Monday, December 08, 2008

review: jay reatard / lovvers / the pheromoans

This is a bit late, but I've not been to many gigs lately so feel I should blog about the ones I do go to; consequently here's a brief review of a recent outing, albeit one which is probably fuzzy round the edges as a consequence of disintegrating memories...

Jay Reatard has garnered a lot of column inches this year and some pretty decent reviews off the back of his recent singles collection for Matador. Without knowing an awful lot about him, Ant and I headed down to the Engine Rooms in Brighton a couple of weeks ago to watch him play with a couple of British bands, local boys The Pheromoans and Nottingham's Lovvers.

On first, The Pheromoans were terrific. Peddling an artless, lackadaisical and nonchalant take on the Swell Maps / Fall / Pavement sound, their sound was obviously familiar, but none the worse for it; short, daft songs riding four note basslines and enlivened by a droll singer and a guitarist fluffing occasionally melodic surf-riffs. It's possible, perhaps likely, that they are self-conscious art students playing badly on purpose (in which case I withdraw my affection), but I'm happy to play along with the idea that they're stoned chancers, short on ambition and fired with a love for simplicity and fuzz. So I thought they were grand.

Lovvers, on the contrary, were incredibly tight, focused and forceful. Their sound was abrasive, energetic, full - and yet they were painfully awful; a sequence of yawnsome redundant cliches and dead-eyed ambition. Only when their macho, show-offy punk slowed down for some churning, slower numbers did they lift themselves out of the mire, but by that time I'd retreated to the back of the room. Bewilderingly, the crowd responded enthusiastically, so perhaps it's just me that can't bear their masculine, heartless hardcore. Ant was more enthusiastic, but not much.

Wondering if the problem is just that I like quiet music, I headed back towards the front for Jay Reatard, who quickly dispelled that notion by playing a set of fiercely enjoyable, high-octane punk rock, fusing the volume of The Melvins with the hooks of a young Evan Dando. Barely pausing between (cracking) songs, his performance is all about speed and energy, excitement and power. All were much in evidence as Reatard provoked a sea of grins and a wave of slightly apologetic headbanging from a reserved audience, perhaps mindful of Jay's unpredictability. And the good news is that, for all that my record collection is getting folkier and folkier, I still like a bit of furious punk. As long as it has pop choruses.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You what? I thought Lovvers were ace. Can't believe you hated them.