Monday 11 August 2008

Mono Taxi / Tom Allalone & The 78's / Lucky Soul at No One Died

Tom Allalone pic by Jenny Hardcore

Tonight is ‘No One Died’ night at the Enterprise, a jolly happening held upstairs in what is becoming an increasingly decrepit venue. Just don’t ever, ever, go into the upstairs gent’s toilet.

Not that the pub's medieval facilities detract from the effort that the club organisers have put in to making the evening go with a swing . There are nice black balloons and a stylish and funny compere who moves proceedings along in good natured fashion. It looks as though we are going to have some fun with the acts too.

As an aside - I love it when small venues have an MC. It keeps things moving and stops bands from dithering around and running late. It also adds an air of community to the proceedings. It doesn’t happen often enough and unfortunately it is the more ‘serious’ and self-important events that would most benefit. And yes, Upset The Rhythm, I’m looking at you.

We start off with an acoustic set from Ali Howard, Andrew Laidlaw and Ivor Sims of Lucky Soul, who are road testing new material while the rest of the band is off on their hols. While it is hard to fault the songs, and the band is affability personified, they don’t really fully engage. There is something too cold and clinical about their Sixties pastiche and it all seems a little flat. I have the same impression from this band when they are at full strength. Something gets lost in the performance, they don’t really let rip. “The Great Unwanted” is still a damn good tune, though.

Lucky Soul (and many other bands) could do worse than emulate Tom Allalone and the 78’s, who take the stage by storm with a teeth rattlingly loud and frenetic take on that era of British pop which was lost when teenagers stopped congregating in milk bars and Billy Furie and Adam Faith stopped being the coolest cats in town.

It is like being in a small room with a large hurricane. Tom Allalone bounces, poses and wields his guitar like he is wrestling with a living beast, the rest of the 78’s (plus guest trumpeter) assault their instruments in similar fashion. The whole place is in motion, including the floorboards which are pitching and yawing as though we are on a ship. It’s exhilarating, because there is a real feeling that we may crash through to the pub below at any moment.

This lot are new to me, and I’m amazed at the strength of their material, which sticks in the head right from the get go – ‘Crashland’ is a terrific Motown-flecked ballad, ‘Gravesend Boys’ name checks their home town and ‘Cassilero Del Diablo' gets us all yelling "Diablo" in the appropriate places.

It’s an absolute tour de force and we are still clapping and gingerly stamping our feet long after much of the remaining audience has cleared off downstairs. My group stays, nursing their ears (one believes it to have been louder than My Bloody Valentine).

I had been worried that tonight’s headliners would be delayed because they were playing earlier this evening in Shoreditch. However, miracles do happen, and Mono Taxi are here and ready to go in very short order.

Ellice Williams sings and plays guitar, while Antoine Collin sings and drums. For a two piece they make a surprisingly full on noise, complete with unintentional, but not wholly unwelcome, shards of feedback. They are certainly much more ‘Pixies’ than they are, say, White Stripes.

Their songs are compact and catchy and bring on a frenzy of dancing from the four Über fans who have taken up a position in front of the stage. Fan devotion can sometimes be alienating to others, but tonight it works well, adding the extra element of a floorshow to the performance.

I like Mono Taxi and the only thing that goes against them tonight is the feeling that it is all a bit after the Lord Mayor’s Show, with many bystanders still reeling from the previous band. This is unfortunate, because songs such as “We Wanna Get Some Real Fun” and “Kind Of Better” are pop gems and deserve wider exposure.

It’s been an excellent Saturday night’s entertainment. ‘No One Died’ throw a good party. Their next night here is 4th October and features previously lauded Call Of The Wyld faves Royal Treatment Plant and The Molotovs. Recommended.

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