The Cooper Temple Clause + I Am Kloot + Aereogramme + The Futureheads
Astoria, London on 29th April 2003
Reviewed by DanF on 18th June 2003
There's a certain degree of expectation in the air tonight. Unsurprisingly, as The Cooper Temple Clause made somewhat of an impact last year with their debut album "See This Through And Leave" and a series of UK tours that gave them a fearsome live reputation. They've been away for the last few months recording album #2, and this date (originally part of the NME's annual January showcase) was supposed to happen 4 months ago, but was rescheduled due to illness on the part of a band member. The people filling the sold out London Astoria have been waiting for this gig for a while now, and tensions are running high.
First band up are THE FUTUREHEADS. Their name suggests they're attempting to hitch themselves to the garage rock bandwagon, however from the outset it's clear they have little in relation to that particular scene. What they play.. Well, it's hard to describe. The first song they played sounded as if each member was playing a completely different song. It didn't really improve much after that, and altogether too many of their songs had this really annoying habit. Of stopping. And starting. At random intervals. Add in fairly bland sentiments ("Someone Stole My Remote Control" was the title of one song), and songs that just didn't seem to hang together at all, and they came across as being fairly unremarkable and uninteresting.
The second band, Glasgow's AEREOGRAMME were thankfully a lot better. Opening with a tranquil soundscape, (the sort which can you close your eyes and almost drift away on) they then completely distorted it by switching to guitar-heavy hardcore, the vocalist screaming for all his lungs were could manage. It's unusual that bands are good at either, but Aerogramme seem to have mastered both quite well, and are good at integrating the two into cohesive songs. One to watch, definitely.
I Am Kloot
Coming after Aerogramme, the final support really is an odd choice. They are I AM KLOOT, and they're nice. So nice that you can't help but like them. Playing laid-back acoustic songs, they're the sort of band you could imagine seeing in a smoky blues pub, except they have more of a Paul Weller / mod / indie influence. They even perform sitting on stools. But they were nice. Nice hummable songs. Nothing provocative, nothing bold, nothing revolutionary, which should be enough for some to hate them. But tonight they pass the time nicely enough without really holding the audience's attention too much. The singer even quips at one point: "This is a new song, although I'm not entirely convinced you know the old ones". I don't think a truer word was spoken all evening.
The Cooper Temple Clause
After a long wait, THE COOPER TEMPLE CLAUSE finally take to the stage, to an atmosphere bordering on the insane. On a backlit stage, starting with 'A.I.M.' (a recent single, given away through the NME), they tear through the majority of their debut album, as well as two new songs (the first was left untitled, the second, 'Promises, Promises', is to be the first single from the new album). The electronic pulses of 'A.I.M.' surge through the venue, whilst the double whammy of 'Film-Maker' and 'Been Training Dogs' shakes it to its very foundations. 'Murder Song' and 'Who Needs Enemies?' are sung word-for-word by the crowd, and 'Did You Miss Me?' is given an almost drum-n-bass reworking in parts. The band throw themselves at their instruments, and the finale of 'Panzer Attack' is one long primal roar, completely justifying the song's bold title.
The only real fault was the setlist didn't seem to gel. 'Did You Miss Me?', placed towards the end, fizzled out, and opening with 2 mostly-unknown songs meant the set didn't really take off until the third song.
However, this is only a minor fault, and the band have clearly honed their live performance where the reputation they have is more than justified. Hopefully their upcoming new album will shoot them into the stratosphere, which they more than deserve.
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