Sunday, October 09, 2005

Hot Puppies, Jumping Guppies, Art Brut Quirky*

Art Brut/The Hot Puppies, Birmingham Bar Academy, Wednesday October 5 2005.

The train to Birmingham is delayed for 25 minutes so miss out on the opportunity to see the first support act The Chalets** (more of whom, briefly, later) but have just enough time for a pint of Grolsch (the Carling Bar Academy has, erm, sold out of Carling) to slake the thirst before The Hot Puppies emerge panting on stage. Dogs die in hot bars, but this five-piece from Aberystwyth, comprising two girls (vocals and keyboards/backing vocals) and three blokes (guitar, bass, drums) produce unusual but undeniably melodic indiepop that had Dead Kenny's tail wagging for the half-hour set duration. But try as hard as you can, it's difficult to avoid referencing the dreaded 'C' word, because with belting Welsh female vocals singing catchy tunes like these everyone will be slipping into Catatonia comparisons. The Hot Puppies release a double A-side single 'Terry/Love In Practice Not Theory' on Fierce Panda offshoot Label Fandango records on November 7, Dead Kenny secured himself an advance copy and can confirm it's an astonishingly good calling card, so be prepared to wind your windows down and take a listen. The fresh air will really do you some good.

Art Brut may be having almost as much trouble as the criminally-neglected Ladytron in terms of troubling the chart compilers, but at least their supporters in the crowd have developed a terrace-anthem style chant of their own ('Art Brut! Top Of The Pops!' ad infinitum) so that must be something of a consolation to them. Dead Kenny declines to participate as he's concentrating very hard on not looking at the two glamorous young women who've pushed in front of him and started snogging furiously. The things people will do to get themselves mentioned on a Parallax View crowdwatch sub-feature! This is the price of success, dear readers, and it hurts, I tell thee.

And so to Art Brut, whose debut album Bang Bang Rock 'n' Roll received a pretty good critical response, although Dead Kenny isn't yet completely decided about it as it sounds more like a collection of songs rather than a cohesive, organic whole that is greater than the sum of its' parts (comparing unfavourably in this respect to their contemporaries The Rakes' surprisingly sensational 'Capture/Release'). In a live setting, however, the ebullient charisma of born show-off Eddie Argos (looking more and more like Boris Anakov from Striker) and the simple fun of some of the lyrics and tunes helps to counterbalance reservations about the limited range and depth of the material. Entertaining stuff in the main, then, and with at least a couple of songs ('Rusted Guns From Milan' and 'Emily Kane') which point towards a more interesting future, even though deep down I strongly suspect Argos may have a greater future as something like an Xfm presenter rather than Mark E Smith's natural successor.

Towards the end of the set Dead Kenny drifts away from the lipstick lesbians in search of his last snifter from the bar, to find the Carling Bar Academy bar (which never sells bitter) has now run out of all draught lagers as well! Decide to sip on a bottle of Smirnoff Ice (the source of many a headache and bad decision in the past) but any sulking is mitigated by finding himself stood behind two attractive women, including a rather striking brunette in glasses and polka-dot style dress. Your correspondent is just about to make his move when Eddie Argos bellows out 'The Chalets! Top Of The Pops!' and my intended turns to her friend and mock-gasps 'Aww! HE LOVES US!!!'. Sensibly sensing his depth displacement, and mindful of the disapproval of the Witness Protection Programme should he be found cavorting with celebrities, Dead Kenny makes his excuses and leaves.

* with apologies to Prefab Sprout
** dead kenny is pretty sure it was the chalets although their official site makes no mention of the gig, can anyone confirm or deny?



Blogger Ben said...

You wouldn't say that was a contrived post title at all, would you?

11:27 PM  
Blogger Dead Kenny said...

The jumping guppies that provided the between-act entertainment were edited out of the final post transcript due to space demands.


11:52 AM  

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