18 September 1997
University, The Boardwalk, The Canal Bar, The Venue, The Music Box
Branching out from London, this year's pub crawl
travelled to several cities. Event goers
purchased a ticket for 10 quid which they later swapped for a wristband allowing them access to
all five venues, a CD containing songs by all the participating bands, and a free copy of the most
current issue of Melody Maker. This year's lineup seemed to be a bit dance-oriented, but was a
bargain nonetheless. We skipped from venue to venue quite a bit, and here's what we saw:
Dust Junkys - University
A reggate-funk-rock-rap-hardcore band from Manchester with a singer that reminded me a bit of
Bradley from Sublime, backed by some scary looking rastafarians and a DJ. The Dust Junkys
have been getting quite a buzz from the music press and certainly had an entertaining stage
presence, although at times it seemed fairly contrived. The performance was quite lively, but their
songs tended to get monotonous after about a minute. We made it through 3 or four songs
before deciding they need to tour with Fat.
Velocette - The Music Box
If Sarah Records (or Sarah 2 or whoever they are now) hasn't signed Velocette yet, it is only a
matter of time. Velocette are very reminiscent of Heavenly or Cub, using sugary sweet female
vocals over a melodic pop-punk backdrop. Their songs are upbeat and well-written and the band
was very perky on stage. The only disappointing part of the performance was the singer's small
vocal range and her difficulty in singing on-key. While she had a pleasant enough voice, it seems
some voice lessons would be in order to help tighten up the sound. Velocette are definately
worth a second listen.
High Fidelity - The Canal Bar
Former Soupdragons mastermind Sean Dickson's new project is not even vaguely reminiscent of
his old one (at least not the part we heard). With songs ranging from straightforward power-pop
to slow, melodic and almost shoegazery melancholic dirges, it's a very different direction for him.
It was a shame that so few people turned out to hear this band. They were putting a great deal of
effort into a very tight set and even took the time to meet and greet the one man dancing like a
maniac down by the stage. I, for one, was rather shocked to see the extreme change is style from
Sean, but was very pleasantly surprised. Hopefully he will be able to bring High Fidelty to a level
he never quite obtained with the Soupdragons.
Tanya Donnelly - The Boardwalk
It had been at least 2 « years since I had seen Tanya perform and despite having not heard any of
her solo material, I was quite excited because she always puts on a lively show. The new material
did not disappoint either, ranging from the breathy vocal piece she opened with entitled
"Acrobat", to more poppy, mainstream songs such as "Breathe Around You" and "Pretty Deep."
She even through in a gratuitous Belly song, "Low Red Moon," and a cover of "Time of the
Season." Exchanging chatter with the audience, she smiled from one start to finish, and had none
of her early-gig jitters which usually result in sour notes throughout the first song or two. She
even took the time to scrawl a couple of autographs before leaving the stage. Although she
appears to have departed from the eerie freakishness of Belly, the songs remain, without a doubt,
her own, and although they don't have quite the distinctive flair of "Angel" or "Sad Dress" it is
with extreme pleasure that I look forward to buying the album.
Lo-Fidelity Allstars - The Music Box
Among the new wave of dance bands obtaining airplay on the coattails of Prodigy and Orbital, the
Lo-Fidelity Allstars look like a cross between Oasis and Devo, and sound like a cross between a
funked-up Prodigy and Locutus of Borg. The singer, with a shaggy Beatle-esque haircut looked
exactly like the younger Gallagher, singing from behind what appeared to be a large coat rack
with a microphone in the middle. And, in classic Liam form, didn't move an inch or change
expression throughout the course of the performance. But, weirdness aside, the music was great,
and most of the crowd seemed unable to stand still through the barrage of noisy electronica.
Highly recommended for a night of uncontrollable dancing and oddness.
Overall, not a bad evening for a tenner. The Inner City Pub Crawl served its purpose in exposing
a large number of young bands to a proportionately large crowd; and there were quite a few
bands we wanted to check out that we simply could not because of overlaps in scheduling. The
full list of bands who appeared in Manchester is:
The High Fidelity
Monk & Canatella