The Rumble Strips & The Young Knives @ Barfly 07/12/05
Can I apologise in advance for the excessive use of hyperbole, lashings of over the top enthusiasm and raving in this post…. The Rumble Strips are quite simply fucking brilliant! They may be second on the bill tonight but make no mistakes these boys are the stars.
Upcoming single “Motorcycle” (video/MP3) is a slice of pure pop genius. Its one of those rarest of songs…a uniter! Everyone should like it. Your granny will dance to it at your cousins wedding, slaughtered rugby lads will holler along while pouring beer over their heads, and squadies in Iraq will film their own hilarious video to it (a la Amerillo) featuring an iraqi pow recreating the high note in the middle as they attach diodes to his vernaculars! Tonight Charlie apologises at the end of Motorcycle, he’s had a cold and is worried that he might of missed Motorcycles highest note. If he did, I didn’t notice, but this may have been because I was too busy grinning like a cheshire cat. The bass line that kicks in at the end of the said high note is one of those life affirming moments when you realise just how fantastic great music can make you feel. Who needs happy pills…? Motorcycle is full of such memorable moments from the aforementioned screech, to the lovely horn soaked opening…its instantly recognisable, and also evocative of many acts before (Dexy’s Midnight Runners & The Beautiful South being the most obvious).
The MP3’s doing the rounds in advance of their debut single (17th January, Transgressive Records) are all live tracks, and they certainly don’t disappoint this evening. They may only be on stage for half an hour but its enough to show the potential crossover gold of their 80’s mix of Northern Soul, Madness, and the Beautiful South. Although there’s already a glut of 70’s and 80’s referencing bands about, they’re definitely more than just a Dexy’s tribute act, and at the very least its great to hear someone pilfering a different slice of the 80’s.
Henry Clarke (Keys/Trumpet) and Thomas Gorbut (Sax/bass) provide the fantastic Northern Soul brass section, but then I’m a sucker for a good brass sound. There surely needs to be some sort of quota system to ensure enough records are released with decent horns (and while we’re at it the same goes for harmonica solos, and those Poo-Poo synn drums). Anyway I digress… to sum it up Transgressive have a potential monster on their hands, and it would be a crime if they insist on releasing it as a limited edition run of 1000 seven inches.
This stuff needs to available in Woolies!
In singer Charlie they also have a front man with a unique voice, and I don’t just mean THAT high note on Motorcycle. Watching him on stage, small as he is, and with an almost comedicly battered tiny guitar, you’re unprepared for the voice that emerges. It soars, it yelps, it croons, it out Rowlands, Kevin…in short it astounds!
Jools Holland must be already pencilling them in for the next series, and Fern Cotton will proclaim them her favourite new band…. make no mistake The Rumble Strips will Fly (or Fllllyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy – watch the vid)
For an alternative but equally gushing review read Pete Ashtons excellent post on their Birmingham gig.
The Young Knives headlined and were also very good. Much better live than on record…and they really deserve a decent write up when I’ve finished raving about their support. They did say at one point that “We’ve been on tour with The Rumble Strips for a while now and we have to say Wow …. they’re absolutely amazing”. They then joked that the bastards hadn’t said anything nice about them!