If only I knew that the gigs at Asylum start earlier than most gigs.
The Asylum, for those that don't know, is all swanky part and glorious parcel of
the Hull University Campus (off Cottingham Road) - and, of-late, the venue has been
welcoming a whole host of incredible talent.
The gigs there tend to start just after 7 o'clock (which is great in the respect that
you don't have to wait around all night for roadies to soundcheck and generally time-waste),
but that's not such a good thing when you don't get there until almost half past eight..
and fantastic Emo-rockers This Girl are on the verge of
finishing their impassioned set of songs, which would - I'm sure - have
been primarily culled from their awesome debut Uno album on this profoundly sweaty occasion.
A Yorkshire band born and bred, the best thing to do if you don't know much about
the This Girl boys - but want to know more - is to head out quick pronto and bag yourself a copy
of their new Masterblaster single tour-de-force. You won't be disappointed.
Scottish trio Biffy Clyro also wield piercing stabs of Emo-rock elements, but -
compared to This Girl - the BC boys are far more moodier in nature.
One of the nation's hardest-working rock bands, over the past few years they've
played almost every small venue in the land that's worth a damn and remain precariously
teetering on the edge of serious fame and fortune.
God knows that their songs are soul-stirring
and heart-attacking affairs, truly epic in scope and exhilarating when executed in a live situation.
Never ones to shy away from hard work, only one year separated the release of
their first two outstanding albums (indeed, 2002's Blackened Sky debut was followed
by 03's Vertigo Of Bliss for all you hardcore stats fans out there), and throughout
their 70-odd-minute-long set tonight they played a heady mixture of tunes from both such albums,
with Questions And Answers being a definite highlight.
For a band so young (none of the members are older than 25), their raw emotion-saturated
songs reveal a maturity beyond their years.
Fascinating frontman Simon Neil barely says a
word between songs, but is perfectly suited to being on stage.
Both his head and face are swamped in wildly long hair and it's a wonder he can
sing at all with that much hair wafting around his mouth - but he is an incredibly
versatile singer, with his vocal style miraculously shifting from death metal
dawn choruses to beautifully affecting moments of anxiety-smoothing glory.
The chord progressions that he artfully cuts out of his guitar often do all the talking necessary,
and all their tunes really do revolve around super-strength melodies that are extremely difficult
to forget.. especially those melodies that make their songs 27, 57 and Just Boy literally
so anthemic, with all such tunes being highlights of their debut album.
Backing Simon, the remaining Biffy contingent is Ben Johnston on drums, and his twin brother
in James on the bass guitar. Despite Simon being the lead vocalist, both Ben and James
provide stunning vocal harmonies.
Ben in particular, regularly proves that he's just as
passionate a singer as Simon when there is chance enough for his soulful vocal talents
to be heard over the stupendously clattering carnage that he creates courtesy of his drums.
It's a shame then that Simon and band always look so miserable when playing live, as though they
aren't really enjoying being up there on stage. I'm sure that isn't the case - and, moreover,
I hope that isn't the case.
It's just the impression they give when they hardly ever even consider cracking a smile,
sharing a joke or - as I said - making a point of simply acknowledging the crowd.
It's not as though their fans are shrinking violets (almost everybody at this
gig was going crazy for them and their music), so I can't explain the band's detached attitude.
But what the hell? Their music is consistently life-enhancing and rollicking..
and at the end of the gig, I guess, that's what's most important.
Music Reviews - Biffy Clyro At Asylum - 24th September By Andy Dykes, Photos by Darren Rogers
The cult of Biffy Clyro swirl, pulse and swell like a spring tide while their
heroes rock mercilessly infront of them.
On record, Biffy Clyro are a band whose songs range from the heart wrenchingly
emotional to the jaw droppingly powerful.
But I'm totally unprepared for the sheer intensity of the Biffy Clyro live experience.
Music Reviews - 30th August 2004 - Anarchy in Jaz Bar By Kelly Bolder
It seems at the moment Hull's collection of successful young bands cannot
help but impress.
The line up tonight included 3 Hull bands and 2 other Northern stars.
On a bank holiday Monday in Hull you could be forgiven for thinking
that the places to be were Beverley Road and the Waterfront but you would be
Music Reviews -The Spark, BBC at The Piper, Tom Jackman, Thief, Le Shed, Turismo 21st Sept 04 By Andy Dykes
When I arrive at The Piper tonight, I'm greeted by my friend Charlotte.
She's here as a photographer, but has also been roped into being compere for the evening.
Apparently, preparations for tonight's show aren't running smoothly.
Absent sound guys and faulty monitors aside, there are cameras everywhere.
Music Reviews -
Fraction of the Cost, Displacements, Cracktown, Jenny Bromley Unite Against Fascism Sunday 19th September - Ringside by Daniel Laney
I've always admired the second floor function room at the Ringside bar.
It looks and feels like a cheesy, but not tacky cabaret bar from Blackpool.
If you were to glance at the stage you could imagine various acts leaping
out at you from behind the curtains and annoying the hell out of you for half an hour whilst you
Music Reviews -
Unite Against Fascism - Fraction of the Cost - The Ringside Sunday 19th September - By Andy Dykes
Tonight I expect The Ringside to be dimly lit and packed to the rafters with
members of the Zapatistas, Rage Against the Machine and the Cuban government,
all talking earnestly and with hushed voices.
Possibly the A-Team too. I expect an air of urgency, a feeling that we're all taking part
Music Reviews -
The Favours, Dirty Dreamers, Sweet Assassin at The Welly Club on 16th Sept 04 By Andy Dykes
Tonight's openers Sweet Assassin get proceedings underway with an apology.
Their bassist hasn't turned up and so they welcome onto the stage Paul, a real, bona fide session musician.
The band open with a punchy little number called 'Touch Me I'm Sick'.
It's a solid effort, although the action onstage