Release Date 22/02/2010 (Rock Action Recored)
By Elinor O’Neill
As one listens to A Rumour In Africa, it is not the coming world cup, the political turmoil within, or the vast plains of the African nations which come to mind. What one thinks of is jumping out of an aeroplane in Australia or New Zealand or some other god awful backpacker occupied island.
Not, you understand, because you are jumping from the plane in a bid to escape listening to the mind numbing rift which filters through the track to invade your cranium, creating an irritation akin to a fat child kicking your seat all the way from the UK to the USA.
It does not have a hard enough beat to make it dance worthy, but if your head has been mushed up by mood enhancers from the first three letters of the alphabet, you may enjoy its lyric lacking beat.
It is not nice to have so little nice things to say about a track but when the band describe themselves on their profile page as “Four guys without any spark of talent”, one feels the guilt lift a little.
As the track continues, occasionally daring to bring in some interesting sections, you slowly realise that unfortunately, you are not partaking in a parachute dive or even politely watching a video of a friend doing so. At least if you were there would be a chance to slip out to “use the loo”, or alternatively of dying mid jump so there is a less painful end to Errors musical suicide.
Sound Control, Manchester 06/02/210
By Ellie O’Neill
Oh the sound, the sound of The Drums. When I heard seven days ago I was going to see them, I got so excited I began practicing my dance moves and planning what to wear to a night I thought would be monumental. This was the act which I thought would propel Manchester’s new venue Sound Control to a whole new level of luxurious musical mania, an act which would test their control of sound, an act which would pull in the crowds so sadly sparse upon their opening night. This was their chance to be The Venue for music lovers to go to when they wanted to hear great music and to hear it lovely and loud with lots of beautiful bass.
Sound Control was brilliant. Other than an audience tending a little too much towards the student crowd, pulled in by the cheapness of the drinks. The sound delivered perfectly and the place was packed. The basement was once again closed, presumably not because numbers failed to reach full capacity, but because of the heating being broken, again.
There are two issues Sound Control will need to resolve before it reaches its hey-day, the first is the choice of act, no matter how I try to put a positive spin on it I think The Drums are dreadful. So bad at one stage I nearly leave but am persuaded by my companion that reviewing only the first ten minutes of the act would be a tad harsh. The second issue is the crowd, which I strongly suspect would be a lot more friendly if those who were only there for cheap bottles of beer would leave, leaving behind the kind of people the venue needs, music lovers.
The Drums put on a performance so self indulgent that one gig goer suggests they were getting a little too happy about themselves; I am tempted to leave the rest of the quote to your imagination but it is too much of a line not to share, “God, was it just me or were they practically tossing themselves off up there at how terrific they think they are”. I try to enjoy them, I really do, I loved Sound Control the last time I came here and genuinely had high hopes for the night but The Drums don’t deliver to a crowd which would generally be just as happy dancing to the music of, well anyone really and the free unsigned gig I went to at Fuel earlier in the night in Withington had much more gumption than anything they had to offer.
When I first came I was inspired by the potential of the venue as somewhere for lovers of good indie to desend, whether they were old-school rockers or drainpipe wearing T-shirt clad disco dancers. Today I was struck by the shallowness of the place. The few people who were making moves could have been doing so to their I-pod, it was like being at a silent disco where someone’s let off a silent scent and you don’t want to say anything for fear someone will think it was you. I would rather drink water or pay £4 for a beer in the place if it means not being surrounded by people whose only concern is reaching a state of sedation so thorough that they struggle to remember who they saw the previous night.
I don’t want to upset you too much with my description of The Drums, but it is after all a review of them so I must. In spite of having a back catalogue of some really great tunes which fully tested the Sound Control machine, they were as one guy beautifully put it “Aaaarrrgh, that was awful, just awful, I’m so glad to get out of there”. Unfortunately at the time someone who looked scarily like one of The Drums was standing next to him outside. I had looked forward to a crowd in this venue who would dance with no regard to posing or prancing, a bunch of gig-goers who would genuinely be there to greet the act with an enthusiasm and willingness to boogie the night away, unfortunately I was horribly disappointed. As well as being called “A nice piece of meat” by a man whose only intention tonight was to find himself a honey and having a drink spilt on me by a guy so coked up he had no awareness of his actions, I was struck by how few people were dancing.
The sound was awesome, but the performance was dire. They continually rocked out to their own tunes, failing to engage with the audience or even notice they were there, so struck were they by their own greatness. They could have been at Rockefeller centre or The Queens Garden Party, there was no adjustment for the crowd to which they played and most of the time they barely acknowledge those who had forked out £8 to see them.
I came here expecting to see an act who could inspire the audience, but what I saw was an act who hardly hold our attention and a crowd who leave the moment they stop, leaving behind them a tide of plastic cups more akin to the debris of the cattle-market that was once The Bop.
When I opened my wardrobe this morning it was to find some frightfully slim pickings of dresses. I am by the last day of January largely down to a collection of frocks more suitable for ball gowns or beaches. As I had booked a table for myself, the boy and some friends at Cafe Bruxelles in Leicester I had to choose an outfit which I wouldn’t feel too ridiculous in once my coat and my self were parted.
Cafe Bruxelles is one of my favourite places in Leicester City Centre. Lately the city has undergone a terrifying transformation in the form of regeneration and unfortunately, as is usually the case with city centre regeneration, the result is more traditional areas are fast becoming abandoned by most shoppers and shops who have moved to the swankier area where there is less grime and graffiti but also a little less character. There is a host of chain stores and depressingly all too familiar mid-range food chains all offering overpriced dishes which taste pretty much the same whatever you order from the menu.
Amidst these culinary crapes are two fantastic places to eat, Cafe Bruxelles and Cafe Italiano; I shall save going into too much detail about Italiano till another day as the man who runs it is a legend and should I visit there this year he will command an entire post just by his greeting; there is however two very defining characteristics of both places which chains will always lack, a clear sign of who it is who is in charge of the place. When you walk into a restaurant and know immediately who it is who owns the place you know you are in for a treat. In both of these places the owner offers at least a friendly smile when you enter and it is their everyday involvement in the running of the place and the personal pride they invest which ensures you never walk away feeling duped of hard-earned cash. It is a place you take pleasure in paying because you know every pound is well deserved.
I first went to Bruxelles with my God-Mother or Fairy-God-Mother when I was fifteen. I know her as my fairy-god-mother because she used to be able to treat all maladies with the touch of her magical wooden spoon when I was a child. My mother also used to have a magic wooden spoon but this was used to ensure good behaviour; the threat of a beating by the spoon was enough to guarantee goodness and I once came very close to experiencing its wrath when I was nine and swore in front of my mother; I had never known she was a runner but she chased me round the garden path, spoon in hand, for what felt like hours but was probably only mere minutes. Anyway my fairy god mother took me there after a shopping trip to find an outfit for a family wedding. It was only a few days since my sister had died and unfortunately the wooden spoon had failed with its magic so Bruxelles was a treat to try and take my mind off our family tragedy. I still don’t think any of us believe we got on a plane a week after my sister died to attend the wedding in Ireland but people do strange things when they are grieving and even though it was a surreal and difficult experience, we would have felt worse if we had not gone.
Bruxelles was at the time everything it still is today. It was formerly a bank and has a carved out ceiling with intricate paintings all around which look as though they have been finely etched with gold. The bar is long and its fridges filled with unusual beers; we brought six and shared them between four of us, each having a little taste which sounds sensible but becomes a little silly when one glances at some of the labels afterwards only to find some are as strong as 12%. Generally when one goes to Bruxelles, one gets mussels which come with thick white freshly baked bread and frites. It is such a luxury and at £8.99 is enough for two to share as a starter or a light lunch during the day.
That day when I came with my god-mother I was allowed a very small glass of wine and a hot chocolate and though I remember feeling distraught the warmth of the place did help to wake me from the trance I had started to fall into. What is most difficult when someone close to you dies is that afterwards for a long time you feel angry at yourself when you experience joy. Happiness seems somehow inappropriate considering the enormity of what you have lost; it is of course a sign that whether you want it to or not life will go on and if you keep resisting the urge to live you will get left and the despair will eventually consume you completely.
When I chose this dress today I could not help but think of my sisters favourite dress which was a red silk Chinese dress, the one which we eventually had to bury her in as was her wish. In Irish families unlike English ones you lay the body out in the house prior to the funeral it is a tradition which is difficult for those who live in the house as you can find yourself going a little crazy hoping the person might still be able to hear you but in many ways it removes the idea of death as something which is scary and should not be talked of. Later after my sister died my parents brought me a black silk dress for my 17th birthday. It is and was beautiful and when I wear it is mas much a homage to the loss of my sister as it is to the joy she brought us. Today at Bruxelles, surrounded by friends, few of whom had known her I couldn’t help but feel sad and full of sentiment and although I meant for this posting to be about the joys of Sunday dinner at Bruxelles, which by the way was lovely, in my melancholic state thinking as I was of my darling sister it seemed a bit too trivial to post only on luncheon.