A bitterly cold weekend with intermittent snow – actual proper snow that we’re not used in the soft south – in a city that, if judged purely aesthetically, is always going to struggle to fight off being described as ‘brutal’ may not be considered a classic way to mark a significant birthday (as I have been repeatedly told this year apparently is) but it proved, in all ways, just about a perfect way to do just that.
I can only imagine what motivates the fine folk such as Pop South to organise events like these – it certainly won’t be the money. Maybe it’s the satisfaction of looking round a packed hall where people are obviously having a massively good time while the finest bands around churn out fab tune after fab tune, knowing that they made it happen. Whatever it is, long may it continue, as it allows those of us lucky enough to be able to get along to escape from reality for a few days. I don’t know about you but I need things like this to sustain me through the grind of everyday life.
Friday night’s openers were Joyce Delaney, a three-piece with bags of energy and enthusiasm, who made an early claim for the coveted ‘best looking bass of the weekend’ award. Chuck in a mass of enthusiasm, confidence, audience interaction and clap-a-long songs and we were definitely on to an early winner. In my excitement to capture my thoughts, my rapidly scrawled notes from their set included what appear to be the words “familiar pluty rap ham”, for no obvious reason. It was a only slightly gloomy in there and I was only on my first pint at this stage so I have no idea what I was moved to write down or why it ended up as it did. Perhaps they could write a song with that title and I’ll look like I was just ahead of the game, rather than a bit of an arse?
Jutland Songs took over and their fuller and more powerful sound kept the mood of optimism sustained. However, they lacked the confidence and attitude of the openers and were subsequently more of a slow burner than their short set really allowed for.
The splendidly named Breakfast Muff gave us masses of chorusy-fuzz, played for periods with their backs to the audience and swapped instruments at the drop of a plectrum. Two chorded noisy pop songs delivered with a sledgehammer force are pretty much irresistible and I lapped them up.
I’d seen The Tuts before and been underwhelmed by them, although that was a few years ago. Times move on and they blew me away here, though. Singer/guitarist Nadia led them through their excellent Clash-esque set with barely time to draw breath. I’m sure there couldn’t have been a toe in the room that remained untapped as they put every ounce of their heart and soul into the performance.
They are recording their debut album at the moment and need your help to pay for it. They have a Pledge website where you can choose just how far you’re prepared to go to support their efforts. I’ve chipped in and look forward to hearing the album: I recommend you do the same. We really do need to cherish and support bands like them, as we do for all the acts that played this weekend and other events like it, whenever and wherever they are.