Friday 23 December 2011

Your Army and Panda Cubs at Bull & Gate - 19 December 2011

Your Army: Photo Soulcatcher

I’m standing in front of the stage at the Bull & Gate. It’s cold, and there are not many people here.

This is rock at the bottom rung of the ladder. For many bands who play here, the only way is up. Actually, scratch that – from here most bands call it a day.

So I’m delighted to report that tonight I get to enjoy two acts who both deserve wider audiences.

First up are Panda Cubs. They’ve come all the way down from York on the Megabus. They reckon that they’ve had three hours sleep. It doesn’t show.

This four piece are dressed in black. The singer is striving for cool behind dark glasses (possibly the lack of sleep is having an effect after all). He lets his hip side down a bit by being extremely polite and solicitous about our health and general well being.

Panda Cubs have more than a touch of Editors or She Wants Revenge. It’s slow, melodramatic and punctuated with bursts of guitar fury. I lap this kind of stuff up and really like them. When they say that this is only their seventh ever gig, I warm to them even more.

All this lot need are gigs under their belt to be come a nice tight little outfit. Ones to watch.

Headliners tonight are Your Army, about whom I know very little except that they come from Brighton and have signed to a German record label.

So I derive great pleasure from finding that they rock like demons and have, in singer Lucy, a pint sized dynamo, who can wail with the best of them.

Your Army aren’t doing anything that is particularly new or avant garde, but they fill a space in my musical soul. If asked I would cite Two Day Rule and the Sam I Am/Boudica as amongst the greatest lost bands of the last decade. And Your Army remind me rather a lot of those bands.

Sometimes all you need is a powerful voice and some crunching guitar. The energy that comes off the stage causes the audience to start bobbing about, myself among them.

They don’t stay long, but I’m happily sated.

Two new bands to keep track of. A highly satisfactory evening.

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