Saturday, November 03, 2007

Ghouls Allowed

StrangeTime/Cellardoor/Sub Rosa, Actress and Bishop, Ludgate Hill, Birmingham, Saturday October 27 2007, 9pm.

Deep into the Jewellery Quarter and just off St Paul's Square, the upstairs venue at the Actress & Bishop is packed with people in various sorts of fancy dress for this hotly-anticipated three-act Hallowe'en show curated by those fine StrangeTime folk. Your discreet diarist decides against fancy dress as such, but dressed in black and with mad, staring eyes intact if fairly boggled, opts for the scary blogger guise that has served him so well over the years.

With Prykemeister and the lovely Bex also in attendance amongst an attractive, knowledgeable crowd, it's a decent turnout for Leicester's Sub Rosa's inaugural live show in the Second City. Bedecked in assorted blood-splattered gear that gives them the appearance of Re-Animator extras the lead singer is at pains to stress that they don't normally look like this. But when they summon a steady succession of blood-curdling riffs savage enough to waken the dead from an eternity of spiritual slumber maybe they protest too much. Very impressive stuff indeed.

There's something a bit different about Andrew from Cellar Door since last time our paths crossed, but your clueless correspondent can't quite put his finger on it. Ah yes, it'll be the wig, glasses, fake boobs and skirt, of course! But it's a quick change from Doubtfire to Surefire as the group's early pretty Mogwai-isms make way for something a little more fluid, woozy and dare we say it, funky, as comparisons to Tortoise and Krautrock become more apparent. The crowd are starting to sway, anyway, and it can't be the alcohol given the under-resourced bar. Andrew's clearly a man who knows how to catch the eye of the barman, however, as he cheerfully announces that he's so drunk he's forgotten the outro to their penultimate number.

Head downstairs in search of readier alcohol and emerge back upstairs to find have just missed the first song in StrangeTime's set. Guitarist/vocalist Kate Finch has her pageboy cut submerged underneath a Cleopatra wig that's fetching enough to tempt your lamebrained lothario to make a damn silly asp of himself, while bassist Chris and drummer John settle for a subtly blood-splattered look. But then the band once described as the scariest in the West Midlands clearly don't need to try too hard to terrify, particularly with songs like 'Personality Disorder' and new song 'Profile' sinister enough to psych out the most laid-back of listeners.

There's something slightly different about the band tonight - maybe it's the fancy dress liberating them from self-consciousness, the headline status at a packed show giving them greater self-esteem, or simply the confidence that comes from playing regularly and the burgeoning inter-band chemistry thus generated - but perhaps it's only appropriate that at a Hallowe'en ball StrangeTime have genuinely arrived.

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Anonymous Andrew said...

well remembered. my memory of the night is hazy at best but i do remember my drunken ramblings when you were trying to have a quiet drink later on! just to be pedantic it's 'cellardoor' with no space ;-p

5:14 PM  
Blogger Dead Kenny said...

Andrew, It can't have often been said that Dead Kenny had a quiet drink so definite collector's item there.

I guess in the future all bands will have pedantic use of grammar in their nomenclature! Keeps us blogger types on our toes s'pose...

9:33 PM  

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