Review: Wild Beasts + Napoleon IIIrd + Flash Guns @ 93 Feet East, Feb 24th 09.

wild-beasts-by-andrew-kendall

Wild Beasts – Brave Bulging Buoyant Clairvoyants

Napoleon iiird – Your God

Flash Guns – St George

Unlike at The Walkmen on Friday there was no big queue to be met outside the Wild Beasts show at 93 Feet East in Brick Lane yesterday evening, in fact to the unsuspecting eye you’d never even have guessed there was a gig going on. It’s not a sign of the lack of popularity of the bands playing but the opposite. You see the lineup tonight from start to finish this is top-drawer stuff so everyone’s inside early with bums on limited seats.

Flash Guns @ 93 Feet East, Feb 24th 09 by musicmule.co.uk

Flash Guns start the night off. Since I last saw them they’ve grown in reputation and actually physically grown I think! Explanation? They’re still in their not so late teens. It’s a shame to always make reference to their age but I only do it to poke fun at their older peers who are currently being outstripped by Flash Guns’ moving, intelligent four-minute guitar pop tunes. Frontman Samuel has a voice and on stage presence that could make him a great. I think of a young Joe Strummer and The Clash when I hear songs like ‘Locarno’ and closing number ‘St George’ with it’s patriotic tip of the hat to all things English.

Napoleon IIIrd @ 93 Feet East, Feb 234th 09 by musicmule.co.uk

Napoleon IIIrd’s track ‘Zebra’ I recently featured in ‘Just For Kicks’, unfortunately he doesn’t treat us to it this time but there’s plenty more on offer from new mini album Hideki Yukawa. Napoleon a.k.a. James Mabbett used to be in a band called Little Japanese Toy but these days goes it alone, well almost, he’s backed up by a 40 year old reel to reel player that he found and a some trusty loop pedals which he uses to record layers upon layers of his voice, guitar and keys. The effect is a powerful one from the outset where he launches straight into the disco funk of ‘Strong Nuclear Force’ that you just don’t expect to be coming from one short, balding guy in a waistcoat! Then there’s a couple of more familiar, but no less exciting, indie numbers, in particular ‘Your God’ with James exercising an awe inspiring raspy growl befitting to the powerful nature of the song’s lyrics. This one man carnival really has some depth and range in his basket of musical tricks.

Having seen a few support bands out gun headliners recently (Ed Bagira, Alessi’s Ark) the lineup tonight looked like there could be another upset in store. This wasn’t to be the case as Wild Beasts roared triumphantly last night.

The music isn’t fashionable, for example how many indie bands list a falsetto, tenor and baritone amongst their lineup these days? But it is very good. The band launch straight into what, if my ears don’t deceive me, is a version of ‘Booty Call’ with even a bit of cowbell in the house! It’s not what I expected but it goes down smooth and limbers up the crowd nicely for a dancey groove that re-occurs in some of the later songs. It takes barely a couple of lines to warm up those big, big voices that then remain flawless all evening. ‘His Grinning Skull’, a personal favourite, washes over the audience mixing classical and contemporary instrumentation perfectly to give the song a timeless sound that is characteristic of a lot of their material. Previous single ‘The Devil’s Crayon’ is the biggest indie track on offer tonight with it’s great chiming guitar line and the stark contrast between Hayden and Tom’s voices at arguably it’s most effective. Then ‘Brave Bulging Buoyant Clairvoyants’ gets the crowd dancing once again with guitarist Benny’s riff carrying the song along at a high tempo and reminding me of vintage Johnny Marr.

As we quickly approach the 11pm curfew, the aptly named ‘Cheerio Chaps’ is supposed to end the evening with everyone joining in with its drunken sea shanty like farewell chorus but you can tell the band want to draw the show out tonight. They leave and immediately return to the stage including an, apparently unintentionally, open shirted Hayden to run through another favourite ‘She Purred, while I Grred’ and newbie ‘Empty Nest’. All that’s left is for the band to blame Boris Johnson for not running the tubes late enough and make their grateful goodbyes. Off into the night the smug audience trot with some fine entertainment stored up for the ride home and then some.

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3 Responses to “Review: Wild Beasts + Napoleon IIIrd + Flash Guns @ 93 Feet East, Feb 24th 09.”

  1. If anyone has any good shots from the gig please send them in to info@musimule.co.uk and I’ll credit you. Cheers to andrewkendall.com for the wild beasts pic.

  2. zAnmAnFucius Says:

    I’d like to listen to this “patriotic tip” at the end of the song, but tryin’ to download an m4a file instead ?

    Good work though mate-alround, eeeeexcellent i’d say.

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