Friday 12 January 2007

Forward Russia, Junktion 7

I don't really do 'new years resolutions' but I do make mental lists of things I would like to do. One of these things is a list of bands that I must see. Less than two weeks into 2007 and I have the possibility of chalking the first one off this list. Leeds' band Forward Russia are unexpectedly coming to Nottingham to play a one off gig at Junktion 7. The gig is tonight.

I have been undecided about going since I found out about it earlier in the week. Friday night isn't an ideal night for a gig, as I prefer to spend Friday nights snuggled up in a pub with L in one hand and something strong and dark in the other (a drink). Oh and a collie curled up at my feet.

L isn't really into gigs and certainly not ones in small, hot, and sweaty venues like this one is likely to be. However, the trooper she is, she agrees to come anyway. After all she does at least like the band. I just have to ply her with a lot of Leffe both before and after the gig. Not a problem. So I go on the internet and order the tickets.

When we get home the first things we do is a run, for Doggo's sake, although I would have rather swam. I'm very enthused about swimming at the moment although this won’t last. We postpone the swim until tomorrow, when we will attempt to schedule an early morning swim around some quality time in bed.

After the run we go to a bar, where I fortify L with three Leffes, before we then head off down the junktion for the gig. It's the first time I've been to this venue and it is even smaller than I anticipated. We can barely get in the door. The only space is down the side of the stage where the band's entire entourage seem to be. We avail ourselves of the free Jack Daniels and anchor ourselves to the bar, trying to keep out of the crush.

It seems to take an age but eventually the band takes to the tiny stage in their matching t-shirts. I want one.

They are soon hurtling out their frenzied songs, opening with 'Thirteen' and playing all the good stuff from the album. They also do two new songs which don't have numbers for names, yet. They are loud but it's not deafening like I thought it might be.

The guitarist, who I learn from the entourage, is know only as Whiskas, is equipped with the most effects pedals I've ever seen. He makes a pretty nice racket with them and his guitar. His sound is complimented by, and half obliterated by, the pounding rhythm of drums and bass guitar. The talented female drummer, Katie, is his sister.
Then there's Tom, the front man, whose yelped vocals are drowning in the noise. The synth he normally plays seems to be underused and pre-programmed most of the time, which is a shame but this leaves him free to jump about relentlessly, wailing and knotting himself up in his mic chord. He is far from the best vocalist in the world but I think this is part of his charm and the bands.

When they come back for an encore, it's a case of a pick a number as the crowd shout out random numbers between one and nineteen, irrespective of whether they played it in the set. In the end the band chose 'Four' an early track not on the album but that surfaced as the b-side to 'Twelve'. You see I know these things. It's available as a free download from

I think it is an excellent gig. They are an engaging band to watch. Energetic and fun. I like their sound, musically they are adventurous and they don't write commercial songs, but their tunes still stick in your brain.

L is less impressed and is less forgiving of Tom's performance. She tells me that I owe her a nice meal out. Not a problem. Look forward to it.

I get my t-shirt, although not in the colours I wanted.

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