Monday, 7 May 2012

Unity Hall Fundraiser, The Hop

Unity Hall Fundraiser
May 6th
The Hop, Wakefield

Tonight sees a large proportion of the Philophobia roster take to the stage in an attempt to raise awareness of the Unity Hall plans and the massive opportunity that Wakefield has to see something amazing happen.

The Do’s crop up first, relative newcomers to the label off the back of the excellent Spectemur Agendo split EP. It’s the best show I’ve seen them play, the rhythms and heavy, shifting grooves tighter and more pronounced. As any two piece should be, they are noisy and have a pleasingly full sound. They do have that new band thing of being slightly too in love with their own riffs and most songs could do with 60 seconds chopping off, but all round, very promising.

The Fur Blend shared the aforementioned EP with The Do’s but are something very different. They are a band I’ve never really got my head round and that is probably why I like them so much. There is an effortless charm to their performances; an awkward at ease that keeps an interest. The newest songs sound strong, especially Bones. Odd then, that they state they are working on a new single, yet to my ears it appears to be a track that appeared on a Philophobia comp a few years back. I don’t think I’m being harsh to say they aren’t the most prolific band, but every time I see them I walk away wishing they were.

St Gregory Orange, ahead of their second album launch in about a month, pop up next. It’s the four man lineup once more with Chad of The Spills and Jack of Runaround Kids backing up Tim Metcalfe and Harry Rhodes as they deliver the spoils of their three year creative war, also known as Midnight At The Sycamore Lounge. Having said that, the majority of the set still seems to revolve around the first record and it’s related EPs and giveaways. I expect they are still figuring out how the hell to move the ambitious record into the live arena. The sounds are as strong as ever though, dense walls of colliding noise and thumping, singular bass notes. My overriding thought, however, is that it feels like it’s the time for them to get a drummer. The beats are lost in the sound tonight. Where the core duo often play to sparse Mac produced beats, on those occasions the sound melds nicely. But with two guitars, a bass and two vocals, it feels more like a band playing to a backing than it all gelling together. Still hugely enjoyable and entrancing, but perhaps time to move the live show on just as they have moved on in the studio too.

Imp are next. Imp are great. I don’t know what to say about Imp. They are the bands’ band in Wakefield. I want to see them on national tours. “We are Imp and we are from Wakefield” would sound a lot more impressive across the country than that other band. The crowd love it and I see someone buy their entire back catalogue after the show.

At which point I had to leave. So I missed Piskie Sits, plus Runaround Kids and The Spills both receiving Gold Discs from Rob Dee. But, as you may recall from the opening of this review, this was meant to be about Unity Hall. And you know what; in that respect it failed. Not one band (I saw) said anything about Unity Hall. There was no information around the venue, basically no reference to it whatsoever (though I’m assured Rob Dee made an impassioned plee later in the night). Looking around the venue, the people who had paid to get in were people I recognised as ones who had already bought their shares in Unity Hall. This wasn’t really reaching anyone new.

It kind of highlighted the failings of The Hop as a venue too; great sound, great for bands, but terribly as a social venue. At an event that was surely about more than the music, it is a hindrance to not be able to talk whilst the music is on. As ever at The Hop you have two choices; watch the music, stood in silence or sit in the adjacent room and socialise, with the soundproofing keeping ANY music out of earshot. It’s a problem.

But not as big as the problem we’ll have if people don’t start getting behind Unity Hall. It’s a matter of weeks now. Get over to the website. No point in just thinking it’s a good idea. As my drunken friend pointed out on the night: “It’s buy or die!” Damn right. 

1 comment:

  1. Well said! We (Retarded Fish) played an anti-Criminal Justice bill gig back in 1995 at the Red Shed. This was Conservative legislation, and the Red Shed was obviously a great place to do this, with the bands flanked by the Trade Union banners. It made no difference, but it was a proper protest gig, and even had a Police presence - which really wasn’t necessary at all.

    Maybe the Orangery would have been a better venue for this gig? The mixed-use cultural link between the Orangery and what Unity Hall are trying to achieve is probably stronger than the link with the Hop.

    The layout of the Orangery is good, especially for socialising while the bands are on with the room at the rear, maybe put the bar in the room the bands currently use and put some seating where the bar is? It also needs a stage, even a low one would be good!

    I do love the Hop, but sometimes it seems like the easy choice. I'm going on a bit now so I’ll stop.