Tuesday 29 April 2008

Forward Russia, Rescue Rooms

Tonight its Leeds oddities ¡Forward, Russia! with their artful industrial rock and interesting line in typography.

We miss the interestingly named 'Cats and cats and cats' but catch the end of 'Johnny Foreigner' who are an intriguing three-piece, two lads, one girl from Birmingham. They produce one hell of a noise with their fast and loud, scuzzy guitars. They consist of a slightly mental guitarist (male), lots of whaling and screaming, together with his slightly calmer sidekick on bass (female). Between them they enjoy quite a bit of boy-girl vocal interplay, well mainly shouting. It's actually quite a potent mix, a bit like the Subways on valium. Oodles of energy and an interesting aggressive sound, rough at the edges but also rather charming, worth another listen.

Last time we saw ¡Forward, Russia! we were in the sweatbox of the Health & Safety nightmare that is Junktion 7, tonight we have space and room to breathe in a half-full Rescue Rooms. Daughter is with us again but it's her first time at the Rescue Rooms. She gets asked for id at the door to see if she's allowed to order food. I think the girl on the door had had too many shandies, I think she meant drink!

Tickets obviously haven't apparently been selling like hot cakes, it’s clearly going to be an intimate gig, and we don't have any problems getting down the front. Where the road crew are double and triple taping the cable to the main microphone which means that the band must be due and said microphone is in for a bit of ill treatment.

Guitarist and main spokesperson Whiskas introduces the first track, 'Spring is a condition'. Yep you heard right, the band that only did songs by numbers now have tracks with proper titles, you know with words in them. They don’t ‘do’ numbers anymore. This seems to be to allow them to let they're imagination run wild, hence we get titles like 'Don't reinvent what you don't understand', which is second up tonight.

Yes, from a commercial point of view, I can see the point of titles but personally I would have retained the numbers alongside. The band will never sound 'commercial', I mean you're unlikely to ever see a ¡Forward, Russia! CD on the shelves of your local Tesco. If you ask Mr or Mrs Average about the band, you'll probably get a very blank look. This is probably why the turn out tonight is slightly disappointing. The numbers were a good gimmick and bands need gimmicks.

The average person, perhaps, just isn’t ready for Tom Woodhead but all the same, welcome back Tom, we've missed you screaming in our faces. From the moment the first chord is launched, he is off on one, into his usual manic convulsions, as if his feet have been plugged into the mains supply.

The punk-funk of 'Twelve' gets the crowd moving and Tom too of course, spiralling himself up in his microphone cord as he launches into something I assume he thinks is a dance routine.

Next we get a brooding rendition of last years 'Don't be a Doctor' and recent single 'Breaking Standing' which highlights their newer more gentle sound. A record that was of course criminally overlooked.

'A Prospector can Dream' is more like their old tried and tested formula, with its pounding, dense rhythm. Whereas a lot of the new 'Life Processes' album sees them adopting a generally more thoughtful sound.

We get a couple of 'numbers' from 2006's 'Give Me A Wall'. One of my favourite albums of that year. I get a poke in the back as L's favourite 'Nineteen' makes an appearance followed by another old favourite in 'Thirteen' accompanied by the appropriate vocal histrionics from Tom.

Tom is now giving the microphone, the expected ill treatment and swinging it around his head. Thankfully it looks like they've done a good job with that extra tape and there's more room on the stage for them here, at Junktion 7 it appeared as if they were practically stacked on top of each other.

Bassist Rob Canning is his usual anonymous self while Whiskas chitchats with the crowd. He tries to get some football banter going as it appears he's a Forest fan despite the fact that the band hail from Leeds. It falls flat because I think most of the audience are transient students and not locals. He makes his apologies to a chap who he was watching the football with next door because he told him that they expected to be on stage at 9.30, when in fact they took the stage a 9.00. 'Yeah, you bastard' comes the reply. Apology accepted then.

Last time, the perspiration was simply pouring off Katie behind her drum kit, regrettably tonight it isn't. In fact she plays the efficient ice maiden throughout and barely breaks sweat.

Newbie 'Gravity and Heat' with it's quieter, prettier parts leads us into their debut record 'Nine', which still sounds fresh and different. Tom promptly goes off on another yelping hissy fit, gyrating away to the juddering beat.

Whiskas tells us we're a 'nice audience', as long as we haven't got our Daughters locked up in our basements. Topical eh? I'm not sure there are many here who have Daughters and ours is stood beside us.

Towards the end we get the predictable bingo calling routine as people shout for their favourite tracks by number. I'm not even convinced that some of the numbers being called actually exist as tracks.

They finish with two new tracks. One of those new wordy titles 'A shadow is a shadow is a shadow'. The new stuff doesn't quite grab you by the throat and spit at you like the old stuff does but it's still not bad. It's more melodic and with tracks like the nine-minute long 'Spanish Triangles' which they close with tonight, they try and be 'epic' but I'm not sure it totally works. A song they describe as 'needing to get out of our system'. They are joined by Bentley the technician on guitar, although his talent in this department seems limited. I think he's there to add a bit of glamour, I think L fancies him.

They return very swiftly for an encore, as if they were worried the crowd might change their mind. They play a storming 'Fifteen', part two naturally.

¡Forward, Russia! may not ‘do’ numbers anymore but they still do throbbingly good gigs.

Saturday 19 April 2008

We Are Scientists, Rock City

It's our third time at Rock City in seven days and we arrive nice and early, and catch most of the support band, Oxford Collapse. They are from New York, just like tonight's headliners but more specifically from Brooklyn, which according to We Are Scientists makes a difference. Oxford Collapse are not a new band, having three full-length albums to their name dating back to 2002. They are pleasant enough without being spectacular. A lively jangling guitar sound, that has been compared to early REM but I'm not convinced by that evaluation. Much to the delight of the crowd they are joined on stage by Keith from the Scientists for a couple of songs.

Just after 8.30, early because it's a Saturday, the Scientists take the stage. Now cut down to a two-piece of singer Keith Murray on guitar and Chris Cain on bass after the departure of drummer Michael Tapper late last year. Their numbers are swelled tonight with the addition of a replacement drummer Adam Aaronson and an additional keyboard player Max Hart who also adds occasional rhythm guitar.

They open the set in the way the new album opens with 'Ghouls, which sounds rough as they don't appear to have the sound right, before explo-oh-oh-oh-oooh-ding into 'Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt' which sends Rock City mental. About half way through that song they do seem to correct the sound, although L begs to differ. She's disappointed that the sound the band seem to prefer to put out live is much rougher than on record. In a way she's right, there is probably a touch too much bass and the vocals a bit too low in the mix. The wall of sound they turn out did often swamp the tunes. They are also very loud.

Having jumped from the new album straight back to the old, they stay with 'With Love And Squalor' and play the first three track off it, in order, before returning to the new stuff to play that song about teenage girls and their contacts lenses. Sorry, couldn't resist that one, private family joke. After 'Impatience' they continue to alternate between their two records, playing pretty much all of both of them. Which did mean there were a few not so good ones in there.

We get 'Cash Cow', 'Can't Lose', 'Callbacks' and new single 'Chick Lit'. That's four 'C' songs in a row, was that deliberate?

Between songs they 'entertain' the crowd with their inane wit. Stuff like asking if anyone is wearing a swimsuit. Keith confesses he is, a two-piece bikini with sharks and swordfishes all over it. It sounds improbable but you get the impression, that with Keith, it's not actually too far fetched.

We also get banter about other bizarre things too, along with some Nottingham references. They got some right, Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham but what was all the stuff about King Arthur? Very weird, they're at least 150 miles out. American humour eh?

A bit of a bugbear was the 'flawless' transitions between tracks or rather the tactic of running one track into another, which I didn't like. This they probably had to do to make up for the time they wasted chatting or else they wouldn't have got more than half-a-dozen songs in.

That apart they certainly knew how to get the crowd going, take note Roy Stride, and the energy that the band conveyed especially by Keith rubbed off on the crowd. The whole place was buzzing. Keith gets his shirt ripped open when he goes into the crowd, there's no swordfish bikini, the rotten liar!

Down the front is where it's all happening and Daughter has requested being accompanied down there. I'm tempted, although it's that packed near the bottom of the steps that we're perched on, it would be a nightmare to fight a way through.

Michael Pace from Oxford Collapse returned Keith's earlier favour by joining them on stage to perform 'After Hours'. A song that does my head in because it's got a really familiar guitar rift in it that I'm sure they've pinched from somewhere but I can't think where.

In fact the new album seems to have plenty of outside influences but when they play 'Tonight' tonight, it sounds like, well no one but 'We Are Scientists'. Chris confesses that the new album 'Brain Thrust Mastery' isn't actually new at all as it's been out in New Zealand for three years... hmmm.

They close with an excellent 'Lousy Reputation' and the overrated single 'It's A Hit', which wasn't.

They return to the stage for an encore to a roar from the crowd. 'That's What Counts' is followed by 'Lethal Enforcer', a good track that to me borrows a lot from, of all people, 'Hall and Oates' They conclude with a bang, to the crowds delight, with 'The Great Escape', which pretty much everyone was jumping about to.

A good gig. Storming you might say, if a bit rough at the edges but I like a bit of rough. I head home with sore ears.

Monday 14 April 2008

Elbow, Rock City

We're back at Rock City to see Elbow. They're more L's sort of thing than mine. She says they're very mushy and she's worried that I might nod off at the gig but I've been swotting up on them and I rather like them. If I can stay awake at 'Scouting For Girls' and 'The Hoosiers' then Elbow shouldn't be a problem.

L and Daughter are already down at Rock City while I'm aiming to get there for 9.30, which is when the main bands usually take to the stage. So I can tell you nothing of the highly rated 'Two Gallants' who were supporting. I can also tell you nothing of the opening of Elbow's set, playing 'Starlings' armed with trumpets apparently, because they came on at 9pm and I didn't get there until quarter past.

When I get there, after I manage to find someone to take my ticket, the band are playing 'Great Expectations'. I try and find L but it's so packed I can't get through to where she says she is. I wasn't expecting a crowd. I though everyone would be lounging around on blankets and in deckchairs. I was so convinced that it would be sedate and only half full, that I even considered getting the dog a ticket.

I move through the crowd to the front, which is amazingly easy, no moshing tonight. The band launch into 'Mirrorball', beautiful and dazzling but slightly nod-off-able. Elbow are sometimes so laid back they're horizontal and some of their tracks do make you want to reach for the newspaper. At other times they're simply stunning.

After another track, 'Red' I believe, I decide I can possibly make it up the back steps, across the balcony to try and find L and Daughter from above. I have a go and find them; they have a great spot on the stairs. I join them and, because a lot of people find it impossible to stand still for 90 minutes, I'm immediately totally in the way. People are constantly pushing past me, including a chap who smells like he's soaked his jacket in nicotine. At least, thankfully some of the people squeezing past me are female.

From this new position I can take in the scene. Elbow are a five-piece from Bury and are fronted by Guy Garvey, a cheery and slightly rotund chap with an interesting line in witty banter. He could make it in stand-up if his voice goes.

As he communicated with the crowd, better than almost any band I can remember and generally legible, he came across as a thoroughly decent and down to earth sort of chap. At one point he tells us about their roadie 'Mexican Wayne' but he doesn't play the track he's hinting at, 'Mexican Wave', nor does he asks us to wake up their bus driver. Thankfully.

His band, as he keeps telling us, are all friends and colleagues of 18 years. I find it hard to believe that they've been together for 18 years and only produced four albums but Wikipedia says it's true, so it must be. In fact the five guys originally formed a band called 'Mr Soft' at Sixth Form College in 1990 but it wasn't until 1997 that they became Elbow. Even then, their debut album 'Asleep in the Back' was not released until 2001.

Tonight Guy also surrounds himself with attractive women, in the form of a three-piece string section and another girlie who's acting as a runner with pints of water for him. The 'orchestra' are balanced at the back of the stage, as there's not much room with a large set of keyboards and an equally large drum kit. It would be a shame if they outgrew venues like Rock City because they need a bigger stage.

I'm on the steps in time to see the band perform their recent single; 'Grounds for Divorce', which sounds amazing live, a rocking departure from their normal style.

'Mondays is for drinking to the seldom seen kid' he tells us. Well no actually Mondays are usually AF for us but if we'd known we'd have had a beer.

The 'Seldom Seen Kid' is their friend Bryan Glancy, a fellow Manchester songwriter, who died recently and has been immortalised in the title of their new album. Like their previous three, it mixes epic melancholy ballads with more upbeat but equally epic numbers. It's also possibly their best.

'Forget Myself' follows and obviously prompts a huge sing-along, many octaves lower than last nights. Tonight's crowd is more mature, although a good mix of ages, with more men, and slimmer women.

Also from the new album, 'The Stops' comes over well and they play a haunting 'Loneliness of a Tower Crane Driver' a song about 'love and the construction industry'. All in all, a set pretty much filled with spellbinding songs. Although regrettably I miss 'Leaders of the Free World' which they threw in early.

Guy reels off details of the latest births accredited to the Potter brothers, Mark on guitar and Craig on keyboards. Some wag enquires whether they have the same mother, it's a rare moment that Guy gets upstaged from the floor. This leads us into 'Newborn', a song about heartbreak and death. Cheery stuff. A powerful track which I was not previously party to.

To end the set Guy orchestrates a mass sing-along to 'One Day Like This'. Judging by the reaction, you would have thought this was a classic from Elbow's past but no, this is a four-week-old cut from the new album and the crowd sing it back to him with glee, although it is due to be released as a single in June. Could this be their 'Run', the big breakthrough that could make them as big as err... 'Snow Patrol'. Perish the thought but they deserve success.

'One day like this a year would see me right'

Yep, not a bad night out.

After the band leave the stage to rapturous applause, the crowd strike up the song again and keep singing until Guy and Craig return to play 'Puncture Repair' while the rest are allegedly on a 'fag break'.

I look behind me and L is still there on the steps and hasn't tottered over into the non-mosh pit. Thankfully no embarrassing stunts from her tonight.

They continue the encore with 'Station Approach', then to finish Guy goes into the crowd and hand picks ten lucky souls to join him on stage to dance and sing along to 'Grace Under Pressure'. Naturally he chooses the best-looking girls together with a few guys to make it not look too obvious. Although he does seem to let some plonker slip through the net.

So L reckons they're mushy, I reckon mournful is a better word, which isn't the same thing at all.

Sunday 13 April 2008

Scouting For Girls, Rock City

We pop into Cast for a couple of Leffe's to steady our nerves for what is to come. Of course it would have been easier to 'just say no' but I didn't and thanks to OMT (that's Open Mind Theory for new readers) here I am at Rock City seeing 'Scouting For Girls' who I recklessly got tickets for before I'd listened to their album.

As I sip my Leffe I ponder how I can objectively review this 'phenomenally' popular band because despite reaching number 1, their album is one of the most painful aural experiences I've had for a long time. They did postpone some shows last week because the singer has lost his voice. I had my fingers crossed for a slow recovery but then again, just like the dentist, it's best to get these things over with.

First up support band 'Clocks' from Epsom. A band who 'specialise in short and bittersweet, powerful and punchy pop-rock nuggets concerning new love and old valve radios, delivered using the tried and tested guitar, bass and drums method but rendered with sufficient vigour to make it all sound fresh, original, brand new.' Their words not mine. In reality they manage the trick of sounding like everybody else and nobody at the same time. They have a new single out tomorrow you know, I'll not be buying it.

During the interval the teenage girls in the audience, of which there are an unhealthy amount, in quantity and size, are screaming already. I'm not sure if this is just a natural reaction to too much WKD (e.g. one bottle) or whether they fancy the roadies who are setting up the kit because that's all that's happening up on stage. Perhaps they just like screaming.

Then, OMG, things get worse when they pretty much all start doing a mass karaoke of Kate Nash's 'Foundations', it's so high pitched it sounds like they're on helium. You have a right to be worried and any sane individual would have left the building at that moment.

Suddenly before anyone can escape, the lights go down and 'Scouting For Girls' come on stage to an Elvis backing track. Naturally you'd expect them to follow this with their single 'Elvis Ain't Dead' but it doesn't happen, in fact they close the set with that. Instead we get 'I Need A Holiday' an album filler track if ever there was one but the crowd go wild for it all the same, singing every word, on helium.

Hailing from Ruislip, SFG are a threesome of Roy Stride on vocals, Roy Stride on piano, and Roy Stride on guitar. Only kidding but it's easy to forget that there are two other members, Greg Churchouse on bass guitar and Peter Ellard on drums. Their contribution to the evening is minimal and I suspect their input is possibly turned down in the mix to keep the spotlight on Roy. This is a shame because I find Churchouse, clad in his 'Mr Bump' t-shirt, much more interesting than Roy and his occasional backing vocals more enjoyable than our Roy's. Also for this tour they have added a fourth member on guitar, a chap who apparently used to be their soundman. This allows Roy to concentrate on, well being Roy.

Musically, he's no doubt a talented pianist but he makes for an immensely irritating front man. He is constantly running around the stage, basking in the adulation he's getting and ramping up the audience, not that they need it, being already full of helium and WKD. Roy tries terribly hard but I'm not for the taking, although the previously converted are already in his pocket. The girls are going mad for him. Which is no mean achievement for a band, who couldn't be more Radio 2 if they had Terry Wogan on drums.

One thing that bugs me, well actually one of many things that bug me, is that during every single track he has to stop the song part way through to say something or involve the audience in something or simply to just be Roy. It all means they never get any momentum going and it's all gets very repetitious.

For example, during 'Mountains Of Navaho', which is one of their rockier numbers, as it's starting to get going he stops and we get a silly moment as Roy tries to get the crowd to wake up their bus driver. He's a chap called Dave who is affectionately, or not, known as Rambo. Well, if you must but do you really have to do it in the middle of a track.

He also has a tendency to repeat his lyrics until they are lodged in your skull, as if they've been put there with a lump hammer. The problem with this is that he has some of the most perversely awful lyrics you'd ever want to meet and if you met them in a dark alley you'd run a mile.

'She's a strawberry milkshake, she's as sweet as a peach but she's ice cold' eh? Let's all sing along... err no.

Stride is 29, although he doesn't look it, but he's still old enough to know better.

When he launches into a cringe worthy rendition of Carly Simon's 'Nobody Does it Better', as a tribute to the 'fans', I'm tempted to hit the bar because I know where this is leading. If I had not been driving I'd have had a very large Jack Daniels.

Unlike the false start with Elvis, this time they do continue the Bond theme but with a taped version of the James Bond theme. During this they disappear off stage, presumably for a lie down, while we listen to it blasting out of the speakers. Finally after one of the longest lead ups in pop history they reappear, to a huge ovation naturally, as if it’s an encore, and perform the biggest non-surprise of the evening by treating us to their song 'James Bond'. A song about wanting to be like Roger Moore, accompanied by a thousand high-pitched voices screaming 'just for a day'. Truly shocking.

To be fair, he makes the most of what he's got, without his exuberance they'd be nothing and admittedly 'Heartbeat' and 'It's Not About You' are half decent pop songs but there's also an awful lot of dross as well.

To his credit he freshens up the set with new songs and b-sides, a song about 'Glastonbury' and one called ‘Fitter in your MySpace Picture’ to show he's kind of hip but most of his influences seem to be older figures, Elvis, Roger Moore and Michaela Strachan...

Ah yes, that 'legendary' number, 'Michaela Strachan You Broke My Heart (When I Was 12)', makes an appearance and obviously goes down a storm.

Roy sings 'When I got home from school, she was there in her wellies, and a yellow Cagoule'. Oh please, pass the bucket.

Some girl wanders up the steps towards us singing the words. Gross.

Perhaps his lyrics would be brilliant if they weren't so tragic. Thing is he doesn't even appear to sing them with any hint of irony; he appears to be deadly serious.

'It ain't gonna happen for me and the Strachan'.

It just ain't gonna happen for me and Mr Stride either. Sorry mate. Enjoy Radio 2. Give my love to Terry.

I'm feeling a bit nauseous but it's L who cracks first and faints. One minute she's behind me, the next some chap's tapping me on the shoulder and pointing to this body on the floor. Bugger and we had such a good spot too. Daughter looks livid when she thinks we've 'done a runner', even more so when she realises we haven't and realises she's lost her spot.

I hope L's not been overcome with passion for Roy, she has conceded that he's 'fancible'. Not got to the bottom of that one yet. It's just my opinion and I'm not a teenage girl, then again nor is L, but I think he's amazingly ordinary.

They return for an encore and finish the night, as expected with 'that' record. 'She’s So Lovely’ is ok, average enough with its 'She’s flirty, turned thirty, ain’t that the day a girl gets really dirty' lyric. He might even be getting perceptive about something there.

Everyone has to start somewhere with their music and you can't get more entry level than this, simple it certainly was. A band that you could take home to meet the parents, that is if you parents aren't here already but don't do it kids because you parents will probably run off with them. All the way to Radio 2.

Saturday 5 April 2008

The Delays, Bodega Social Club

Of course, we could have gone to see SLF, who are playing at Rock City tonight but instead we're at the Bodega Social Club for the third time in less than a month. The ink stains on my hand from the 'Bodega' stamp are getting more stubborn to remove with each visit. We're here to see the 'gorgeous' or is that 'delicious' Delays. L adores them and her adjective to describe them varies depending on her mood. So I'm being the dutiful partner, sacrificing a mosh to the ageing punks and instead spoiling her, a kind of anniversary treat, and she has promised to be eternally grateful.

We arrive just as the support come on stage. They are called Scarlet Soho and like the Delays come from deepest Hampshire and their influences exist somewhere in the dark spaces between the Associates, Visage and Tubeway Army. Consisting of two men and a girl, their pumping 80's beat is good at first but grates very quickly. They diversify little, occasionally bordering on Communards style disco, occasionally on glam. At one point we think they're about to launch into 'Ballroom Blitz' but they don't. It's almost all synths but the drummer is very good, although I can't see him on stage. For ages I'm convinced that they don't know how to turn him off because they don't pause between songs at all, until right near the end. They occasionally pick up guitars and bass but can't seem to summon up more than the most rudimentary of chords.

The Delays take ages getting set up, or rather one of their road crew takes ages, he does a longer stint on stage than the support band do, continually tuning and re-tuning all the gear. I'm tempted to shout out some requests for him.

The venue is filling up; it could even be a sell out, although it's a surprise to see the Delays at such a small venue. Their records have always brought critical response for their Cocteau's meets early 90's shoegazing sound (you remember Slowdive, don't you?), if not loads of sales. I had the luck to see them three years ago supporting the Manic Street Preachers, so I'm one up on L there, when I thought they sounded a bit like early Lush, during their ethereal period.

I can't see the old chap who was down the front at the Von Bondies last week, bet he's at SLF, the swine. There are two girls behind us giving me earache, talk talk talk. I know what one of them has had for tea, what she's doing over Easter and I don't know how she's going to get her essay on Latin American History done on time.

Where as Scarlet Soho knew only one chord, Greg Gilbert of the Delays clearly knows a few more, quite a lot more. The four piece from Southampton start the night with the 'woo woo' sound of 'Long Time Coming', then treat us to a set of favourites, that even I know, together with a few tasters from their forthcoming third album which is to be called 'Everything's The Rush'. The first of which 'Touchdown' seems a bit miserable (Slowdive again!) but the new stuff they play later is better.

Only three tracks in and Greg seems to have forgot the set list because he tells us 'this ones about chavs' and then apologies for giving misinformation before bursting into a bouncy 'Hideaway' which clearly isn't. In fact he tells us that of all the next few tracks are about chavs, I think he's having a go at his brother Aaron on keyboards because it's not until Aaron takes off his very chav jacket that they finally play said song, which turns out to be 'This Town's Religion'. A gutsy track I wasn't familiar with off the 'You See Colours' album, which sparkles tonight. I will have to listen to that again.

Greg is very comfortable with the crowd, chatting almost constantly. The rest of the band seem content to stay in the background. They treat us to their new single 'Hooray' which sounds poppy, dare I say it's got a touch of the Hoosiers about it. It's ok but not as good as 'Love Made Visible', their last single, which sounds impressive tonight.

A new song called 'Pieces' is a complex 'piece' that will need a few listens. Greg tells us it's been around for a while but they couldn't decide on the right arrangement.

People are pushing forwards a touch and it's getting quite cosy down the front. I think the girl behind me is rubbing her chest up my back. She can pack that in, I'm not helping her with her essay, in any case I know nothing about Latin American History.

He dedicates 'Nearer Than Heaven' to anyone who bought 'Faded Seaside Glamour' and invites them to sing along, which is just so wrong because nobody in the audience can get their voices anywhere near high enough to do it justice. Greg himself though isn't so falsetto tonight with the exception of this track and the closing track 'Valentine', which goes down a storm. A whole set of falsetto would have been too much. The band sound decidedly rockier tonight. I'm suitably impressed.

I'm wrong about nobody in the crowd being able to hit the high notes, a chap shouts for an encore by doing a very good impression of the 'woo woo' high bits in Valentine. The roadie chap is back on stage fiddling with things, we now know his name is Robbie. I think Robbie is desperate to be in a band.

They return to play a storming 'Panic Attacks' which is much better than on record and then close the night with a rapturous 'You And Me'. After reminding us 'We Are Delays' for the umpteenth time, they're gone.