These Arms Are Snakes + Pre + Meet Me In St. Louis @ The Underworld
I'd like you all to meet the newest, and only other, member of the funfunfun team. Everyone say hello to Neb (*hello neb!). He's very cuddly and has very nicely contributed this wonderfully written review of the These Arms Are Snakes gig that we both attended earlier in the week, which was an incredibly good night, but i'll let Neb tell you all about it.
How is it possible to open for These Arms Are Snakes? No matter how hard you try or how well you deliver you're facing a more than possible fate of being little more than a footnote in the event. Both PRE and Meet Me in St Louis avoid this pitfall in contrasting styles. Despite battling with an unhelpfully muddy sound throughout, Meet Me in St Louis open with a set of post-hardcore tinged with american indie impressive in it's potential. Jittering with growing confidence between frantic and tightly controlled passages, they take a few songs to fully hit their stride, with complex songs appearing a little disjointed and an impression that MMISL are trying a little too hard. After this however their many ideas crammed into their songs begin to flow more seemlessly and with growing energy, driven by a superb drummer the Guilford quartet are definately worth checking out.
PRE take a slightly alternate route to entertaining the filling stage area, namely going totally mental. With a small japanese frontwoman wearing just a baggy t-shirt ("hang on are they tucked into her pants?", "yup", ".... cool") all the while emitting high pitched yelps, and a guitarist running havoc across the stage assaulting other band members and hurling himself into the drum kit as a climax. It's easy to forget that there's songs being played here, that at times befit the antics that accompany them, a bit too easy to be honest. At times PRE's two basses and a guitar attack (and attack is the right word) sounds huge, but this unfortunately also highlights more numerous the moments when they sound more pedestrian. Their energy alone cant quite carry these, but when things go right its infectious for the flashes of the brief set, leaving an impression of a band with some potential they can hopefully realise.
An example of how to fulfill potential follows PRE onstage shortly after their drummer threatening conclusion. The stage set shows this isn't your standard overly testosteroned hardcore band about to make their entrance, with effects, processers, keyboards and guitars spread over the stage. These Arms are Snakes enter one by one creating a swelling introduction capped by Steve Snere looping and manipulating his voice through the processor he plays with throughout the set and wrapping his mike chord round and round his head. Snere's performance is explosive and unpredictable, hurling himself over the barriers bordering the stage with sufficent force to break his belt (which then appears found his neck) and at one point disappearing back stage only to re-appear with a step ladder that he then proceeds to scale and deliver the next song atop of, swaying alarmingly, before vaulting off and ensnaring himself within the ladder's two legs. Old songs are blasted out with venom to an enraptured audience, both more powerful and more seering than on 'Oxeneers...' or 'This Is Meant To Hurt You', especially 'Your Pearly Whites' and 'Angela's Secret', arguably the set highlights. With a new album scheduled for release in the near future on Jade tree this was also an oppotunity to hear the new songs that TAAS have been working on and several appear througout the set to a good reception. Familiarity with their old set seems to have driven a desire to experiment with the old songs to great effect, and those that are new suffer slightly by comparrison, not quite sharing the same incredible power. They still sound immensely promising, and given a few months on the road and some familiarity with the audience, the newer stylisticly, interestingly varied songs will surely be matching their predecessors. On this kind of form few bands can live with the intelligence and artistry of These Arms are Snakes' songs and the power and energy of their performance, a short encore despite protestations that "we don't do this" leaves those lucky enough to be there wanting more, in the knowlege that surely this band can only get better, here's hoping they come back soon.
Thanks to dark13 for the TAAS photo
Download these please:
Meet Me In St Louis - I Am Champagne And You Are Shit (another mp3 coming soon)
Pre - Ace Cock
These Arms Are Snakes - Your Pearly Whites
These Arms Are Snakes - Horse Girl