Drawings are going to have to dig a bit deeper if they’re going to rub shoulders with the likes of Arcane Roots and tonight’s main honey pot, The Xcerts.

Flood of Red*****
I don’t know how I’ve missed Flood of Red until now. They seem to have been around since God was a nipper, but tonight was my first live exposure to this ramshackle bunch of mainly Caledonian malcontents.

Guitars? Yes. Tote bags? Get off.
Less than 30 seconds into their energetic and vibrant set opener, I hated myself for not having dined at their table until now. I loved it. The vocals were spectacularly dynamic, flitting effortlessly between penetrating, hair-raisng yowls and controlled melodic power: all played out in front of a frenetic, ever-shifting, engaging and crazed band. Who were enjoying their arses off.

Their songs were original, catchy, complex and high wattage throughout.

The swollen crowd lapped them up and the energy seemed to fuel fun and frenzy on stage. Thoroughly entertaining, impressive and enjoyable. I will definitely seek these bad boys out again. (I think they’re supporting the mighty Bled on their swansong tour!).

The only possible negative, was that on their merch table, they were knocking out branded fucking tote bags!

The Xcerts*****
This must be about the dozenth time I’ve had the privilege of being in the presence of The Xcerts. And the joy, anticipation and excitement gets only stronger with every performance.

Despite his new mane, Murray still looked 14
The sell-out crowd was equally collectively  expectant, wedged in and drooling at what was about to be delivered. The lights dimmed, the roar went up and on strolled our diminutive, intrepid trio. Still looking like teenagers.

And, then, boom; straight for the money shot. Do You Feel Safe opened the sermon and every one of the congregation in this church of hipsterville began their collective worship joining in with reverend MacCleod’s enchanting homily.

These guys must be one of the hardest working bands on the circuit and all the hard work has certainly paid off.

There’s an innate telepathy between all the individuals, Jordan Smith’s precision bass playing is neurally linked with Tom Heron’s economic and sympathetic skin walloping. They are so tight, so slick, so conjoined yet never clinical, sterile or predictable. Thankfully, there’s no Steely Dan faultlessly true to the recorded original note-for-note rendition slavishness here; far from it, a loosesness and delicious spontanaeity keeps the cauldron bubbling with the three individual parts reacting and interreacting with like one of those enormous shoals of herrings from a David Attenborough under the sea special.

All the favourites are given an airing tonight. Slackerpop, Young (Belane), the anthemic Crisis in The Slow Lane, Scatterbrain, Just Go Home with it’s oo oos, a couple of new ones and the spine tingling Aberdeen 1987 with Murray dispensing with his buddies for a truly goosebump-inducing fragile and fantastic solo rendition. The crowd sang every word and there can’t have been a dry eye in the house.

Judging by the masses of industry types here tonight, along with the cream of some of the very best young UK bands – Damiani, Pennels, Doyle, Duce, Delaney among others propping up the bar – the importance of this band is gathering a well deserved momentum and it feels they’re on the very brink of bigger things.

I’ve waxed lyrical so often about the genius of these lads and on the strength of tonight’s brilliant performance, I can’t add much more praise. They truly are one of the very best live acts in the country and long may they continue spreading the gospel of slackery grungy rocky beautifulness. A class of their own. Truly.

No 1. Bloody well No 1. 
On another note, I just wanted to share my absolute joy and pride at the fact (as of posting this) that we have an independent, original and fucking brilliant rock record at No1 in the album charts. Anyone who’s ever read any of my ramblings, can’t failed to have noticed how I’ve been a constant supporter and ridiculous fanboy of the St Albans anarchists Enter Shikari. Well done you tinkers, a truly brilliant moment giving hope that the world is waking up.

The often miserable but wonderful Mike Duce and his LTA boys next. Can’t wait.

More tunes soon, Bwoooar!

No comments:

Post a Comment