The Fold @ Puregroove 15th Birthday
Easily the second best record shop in North London, after Woolie’s on Junction Road, Puregroove have managed the feat of reaching 15, and so quite rightly showed off in style with a bash at The Dome. Over their 15 years theyve managed to reinvent themselves from what I remember as a Hard House and Garage specialist who’d look at guitar with a puzzled look (wheres the BPM button!) to now being at the forefront of the current 7″ sized boom in guitar rock (not that theyve forgotten about dance of course).
They assembled a fantastic line up culled mostly from their own Marquis Cha Cha label but with added Duke Spirit, and initially also featuring Plan B but in the end he wasnt on the bill which was a shame as i’d have liked to have seen him. The Folds were the first up, and I have to be honest I was mostly concerned with getting/supping a pint during their set, and only returned at the end to witness spinal tap being reinacted as the guitarist crashed through the drum kit and lay prostrate for what seemed like 5 minutes(see pic). Initial whoops gave way to puzzled looks – “Do you think its all part of the Art or should I go check he’s ok?” the slightly bemuzed stagehand asked me.
O Francas @ Puregroove 15th Birthday
O Fracas got the crowd whipped up a bit more, especially when they dragged a drum center stage, and started some ferocious and fantastic precusion… is it possible to do an indie version version of fela kuti!

Negative for Francis were also excellent, particularly the front man who worked the crowd and the stage, especially when compared to The Mules up next who were hampered by the old problem of the drummer singer. The music itself was certainly unusual, apparently dubbed “electrobilly”, its a mixture of Punk and Country with a hint of The Pogues, but the fact that the singer is stuck behind the drumkit just killed the atmosphere for me, along with any chance of a connection with the audience.
Negative For Francis @ Puregroove 15th Birthday
The Mules @ Puregroove 15th Birthday

Next up was the main act on the bill, The Duke Spirit, and they brought along with them a gaggle of very excitable fans. As lead singer Liela stormed though a hugley impressive set including several new tracks those down the front screamed at her pleadingly “I love you!”. I have to admit that although I loved their first couple of seven inches I was a little disapointed by the album (although ive listened again since the gig), and wasnt expecting to be so impressed by them live.

The Duke Spirit @ Puregroove 15th Birthday

Towards the end the fans were invited up on stage, led initially by a Toyah Wilcox dressalike who lept about and shook the tamborine with glee! It was the last gig of the year for The Dukes’, and if they restart next year in this kind of form then 2006 should be a big one for them.

The set list was:
Lion Rip
Got me on a hook
Salt the Stings
Dog Roses
Big Bird
Love is an unfamiliar name
Cuts Across the Land
Red Weather

Puregroove 15th Birthday
Puregroove 15th Birthday
You had to feel sorry for Darlington’s We Start Fires who had to cope with not only following The Duke Spirit but also coming on stage at home time for the tube users of London. As Duke Spirit finished half the crowd dashed for the doors and the last tube home. If this bothered the girls (and one boy) it didnt show and they simply carried on the party atmosphere, dragging half the Puregroove staff on stage for a mass dance off at the end. They both looked, and sounded fantastic.

We Start Fires @ Puregroove 15th Birthday

I’d been umming and arring about whether to dash for the last tube after Duke Spirit, but opted to stick around to catch the final act, Bromheads Jacket. Theyve been compared lyrically to The Streets, basically because they sing about ATM’s and McDonalds, but theres a flavour of Billy Bragg in there too, which for me is praise indeed. Their debut single sold out in a flash, and unless you hurry to Puregroove the new one will be gone too, complete with a genius tribute to St.Albans Chicken Wraps on the b-side.
Bromheads Jacket @ Puregroove 15th
The crowd loved every minute of it and so did I, although by this point the security had obviously had enough of all the stage invasions and started hurling anyone who jumped up back from wence they came. Singer Tim’s parents were in the crowd, and according to Tim “could be approached if you wanted to know anything about Marks & Spencers”.

Click here to download two tracks from the “Surrey Girls and Samsung Ringtones EP” – Leslie Parfitt & Woolley Bridge.

Bromheads Jacket @ Puregroove 15th