Wednesday, October 18, 2006

StrangeTime Here We Come

StrangeTime, Upstairs at The Varsity, Wolverhampton, Saturday October 14 2006.

What should have been a quick, straightforward journey is railroaded by repairs to the Shrewsbury-Wolverhampton line, meaning your correspondent has to swelter in a crowded and criminally-overheated coach stopping at all points between, the combined clatter of a camp would-be comedian upfront, and a blaring radio behind, rendering his trusty mp3 player unusable for the torrid duration. Then have to run the gauntlet of walking past what seems like a furious row between rival kebab shop staff (think Never The Twain with added muthafucka quotient). Feel my pain, reader!

But still, good things come to people who stoically battle through adversity, and thus enjoy a quick pint downstairs of the venue with StrangeTime siren Kate Finch, before she makes her excuses (resting her vocal cords, pharynx fact fans) and leaves me to the fulsome compensations of the company of her glamorous blonde friend and fellow Telford resident Bec. So glamorous, in fact, that as we move from the bar towards the venue there is a gallery of goons spluttering into their pints and if their expressions are anything to go by, muttering 'why dose dirty bloggers got all the luck!'.

Get upstairs just as one of the support acts start up on stage, a trio who never reveal their name. The lead singer looks a bit like Joe Cole, the guitarist a bit like Herman Munster, and the drummer...well, the drummer just grins vacantly in that time-honoured drumming fashion, quite frankly. There's a definite tinge of Britpop about their guitar-driven melodic rock, although, with all the swearing and mostly inaudible banter it seems clear that their most treasured record from that era is 'Wibbling Rivalry'. Still, they're entertaining enough in a rough-and-ready way to divert me from trying to impress Bec, which is probably a relief to all concerned.

But, of course, the real reason we're here is for StrangeTime and the ultimate sacrifice* of curtailing her conversation with your correspondent pays off as Kate is in fine and furious vocal form as the band (featuring Tara on bass and John on drums, full line-up fans) dust off the summer cobwebs and deliver some far-from-mellow fruitfulness on old classics 'Lust' and 'Ex-Boyfriend' as well as newer numbers like the very impressive 'Born Not To Conform'. If Birmingham is the New Yorkshire, as the NME proclaims, then StrangeTime, just signed to MAS, look set to smash a few plates and make a glorious mess at the resulting bostin' tea party.

A swift pint later and your swaying hack has the undeniably Hitchcockesque task of navigating a certain elegant blonde to home and safety through the mean (and no doubt by now ketchup-encrusted) streets of Wolverhampton and the claustrophobic confines of the (slow) coach (not to mention the bad-tempered and vaguely menacing cabbie). Your correspondent conducts himself in a gentlemanly fashion throughout - Jimmy Stewart would be proud (let's not mention Cary Grant in relation to this, eh?).

*In the original draft your distracted hack mis-typed this as scarifice, which nearly got the editorial team's approval as there oughtta be a word called 'scarifice' dontcha think?


Anonymous Russ L said...

Speak more of this 'Birmingham Is The New Yorkshire' business, please. I know NME approval of anything tends to last for about a week-and-a-half at the most, but I'm nonetheless intrigued. What have they been a-saying?

This is assuming that describing somewhere as The New Yorkshire is a compliment. I'm not up on NME regional politics.

9:40 AM  
Blogger Dead Kenny said...

On the cover: Brilliant Birmingham - Why It's the new New Yorkshire'.

Inside, Radar piece, p18, 'My Scene' by Cassie Smyth (NME's 'Villa thriller', if you please). Namechecks Deluka; The Bourgeois Four; The Twang and Computer Club.

Adjoining piece by James Jam bigs up Sunset Cinema Club. They played Sunflower Lounge last night, anyone go?

11:37 AM  
Anonymous Russ L said...


I've seen Sunset Cinema Club twice and remain unimpressed, but I aproce of bigupery for The Twang.

Is this the current one/available at the moment? I may have to buy the NME for the first time in at least a couple of years.

11:58 AM  
Anonymous Russ L said...

That would be 'approve,' not 'aproce.' There oughta be a word called 'aproce', don'tcha think?

12:00 PM  
Blogger Dead Kenny said...

Yeah, it's this week's edition, whether it's worth buying for the piece concerned, not so sure.

1:30 PM  

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