review archive

The Pattern The Garage, August 20th 2002

What a difference a year makes…
August 2001: The Pattern play The Garage. It’s nowhere near full, but down the front are a delirious dedicated few. They’ve heard the gospel according to Christopher Appelgren and chums on this first UK tour and want to extract the last shimmy and shake out of the band before they vanish back across the ocean.
August 2002: Britain’s rock kidz are gripped by garage band fever. The Pattern play The Garage. It’s sold out.

shimmy and shake
What a difference the hype makes…
NME informs us that at The Pattern’s tour warm up gig at the Metro ‘everyone…is waaay to cool to lift their eyes, let alone their hands, to welcome the rock ‘n’ roll they probably haven’t paid to see.’ I wouldn’t know, I was too busy shaking it at the front with a gaggle of like-minded girls, including the Hello Cuca ladies (there’s always a healthy proportion of girls stuck to the front of the stage when The Pattern play). A boy attempted to crowd surf much to Christopher’s bemusement, ‘What are you doing? This isn’t a stage it’s a step.’ Poor old fashionistas (and NME) they missed out on all the fun.
thumbsucking beat boogie

So, tonight at the Garage, The Beatings are supporting. Utterly bizarrely, The Beatings are the hipsters’ hypesters of the moment, the place is crawling with Hoxton victims blindly following a trend, oh so carefully dressed up in expensive Trucker ‘chic’. The Beatings strut their Kermit fronting AC/DC stuff. It’s loud, it’s smokey, it’s very silly. The hipsters are bemused. This is just stinky ole rawk. This can’t be the latest cool thang. They shuffle out, probably heading for the latest new bar that’s taken over a couple of the old handbag/shoe wholesalers that used to line Shoreditch high street but kept all the old fittings ‘cos it’s like rad or postmodern or something.

Those of us left in the sweat dripping confines of The Garage gather round for a helping of hipshaking, thumbsucking beat boogie, California style. We get served up a heaping helping from fab new album ‘Real Feelness’. The band hurling themselves headfirst into the ramalama songs as they tumble out. Apart from the girls at the front, nobody seems to be moving to these infectious beats. Weird, these songs were made for mental mod-dancing.


As always Christopher wriggles, writhes, handclaps, hops, skips and jumps his way around the stage. Either he’s lost a bit of weight or he’s bought some better fitting clothes as his shirts and trousers no longer seem to be bursting at the seams. Guitarist Jason alternates between getting the crowd clapping along and ferociously beckoning in an urgent ‘C,maawwn!’ way. This is what I love about The Pattern, here are five men playing fast and furious rock ‘n’ roll, but there’s not an ounce of aggression in there. They’re driven by energy, enthusiasm and charm.

exceptionally large head

Halfway through the audience moves up a gear. There is mucho macho pushing and jumping. There are attempts at stage-diving. There is crowd-surfing. In his down home space yokel drawl, Christopher advises people not to ‘ride on each other, unless it’s someone you know and trust’. A baseball cap gets chucked onstage and Christopher explains he can’t wear hats on account of his exceptionally large head. More kinky Kinksy songs get hammered out including new single ‘Fragile Awareness’. Everyone gets sweatier and more crazed by the second until the sweatiest and craziest bloke (last seen getting a handbag battering at The Pattern’s Arts Café gig) executes a spectacular dive from the stage out across the audience and the band play their final song. No encores, no need. Their work here is done.

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