Sunday, 28 January 2007

The Hours - Thekla, Bristol January 28th 2007

The night started very well! On arriving in the car park just outside the ol' tub that is the Thekler Social, discovered that the payment meter was out of order so - Free Parking! Now for those not familiar with Bristol premier floating venue, (is there another venue afloat?), it has recently had a bit of a refurb and a lick of paint. The white paint on the superstructure gives it a little class, though this illusion is shattered as you begin your journey down into the hull and your feet struggle with the stickiness of the floor. Maybe it's time they hired a few cabin boys to 'swab the decks' on occasion! The layout and decor is pretty minimal, with the stage at the for'ard end of the vessel, a bench down each side of the dancefloor. Further back is the bar, with a seating area opposite that could probably comfortably accommodate 20 people around tables. back fiurther still are the stairs to the exit/entrance and the toilets, or should they be called the heads? There is also a gallery level, with a little seating and a balcony to lean nonchalantly over or sit and dangle your feet over. Though beware, if you do dangle unshoed feet, the people underneath will be tempted to tickle them!

The first band, well they weren't quite a band, just a 2piece on guitar and bass who started by apologising for the absence of the other band members, and didn't stop apologising for this until they left the stage. In their defence they did state they were asked to do the gig at short notice and warbled on about living in London, but being currently homeless. It was delightful to listen to their apologetic ramblings, but only as it was a break in their tedious art-school music. I don't really know how how to further describe the brand of art house music they were playing and it wasn't exactly offensive or driving me to any emotional conclusion, just a pleasant kind of noise. Didn't exactly inspire me to find out more though.

The real support were called The Master Chaynjis a Bristol Based three piece, compromising of a Too-Tall Bass Player, suitably coupled with a double bass, a violinist looking like she's just stepped out of a parisian cafe circa 1957, and an elastic faced front man strumming along on guitar with a very rich, almost operatic in depth, voice. Now this band were impressive, I don't tend to seek out Avante Garde music, but this was a fine example of the genre, love/hate lyrics delivered powerfully and with humour. At points the band did remind me a little of Nick Cave in his Murder Ballads phase with their darkness in lyric and almost jingly jangly rhythm. Your certainly going to enjoy seeing them, I hope they do play a few of the smaller festivals this summer! I think they delivered the best description of their music themselves - B-Movies set to music.

Well, the night is wearing on, people are starting to get a little restless and the dancefloor is filling, the venue looks close to capacity and The Hours arrive on stage to a very warm applause from the eager audience. The first thing that grabs your attention in their blistering audio onslaught, is how tight they are and that they look, and sound, as if they have been playing together for years. They have been described as the old new band due to the fact that they are in their mid thirties but seem so new and fresh. The music was great, the banter light hearted and witty. At one point about 3numbers in the earlier observation of how light it was in the venue was repeated as the house lights were still on at pre-gig levels, he did keep it quite polite but it didn't get any response from whoever was responsible for lighting directions, and his bitterness about this didn't show until after a call from the audience of "house lights down, stage lights up", it was not until they started the next tune that the LD got back to the lighting board and complied with the request and was then applauded by the crowd. It was a great set and a good night out. The leaving the stage after 10 numbers meant the encore was predictable, especially due to them not having played their big hit - Ali In The Jungle, and their roadie resetting guitars on stands on stage.

The encore started with a little talk by about "serious stuff" but due to crowd muppets calling out "zombie" after it was mentioned about rising from the dead,but not in a zombie way, the little serious bit turned into a zombie jam, which just showed how easily these boys work together and can adapt to the situation. Finishing the set was a blistering rendition of Ali which gave everyone a good buzz to go home with. Tomorrow the members of the audience will remember "how quick can you get back up?", but will be wondering why their shoes are sticky.
I'm wondering if they'll ever play a venue so small again after their upcoming album release.

Here's the set list for tonights show, straight from the sweaty roadies hand!

  • Murder or Suicide

  • Moment

  • Love You More

  • Breathe

  • Need To Know

  • Icarus

  • Back When

  • Narcissus Road

  • People Say

  • Big Black Hole

  • Encore

  • Car Crash

  • Ali
My final thoughts on the night - How easy would it be to sort out the ballast on that rusty tub so it didn't list at such a crazy angle.

Their album is released in February, order yours from Amazon!



Have you come across a band called "A Neat Science"? Based in Bath, I think.

Roo said...

Sorry I Haven't heard of them.

Next gig on the horizon I'll be going to will be Half Man Half Biscuit! Also hoping to catch Little Barry when they come to bristol, saw them at a festival and they were pretty good, and it's good they're starting to get some airplay too!