Briefs, short skirts, nudity and The D4

Review by Roland Stanbridge-Miles

This review, concerning another of the emerging bands of the moment, was kindly submitted to the pages of Indielondon by Roland Stanbridge-Miles. Feel free to do the same, whether gigs inspire, disappoint, or simply bring out the wordsmith in you. We look forward to receiving your views....

The D4, Mean Fiddler, November 25, '02

TONIGHT, we arrived early for once, and got our full money's worth of four bands. Having said that, we still missed the start of Japanese shouty girls, Mika Bomb, who I kinda hoped were crap, so I could wittily quip how they should have a bomb dropped on them. But they're not. Nor were they good enough to be described as 'the bomb'. (I apologise for the last sentence, I don't know what came over me; too much pasta and not enough sleep maybe.)

Anyway, Mika Bomb were quite entertaining, rocking out in a particularly Japanese polite and friendly way. Nice short skirts too! One of their last songs was quite loveable, featuring the lyric 'baby, you give me a heart attack'. How sweet.

Following them were The Briefs, who I didn't know were playing and hadn't heard of anyway. Therefore, they had nothing to live up to so it was a very pleasant surprise when they proved to be almost the best band of the night.

Their excellence scuppered my chances of slating them with a cutting jibe about the length of their set - wishing it was only a 'brief(s) encounter'. But there's no place in this review for a piss-poor pun like that. Or is there? Anyway, yes, their music was very good.

A lazy comparison (which I'm never averse to) would be The Hives. Obviously, they're not as good, but who is?! It was a captivating performance, with the tone set by a frenetic, building instrumental opening. The pace never dropped, with a madcap drummer, thumping his little heart out, while providing occasional vocals and a display of vertical spitting which would shame any playground champion of the art.

He was accompanied by blokes with guitars, performing mildly endearing rythmic leaps around the stage - as if there was no tomorrow, bashing out neat riffs etc. Couldn't make out most of the lyrics, but they sounded cool.

In one song, for instance, they sang 'my baby is a cockney' - well, that's what I thought anyway - but the last line actually turned out to be, 'my baby is a Communist'. A revelation.

The unenviable task of following that fell to the mildly-hyped British Sea Power, who have been compared to both Joy Division and Echo And The Bunnymen by Time Out.

In contrast to The Briefs, then, they could only disappoint. And they did - not that they're actually bad, just pretty unremarkable, though they did seem to have something about them which suggested they could mature into something a lot more interesting.

Our curiosity was aroused before they started, as roadies, in addition to the normal guitars, drums etc also brought out a number of tree branches, which were dotted liberally around the stage, giving it a pastoral feel. To complete the effect, a plastic heron and owl were placed on top of the speaker stack.

The band came on in an assortment of military outfits, looking as if they'd just finished playing soldiers backstage. Some of their tunes sounded promising, but they outstayed their welcome and, too often, I found my attention wandering towards the end of their songs.

Extra entertainment marks, however, for the bloke with his drum who left the camouflaged security of the stage to wander the crowd, even appearing next to us on the balcony, where UV light unflatteringly made it look as if my faded jeans were actually stonewash.

In order to avoid making it look as if I have committed such a fashion faux pas, I ventured downstairs for The D4. It was the right decision. To be honest, I couldn't remember many details about their set, as I spent most of it jumping around like a monkey.

For example, during the last song, the lead singer stripped naked, which I failed to notice! According to a female friend, it wasn't a good idea! Their songs were very good ideas, though. Simple, almost to the point of being samey. You know exactly what to expect and they never fail to deliver.

If you've not already bought their debut album '6Twenty', stop reading this, turn the computer off and run down the shops to buy it. It's cheap too.

Tracks such as 'Party', 'Come On' and 'Rock 'n Roll Muthafucka' are an accurate pointer to what they're like. A bit less 'rocky' than The Datsuns (but none the worse for it) is a fair description. Go see them if you get the chance.