The Pleasure Unit turns out to be a venue much like the late, lamented (by some, at least) Verge, in Kentish Town: We get one room with a stage in the corner with a big pillar in the way, and nowhere to escape from the bands if they turn out to be a pile of shite. Rather unfortunately at least one band achieves this dubious honour tonight.
First up are the Delphian Complex who have free CDs, nice ones too that have been made and produced in a proper place, so god knows how come they’re free. They also have some really cool flyers produced in a particularly simple way, so simple it makes me jealous, frankly. There are six of them: two guitars, keyboards, drums, bass and singer. My initial reaction is one of dislike but by the end of the evening (well, come the last band) I am reassessing. They manage to sound kind of like a Led Zep-tinged baggy band, with ‘modern’ 80s retro stomp-drumbeat thing going. That probably sounds worse than it should because it’s not that they’re bad, simply quite bland. Their songs don’t stand out, though the bassist does his best to lift the proceedings, and it takes me a while before I realise that my problem is with the full-on nature of what they’re doing: We are given no space at all in the sound and at least one guitar seems utterly superfluous. I have a problem with a band putting too much ‘production’ into their live sound and that’s what I hear here.
The Faculty organised the night and have elected for the second slot. This is the second time I’ve seen them and the sound’s not as good here as in the Spice of Life in Soho. Still, they put in a good performance and the atmosphere is much better. Sombre Honeymoon’s driving bassline is still running through my head as I type. They are best described as having a bass and drum sound in the Joy Division mould, vocals tinged with early Bob Dylan and guitars reminiscent of Verve’s ‘A Storm in Heaven’. The songs are simple yet catchy, mainly helped by the quality of musicianship the whole band put in: witness the drums in the break of ‘Messages’. It’s a good set and we enjoy it.
Next up are a band whose name I’m not sure of. On line they’re listed as ‘The Smoke’, but the board outside seemed to say something like Lontine Love. Who knows? ([b]EDIT:[/b] ISTD member ‘jeane enaej’ knows it seems: They were called [i]Larrikin Love[/i]. Cheers.) The fact is they are unmitigated shite, so much so that I find them offensive. This is what happens when you form a band after only having watched TOTP2 as your sole musical inspiration and input: Three of your band members wear porkpie hats and look like extras from Only Fools and Horses, complete with crap polo shirts. The fourth member (lead guitar) decides he wants to be in the Small Faces and grows an outlandishly terrible mop-like mullet and then hangs his guitar far enough up his chest in the hope of hiding his gut, while in reality meaning his guitar just looks ridiculously high. He then prances around with one foot on the tiny monitor and plays the most obvious guitar solos known to man. Someone describes them as a like “the Libertine’s arsehole” and this is probably a fair description. In fact, if one took the worst of The Libertines and The Darkness and combined them into one band you would have this lot. Amazingly (or not, depending on how you view the industry) there are three labels down tonight to watch them, and probably they’ve now been given a big fat record deal. We can only remind ourselves that musical karma has provided a nice deal to the rather fine Test-Icicles in recent months so it’s not all completely shit. Is it?