Make it Better Later / Kelly Kemp / Howard's Alias
The Cockpit, Leeds on 31st July 2007
Reviewed by HelenB on 1st August 2007
I went to this gig mainly to see Make it Better Later, as they're great to watch live. I didn't know what to expect of the other performers, and I wasn't even sure what genre they were, so I went along pretty openminded about it all.
Make it Better Later
The free delicious chocolate cake this band handed out before playing was a seriously nice surprise, if not a little bit messy. A lot of mine fell on the floor and I had to resist the temptation to fall to my knees and eat it. I expect there were a lot of people walking round with cake stuck to their shoes, but it was great nevertheless and very unexpected.
The band performed a nice mix of old and new songs. Out of the new stuff I was most impressed by 'The Gypsy Song' and 'Music by numbers'. 'The Gypsy song' was really fast-paced and fun, and 'Music by Numbers' was a bit of a pisstake of generic pop rock songs, with clever amusing lyrics about what to expect from those types of songs.
They were energetic as ever and singer Aaron and Fil jumped into the crowd at one point during 'The Ninja Song', and played guitar around the audience, which was pretty cool.
Unfortunately, it wasn't as crowded as it should have been, so atmosphere wasn't amazing. It seemed like everybody wanted to dance, but nobody dared because there was too much space around. There was one hardcore fan at the front though, who kept up the pace the whole way through the band's act. It was very impressive.
The entire audience were sat down for this one at Kelly's suggestion, and it was a pleasant experience. It took a couple of songs for her voice to grow on me, as initially I thought it was a bit screechy, but the songs were really nice and I warmed to the singing as well in the end.
I have a lot of respect for anyone who has the nerve to sit on a stage on their own and sing to an unpredictable crowd. The songs were about subjects like friendship, broken relationships, and there was even some anti-war stuff on offer.
Although I did enjoy her performance, there's a lot of similar artists about and I don't think she's providing anything really different or unique.
I realised whilst watching these guys that I've actually seen them once before. They clearly hadn't made much of an impression though, as it wasn't the music that made me remember, but the crazy headbanging of one of the band members which I noticed was very familiar.
The reason I probably didn't remember having seen them already, was that all the songs, excepting two, sounded exactly the same and were impossible to tell apart.
It's a shame really, as they all play really well, and a bit of more creative thought could make them a great punk rock band, but as they've already been around for a few years, it seems unlikely that's going to happen.
It was a strange combination of bands, first ska, then acoustic guitar, then punk rock, but I think that was good, as you didn't get overloaded on one type of music. As usual, Make it Better Later were the highlight of the evening for me, as well as the free cake, as they're just fun to watch and they never disappoint.
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