Monday, 23 November 2009

R.I.P. Reuben

Exploration of Biffy Clyro's similar artists on the wonderful (now sponsoring a 405 event or two, hurrah) a few years ago lead me to Reuben, a band of young members with much talent, and the antithesis of summery indie pop.

Recently, as usual just a few months after they split up, I've really been getting into them: they're very angry, but in a focussed, intelligent way, unlike many screamo bands who seem to be angry without a purpose.

Reuben's purpose is usually singer Jamie Lenman's girlfriends, it appears, and during making the last album, their third effort In Nothing We Trust, there was clearly a severe lack of irritating exes, because the lyrics lose their love and break-up emphasis, and to be honest some of their charm. Still, I like the album - it's more anthemic, more singalong and varied, and spawned the beautiful 'Good Luck' and 'A Short History of Nearly Everything', which can only be described as life-affirming.

The second album has been my favourite at the moment, along with their most recent release of all their B-sides and re-records, We Should Have Gone To University. All Reuben releases have on them Jamie's fantastic voice, which can pretty much do anything he wants it to, from tender whispers to huge screaming passages. The lyrics, despite being all 'emotional', are poetry to say the least, even when they're having a go at someone. The guitars, backing vocals and drums never miss brilliance either, and have a distinctive sound which encapsulates Reuben.

This is a post to say: please check this band out - even though I'm generally a punk and indie gal, if that's even a genre, a bit of modern rock in the form of Reuben tickles my fancy, simply because they're just so good. R.I.P. Reuben, and I, for once, hope you do the band sell-out thing of getting back together to tour the world, just for me.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Kasabian @ Birmingham NIA, 19/11/09

What could you expect of a Kasabian gig? I'd have said last week, lighters aloft singalongs, a sprinkling of girls at the barrier Serge-side and a Hell of a lot of testosterone.

I wasn't wrong. The crowd was extremely male, but I stayed out of the crowd of stags at the front anyway, at least when Kasabian came on. Supporting them were Reverend and the Makers, of 'Heavyweight Champion of the World' fame. I like the Rev, but he was full of male bravado and his keyboard player (and wife, I believe?) was gyrating and wiggling around in a roll-eyes-provoking manner. They were okay, but it was all a bit chauvinist and repetitive, despite the Reverend's nice opinions on war and politics (see Love Music Hate Racism and Instigate Debate).

Kasabian put on a proper show, even before they set foot on stage. On big screens either side of the stage, disturbing stories of lunatics (from album West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum) were played, and then a siren rang out, accompanied by a pulsating red light above the stage. All the roadies wore white coats reading 'SANE', so it was quite eerie when a man wearing a 'WEST RYDER' stamped coat wandered on, swinging an incense burner, before a countdown to the show. It was all very atmospheric.

From the back of the standing area, the music was the perfect volume to get under your skin, the bass sending sound vibrations through your feet, but no destruction of your eardrums (usually my favourite part of a gig, but it was nice to end without ringing ears for once.) The show was a real show, lighters aloft during The Doberman, a proper set behind the band, and massive confetti showers at the end. Never have I seen so many butch men dancing.

They played all the hits, though doesn't have the list of what they played yet. There was a while in the middle where they were playing 'bar songs', a little flood of bored people going to get beer, but that was possibly the only flat part of the evening, with everyone streaming out of the gig at the end singing the L.S.F. riff at full volume through Birmingham.