Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Bop Social, Dead Social Club, Underground Bounders and The Vanity - Bull and Gate 15 January 2010

Bop Social pic courtesy of The Hux Capacitor

We start the New Year just as we left the last one, in the cramped surroundings of the Bull and Gate.

Tonight is one of those promiscuous evenings out when I know nothing about any of the bands involved so am taking a certain degree of pot luck. Things get off to an inauspicious start with the news that that the one act that had intrigued me on paper ‘Me & The Beast’ have cried off.

No matter. First up we have the awkwardly monickered Underground Bounders and The Vanity. This cheerful three piece tick along in relaxed fashion, with droll, often almost spoken delivery from vocalist Tors. She is Siouxsie Sioux–like in the true sense, gently amused, nothing particularly forced, the south London voice only raised on occasion. The accompaniment from Ray and Josh is catchy and simple in a Hot Chip-y kind of way and it’s all very enjoyable. They are not earth shattering, but they are likeable, and that will do. If they have a failing tonight it is purely that they are under-amplified, which may not be their fault.

Dead Social Club are also in a happy mood. Or rather singer Paul is, shuffling round the stage, paying court to the other members of his band. The reason for their rather last day of term attitude is that changes are afoot – the guitarist is off on an extended sabbatical and the bassist is leaving the band for good.

They play a genial keyboard heavy pop rock that references any number of popular bands from White Lies to (inevitably) The Killers. However, just because they are generic it doesn’t mean that they are not worth seeing, should their line-up issues resolve themselves. There are some decent songs here and these are well put over.

Headliners Bop Social (we’re very ‘social’ tonight) are much more drilled and consciously ‘arty’ than the previous two acts. Singer Tom stands ramrod straight and marshals his band through a tight set of up tempo pop rock. As with the previous band, originality is not necessarily their most obvious feature, but equally, they provide strong entertainment while you are in their presence and an opportunity to shake your booty.

This all sounds very half-hearted on my part. It isn’t meant to be. In the same way that I can’t really see any of tonight’s acts progressing much higher up the ladder than they are at the moment, equally I greatly value these bands and venues such as this that allow them to play. I’ve been seeing acts play in tiny spaces for longer than I care to admit and one thing that I do know is that standards have always risen and will continue to rise.

It may always be the case that a headlining band will have something special or different about them (or simply more hangers on), but the standard of acts that fill the undercard are generally better than they have ever been. Some are serious enterprises, some are just mates having a laugh, but the sheer variety and enthusiasm of such bands will always keep me coming back for more. I’m happier with a diamond in the rough than any number of Industry-approved ‘packages’.

So, tonight, Underground Bounders and The Vanity, Dead Social Club and Bop Social, I salute you. (And if I am happily wrong, and you get to Wembley – can I blag a ticket?)

1 comment:

Warburs said...

Hi, it's Paul here from DSC.

Thanks for the review and coming along. The line up issues are resolved and we'll be having a comeback gig at the garage on 21st May!