Monday 2 June 2008

The Molotovs / Kaputt - Barfly 31st May

We are invited upstairs by Gianluca Brisigotti, who is the first act on and who would quite like an audience. He would quite like a new guitar too, as he’s broken his. Borrowing an instrument from the headliners, Gianluca sings some gentle songs of his own and a Bill Withers cover. He seems a nice young man, but this brand of easy listening is not really my thing.

This is the second time that I have seen Kaputt, but it is the first time that I have really ‘got’ them. They are firmly marshalled by Silke Steidinger and are a tightly-drilled unit. It is this proficiency that defines their sound – songs are angry, muscular affairs that are delivered with a controlled passion.

Although their current status is indicated by their position on tonight’s bill, Kaputt do not sound like an act that are still feeling their way in the world. Every song seems hermetically complete and polished. Silke plugs their single (‘Family Tree’ out now on Too Pure) and touring activities remorselessly. It is this attention to every detail that can make it hard to warm to this band – they make a great sound, have some decent songs, but are so intense that they don’t seem to be enjoying themselves very much. I wish that they would relax a bit and not be so hard on themselves.

Prior to this evening, I knew nothing about The Molotovs and had not been reassured by a cursory listen to their Myspace. However, recorded works and live performances are two entirely different things and tonight they really impress me.

I always feel that a new band has got something about them if, as I watch them in a small venue, that the impression they give is that they are used to playing much bigger stages and that tonight is somehow special. I get this vibe from the Molotovs.

Singer Will Daunt is very affable and has a high, clear voice. He also has complete confidence in the band’s material, all of which feels like the finished article rather than work in progress.

Even though the band use occasional keyboards and saxophone to add to their guitars, Molotovs do not succumb to the curse of multi-instrumentation that affects some other groups- who feel that just because their members CAN play an instrument, that these should be incorporated into all songs as often as possible. Instead, tonight the variety comes from the songs themselves, with each tune distinctive in its own right.

Highlights of the set include “The Letter” with its acapella opening, and “One Up On Me”, surely a future single in the making. But it is all good stuff. The band have a grand time, so do the crowd and all is well with the world. After the gig, the crowd move on. I get the feeling that The Molotovs will be moving on (and upwards) too.

No comments: