review archive

The Loves / Bearsuit / Tender Trap / Kicker / Pop Off Tuesday November 30th 2002 The Spitz

In a dizzy fit of indiepop togetherness Track & Field, Fortuna Pop and Pickled Egg records have gone into a speccy huddle and come up with Pickled Pop! A day (well 2-11pm, what’s that? a student day?) of sparklin’ pop splendidness. This may be an alldayer, but some of us have livings to earn sunshine, even on a Saturday, so we manage to miss Big Eyes and The Sinisters, but stumble through the door with perfect timing as The Loves hit the stage.

Now, sadly, I’ll never get to see either The Banana Splits or The Velvet Underground, but with The Loves around I get to see both bands at once. Yeah! The Loves have mastered the art of fuzzed up bubblegum pop to irresistible effect. I mistyped there and put ‘bubblegun pop’ which works too, really. It’s nice to see a band rocking their own groovy sixties look without it seeming forcedly cool. The Loves look ginchy ‘cos they ARE ginchy (look it up in an old Fab annual). Even James looks like he’s doing a Sterling Morrison in that famous picture of the Velvets playing the Paraphernalia show as he sits on an amp strumming his bass, rather than looking like he’s having a bit of a sit down ‘cos he’s not well. Shang-a-lang loveliness. Shang-a-lang loveliness
bearsuit bearheaded Bearsuit make indie like what muvver used to make. Assuming mother was into The Slits, Lilliput, The Rosehips, Bubblegum Splash and Bis. They’re also proof that two tambourines are better than one and having a name that encourages your fans to wear home-made costumes brightens up a gig no end. As the music scritches, scratches and twangles, I enjoy the scene of a gang of brightly coloured furry bear-heads joyfully having a bundle dahn the front. Then things get reversed, bear-heads fly through the air, and I enjoy the scene of a gang of brightly coloured bear-heads playing scritchy scratchy twangle music. There are sweet girlie vocals; a boy who looks like someone drew a cartoon of an indie-bloke, screechy temper tantrums, trumpets and flutes and all manner of enjoyable squonkings.

Here come Tender Trap again. They keep pop!-ing up on various shmindie-tastic bills and every time they do they melt my heart some more with their glinty wide-eyed tunes. Tonight the icing on the cupcake (that nice chocolate stuff that you can pull off in one slab) is the presence of the ace cheeky-grinned Rachel from Comet Gain adding her scatterbrained vocals to Amelia’s. Their voices go well together and give the songs an extra shimmery thrill.

Pop Fact! There are at least four librarians at this gig to my certain knowledge. Indie, you never let me down.

bundle dahn the front

Kicker have lost their keyboard player (how very careless etc), but their songs are still a suntilting rush of fresh sparkling northern soul tinged pop. It means we can really hear the gorgeous Byrdsy guitar chiming through as Jill flings out her unwavering vocals with stylish insouciance. I always think Kicker should be French with their airy pop ways. Er, Coup de Pied-er, anyone?

It’s been a long day, the crowd is thinning, a rambling drunk Swedish bloke is asking me why Pop Off Tuesday are taking longer than everyone else to set up. I don’t know, do I? Maybe because they’ve got one of them there new-fangled computermacator thingies onstage. They’ve also got a Mathmos oil wheel projector. Those things never work very well in large spaces (Garage Mini-Bar, take note), they’re designed for enjoying in the comfort of one’s own swinging pad, I should know ‘cos I’ve got one a-beaming across the walls of the Painting residence. So we’ve got a feebly glimmering oil-projection and a big fat cloud of dry-ice. Most un-indie.

There’s a girl sitting playing guitar and singing, a mentalist drummer bloke and a bloke ‘playing’ the computer. This consists of him standing several feet away from the monitor and pressing some kind of remote control fandango so lines and bar charts go up and down on the screen and make noise come out. Stop me, if it’s getting too technical. The music is all drifty, clattery avant garde and leaves very little impression on me, we shimmy out the door with a bloke who says, ‘There’s only so much of that sort of thing you need to hear really.’ And there is.
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