Monday, 14 April 2008

LIVE: Mystery Jets

Venue: Manchester Night & Day
Date: 13th April 2008

A second album is always hard to get right. Especially when the first is so good. Mystery Jets, then, have achieved something great; not only is their second album so different from the first with its 80s inspired beats and broodier sound but it also translates amazingly well live. Starting their tour in one of Manchesters smallest venues the dark electro noises and wailing sirens that began the set were made even more eerie as the band entered the stage to rapturous applause. Launching into "Hideaway" with its skittering refrains and synth-ridden chorus ("Hideaway/ Hideaway/ Hideaway-oh-way-oh") the crowd began dancing. Songs like "Flakes" were pitch perfect with harmonies to melt the heart. There is a feeling behind the lyrics and music which connects both the audience and the band and songs like "Veiled in Grey" and "Half In Love With Elizabeth" show a penchant for slightly oblique lyrics ("I can see a pink elephant and it's standing at the corner of the bed") and a menagerie of musical instruments. "Young Love" had the crowd swaying in time whilst mouthing along to the words and new singly "Girl Next Door" perfectly epitomises their new sound. Whats lovely about the Mystery Jets is not only do they care about what they do but they do it well! And take away any part of the songs (drums, guitars or cowbells) and the songs would loose something showing that "less is more" isn't always correct.
The only downfall to showcasing a new album is not all the audience will be familiar with it. Slightly disappointingly they only played "Diamonds in the Dark", "Zoo Time" and "Boy Who Ran Away" from the "Making Dens" album; but the band did seem somewhat surprised at coming back on for an encore! It's a good job their new stuff is almost better than before and its clear to see them evolving as a band. And you know a mark of a good band is when you feel the band should have done more songs, plus b-sides and demos and acoustic solos and instrumentals and gone on forever.

Hideaway- Mystery Jets
Veiled in Grey - Mystery Jets
Girl Next Door- Mystery Jets
Lizzies Lion - Mystery Jets

Saturday, 12 April 2008

LIVE: Adam Green

Venue: Club Academy
Date: 11th April 2008
Firstly, the Paddingtons were only. As punk as ever and showcasing a fistful of new material (in fact the only old song they played was "Panic Attack"). It would have been nice for some older material to be integrated into the new stuff but at least they've still got catchy, if slightly embryonic lyrics, and music that makes you want to jump about (or head nod vigorously). And then Noah and the Whale with Rebecca (Slow Club) on xylophone and harmonies. Chatter subsided once the songs kicked in and "Five Years Time" was near perfect with whistles and hand claps and whimsical lyrics with songs like "Peaceful the World Lays Me Down" taking the pace down only to be whizzed up with "Jocasta". Their range of talent and musical instruments is matched with gloriously poetical lyrics.
Adam Green, in a word, amazing. Whipping through countless songs it was a charming, witty and at times shambolic. Giggles inflitrated songs, lyrics were half forgotten and amps blew up (resulting in an impromtu acoustic performance); stage banter came in the form of an odd retelling of an alien popping out of a band mate which Adam claimed (in a 5 year olds voice) "I gave it a blow job". Riiiiight. Bounding onto the stage with quite the bit of enthusiasm the audience were treated to a greeting "Hello Manchesthair; Man Chest Hair; this is my man chest hair" whilst high-fiving audience members and clad in a fetching shirt which dripped tassles from the sleeves. It was a performance unsurpassed by anyone I've ever seen and wildly eccentric. This eccentricity bleeds into his lyrics too; "Mozzarella Swastikas" claiming "Well we came upon a cracker/ and we came on this cracker/ and the last one had to eat it/ and she did" (this being punctuated with giggles and "This is the best bit, listen up!"). During some of the acoustic bits chatter sounded up; only to be shushed by Green and audience alike. Songs like "Nat King Cole" and "Pay the Toll" bled perfectly into one another whilst also demonstrating how the sound has matured with a full band as seen in songs like "Morning after Midnight". It was a show of many parts with a hilarious and unique front man; joined half way through by Josh and Tom from the Paddintons they performed a 'new' song "Ladyboy" (or something like that) which claimed "Your from Thialand/ thats not my land". Urrg there is too much to recount but suffice to say it was quite the evening. And he sand "Dance with Me" and "Emily" and "What a Waster" abnd "Getting Led" and "Gemstones" as well as leading a crowd sing-a-long with a few too many reprisals of "Cocabana" (I think that is how you spell it?!). Well anyway, it was much, much better than good and better than a shot in the foot anyday!

Jade xx
Dance with Me - Adam Green
Mozzarella Swastikas- Adam Green
Morning After Midnight- Adam Green

Saturday, 5 April 2008

LIVE: The Teenagers

Venue: Manchester Roadhouse
Date: 1st April 2008

Even if you didn’t know this band their name would suggest their tongues are firmly placed in cheek (literally in the case of songs like “French Kiss”) with wittily crude lyrics jumping from behind the scratchy guitars, thumping drums and electric beeps. They’ve added two members for live purposes, spurning the drum machine and adding a girl guitarist to the mix and they’re as geek chic as ever.
Launching into “Starlett Johansson” with slightly smug smiles curling their lips as the crowd instantly recognise this ode to Scarlet they join in the dancing with wooden yet enthusiastic dance. They also whipped through “III” which provided a mellower refrain of “I don’t know anything” and more music made for air punching and bum shaking. Even the most ardent feminist couldn’t deny that “Fuck Nicole” is one hell of a song, the whole two front lines of the crowd moving in unison and even the girls (in fact most of the front two lines were girls… surely much to the satisfaction of the band!) singing “Fuck Nicole/ It’s out of control / Call Nicole and fuck Nicole”. Songs like “Streets of Paris” mean that the band couldn’t be more French and singing in sweet Parisian-tinged accents “Riding bikes and talking loud/ they were wearing Nike caps!” they managed to show that the streets of Paris are just as full of scally’s as the streets of Manchester.
Possibly they’re most well known song “Homecoming” meant that the band dragged a couple of girls on stage; as usual one over-confident and the other self-conscious which meant that the backing track did most of the singing. They show they aren’t to be taken seriously and people who do are missing the point; and yeah, they’re no longer teenagers themselves but the personas of the songs are and as they say themselves “We’re playing the songs and you’re dancing along/ Feeling better/ you’re feeling better”… It’s all in the name of fun and all in the name of ‘youth’… And they’re great live too!
Jade xx