Friday, May 04, 2007

Black Lips / Shy Child / The Sticks @ Cargo, 1 May 2007

Sometimes it’s good to go back to basics. Now I’m as keen as big sounds, complex instrumentation and arrangements and multi-membered bands as the next person, sometimes it’s good to strip things back a bit and enjoy music a bit less encumbered by added extras.

So down to Cargo on Tuesday night for the latest one in the ever-excellent list of events by ace London promoters Upset the Rhythm, and three bands happily working with limited resources.

First up, The Sticks. Probably the most basic of the evening. There’s only so much you can do with two snare drums, a cymbal, an electric guitar and three chords. But this Brighton duo do remarkably well with these resources. They meandered through their set of lo-fi scuzzy blues rock, and although there wasn't much variation, I never really got bored. There was enough energy, instrument swapping and fun to keep them interesting. One of the blokes drummed so hard his glasses fall off.

Download: The Sticks – 'No Vocal on Tour'

This is a low bitrate download from their myspace site. Not sure it's even the right title. Their first ever release – a split 10 inch on Upset The Rhythm Records – is out on Monday.

Next, NYC’s Shy Child have similar but different limitations – one drummer and another guy on one of these slung-over-the-shoulder keyboards (I think this is what’s called a keytar). You may think that with an electronic instrument, there would be more scope for variation, but not with Shy Child. About four songs in I realised that their repertoire wasn’t going to extend much past one song, and went to lounge on Cargo’s big comfy leather seats with my friends who were similarly unimpressed. Their stabbing synth sound is pure ‘new rave’, which although unusual for a UTR night, is quite the thing the kids are going to go for. Two years ago they’d probably be laughed out of town, but not now. My friend told me they’re going on tour with Klaxons. Says it all really.

Download: Shy Child – Technicrats

mp3 courtesy of Let's Sexy Fighting.

The main attraction though is Black Lips and their rough ‘n’ raw garage punk. Last time they were in town, their tiny gigs were all a bit of a sell-out, so this time they’re in a much bigger venue than before. And they’re great. Though maybe not quite the rock ‘n’ roll mayhem I was expecting. I’d heard all sorts of tales involving nudity and blood and the likes, but only witnessed the guitarist bizarrely spitting in the air and catching his own phlegm in his mouth. But, antics aside, it’s all very good. On the negative side, the sound was crap, there was poor bass sound, and the band sometimes lost momentum by taking too long between the short ‘n’ sweet power of each song. But let’s not quibble too much. They’re a great live band – all full of mad energy, blustering through their retro rock songs with charm as well as sweat. Somehow the rubbish sound didn’t matter too much. The gig had a suitability chaotic ending with a stage invasion and a piece of very clumsy stage diving (more like falling). Like I said before, it’s all pretty basic, but here basic = fun.

Download: Black Lips – Boomerang
Download: Black Lips – Workin’

The Black Lips most recent live album Los Valientes Del Mundo Nuevo isn’t actually available in the UK. You can buy it from Insound. Or, probably better, you can buy their 2005 album Let it Bloom album from Rough Trade. It has almost the same songs – except more of them.

I've got some more photos (of all three bands) on my Flickr.


jamila said...

they prefer "guiboard" to keytar hahah. i love shy child.

mld said...

I have to admit I quite like that Shy Child track, although I just listened to another one by them "Down On Yourself" and was less impressed.

Maybe i'll post about them and put "as discovered by The Daily Growl" ;)

The Daily Growl said...

Shy Child aren't terrible. It's just that they really only seemed to have one song going. Quite a limited live show, though they seemed to be going down pretty well...

Anonymous said...

ha the clumsy stage diver is a friend of mine. great night, but shy child were shit.
looking forward to more photos!

Anonymous said...

shychild are a reincarnation of the band supersystem who have existed for many many years.. long before new rave or the klaxons existed ... shychild too were formed before the klaxons were ever born.
so to tar them with the new rave brush is totally unfair and unjustified.
the sound they manage to make is immense given a drummer vocals and a keytar.
klaxons supported by shychild is an amazing lineup.
the black lips on the other hand are yawnsville.
they are another boring garage rock band ... they sound like 15 years playing at the local school concert.
if anyone was boring and unoriginal it was them.

Anonymous said...

bullshit, shy child can suck my dick. they put on possibly the most boring set i've seen this year. black lips on the other hand have put on a few of the best shows i've seen this year.
"the sound they manage to make is immense given a drummer vocals and a keytar" - I've heard much more original and "immense" sounds from less.

The Daily Growl said...

Haha good to see some healthy debate on this post. It's all very anonymous though...

Anonymous said...

haha i just dont have a blog account anynmore. are the other photos up? whats the link to your flickr?

The Daily Growl said...

Flickr link's there now. Finally got them uploaded. I'm quite pleased with these ones.

Alexandra said...

OK, if you're going to spout shit about a band then at least get it right. Shy Child wasn't a "reincarnation of Supersystem", it was Pete's side project from Supersystem. The two bands were around at the same time, so to say they were a reincarnation is wrong. Also, Supersystem weren't around for "many years", they were around for about two under that name. I should know...I worked for their label and mailed out many a promo sheet. Before that, Supersystem was called El Guapo, who were signed to Dischord in D.C. and had a slightly different lineup (Justin played drums...they got a new drummer when they changed their name...Nate from Shy Child played for a stint).