Help She Can't Swim (When We Were Six, The Scaramanga Six, Bam Bam Francs, Downdime, Tigerforce)
The Faversham on 5 June 2006
Reviewed by Dave on 7th June 2006
When We Were Six
There are five members of When We Were Six, although their regular drummer is not present and they have stolen one of the members of Scaramanga Six to fill in for him, this is the first time he has played any of their songs. In fact Kirsty, who provides guitar and one half of the vocals, tells us that this is the first time the band have properly played together.
What followed was a set that featured the band playing a variety of slower numbers with a couple of quicker ones thrown in. They were good, and I enjoyed the set. However I found that most of the time Kirsty and Sarah's vocals were drowned out, this may have been a problem with the sound or with the acoustics of the Faversham, regardless I would like to hear some stronger vocals from the girls.
When We Were Six
The Scaramanga Six
Scaramanga was a Bond villain, and the two front men are certainly dressed for the part of a Bond villain, although the bassist does look like a young Bill Bailey (facial expressions included).
At either side of the stage are light boxes of the type you might see on a chat show, one for "Applause" and one for "Shut It", when the band finishes a song, the "Applause" box is lit up and the crowd obliges. This is a useful gimmick as a couple of the band's numbers have pauses in the middle, and no one seemed quite sure when they had finished.
Scaramanga Six played a noisy and lively set, which showcased the band's obvious talent. My favourite song from the set was 'Running Through Houses' a song that provided a slower more melodic counter-point to the rest of the set which was explosive, loud and very rock and roll. Another favourite song of mine was 'Vesuvius' a powerful rock tune, that, much like the volcano, erupts during the chorus.
The Scaramanga Six set out to "assault the ears of the unsuspecting with intensive rock and roll music." Tonight they did just that.
Bam Bam Francs
Bam Bam Francs are very much a part of the current Leeds music scene; they are similar in sound to Forward Russia!, but they bring their own style to what is fast becoming a "movement". The band featured on the famous 'Dance to the Radio' Compilation, a collection of up and coming Leeds bands put out by Forward Russia's DIY Dance to the Radio label.
The music is loud, fast and leaves you with the uncontrollable urge to tap your feet, or if you are feeling more adventurous/drunk you might actually dance. The set picks up momentum and culminates in the glorious 'Bam Bam you're Dead', a great set from another one of Leeds' up and coming bands.
Downdime are a four piece from the Leeds area, their music is guitar driven indie-rock with some more poppy songs added to the mixture.
The band put on an alright show, and its entertaining to watch the lead singer throw himself around a bit, but that's all it ever reaches, just alright. Not great, but not crap either you could only ever stand and watch Downdime and think to yourself "Well, these guys are alright, I don't want to leave, but I might go get another drink."
Downdime are alright, and that's about all you can say really, to quote Andreas "it's arguably better to be offensively bad" I have to agree, that way at least if a band is offensively bad it makes you feel something.
Tigerforce were... interesting, to put it one way another way would be to say that Tigerforce were downright odd. Their first song sounds like its just noise with vocals yelled into the microphone, I thought to myself "I'm not sure I like this" then immediately after "If this is what the kids like today, does that make me old?"
There are only two members of Tigerforce, plus one drum machine, the result of this is that often the two of them are scrabbling round the stage trying to get where they need to be for that particular song.
The set is noisy and it is odd, but as it continues the Tigerforce sound starts to grow on me and I start to notice that it isn't just noise this is noise with a purpose. It's clear that Tigerforce get a lot of influence from Sonic Youth, with their expertly created guitar wails and feedback.
At the end of their set, whilst I'm not a fan, I can see that Tigerforce are a talented duo with a unique sound who deserve to do well.
Help She Can't Swim
I would like to say that this review may be horrendously biased. I am a huge H.S.C.S fan, and have been from the moment I put 'Fashionista Super Dance Troupe' into my CD player, this was the third time that I have seen them live, and each time I have loved it.
The set opens with 'Boy Toy' a song where Leesey sings via megaphone, and leads straight into 'Are you Feeling Fashionable?' a song about the scene and the music industry, 'Fashionable' also contains my favourite lyric of all time "God bless the music press, 'cos they made you believe The Strokes were the best". All the "hits" from 'Fashionista' are in the set 'Fermez La Bouche', the up-lifting 'I Don't Need You' in which Tom shouts himself raw during the chorus. And the set closes with the gorgeous 'Apples'.
There are two songs from the bands last EP 'Committing Social Suicide', one of my favourite H.S.C.S songs 'L.A. Ain't No Great Place to be' and the gloriously noisy 'Cut the Biography'. The band also play 'Midnight Garden' which disappointed me when I first heard it as it seemed to mark a massive change in direction for the band, however, live it is as chaotically noisy and lovable as any of the band's other tracks. There are two songs from the bands upcoming album which sound amazing, I can't wait for that album.
During the whole set Tom Denney throws himself around the stage like a man possessed, he seems to have the energy of a five year old on a sugar high. Leesey is more restrained, content to sway a bit whilst she sings and plays her keyboard; however she is not so restrained that she will refrain from kicking Tom as he bounces past her.
Unfortunately there is no 'What Would Morrissey Say?' and 'Got Yr Number' is absent too, as is the excellent 'Sensitive Youth'. Talking to Tom D after the show I was told the band had to cut their set short because the gig was late starting, which is a shame, I would have liked to have seen them play a bit longer really.
Watching H.S.C.S is akin to having an explosive orgasm. Clearly the punter on NME.com who posted this: "Help! She Can't Swim are the worst band I've ever seen live. Absolutely awful, like ¡Forward Russia! with even less of a tune." Wouldn't know a good live band if they hit him in the balls with their guitars.
After H.S.C.S I was one happy chappy, on the walk home I put my MP3 player on random and the first on song was 'Sensitive Youth', a perfect end to an awesome night
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