A Fistful Of Fandango 2009: day four

United Kingdom United Kingdom | 17 September 2009

Lion Club is out, Islington Boys Club is in, fronted by a gender confusing man, this relatively dull four piece bring us indie by numbers. The performance is tight and the lead does have a fantastic falsetto (hence earlier confusion) but the music is un-inspired and a little boring.

First on in the main room tonight is Fierce Panda’s latest signing The Molotovs. They instantly kick things off like a band on a mission, their trumpet laden sound richly echoing around a room only two eights full. A shame, but the people there seem enchanted never the less. Lead singer Will Daunt brings an almost preacher like quality to his performance akin to Win Butler, with a fantastic vocal style. Standout tracks like 'City Chorus' and 'One Up On Me' leave you practically numb in the face with smiles. Unfazed by the sporadic crowd they deliver these songs with grandiose energy and one is genuinely surprised that the roof hasn't opened up to release a cascade of skittles that rain down on the audience. These are the epic choruses that contain the emotional punch ‘stadium rockers’ like the Editors could only dream of. Amazing.

Another swift pint and stage change over, Televised Crimewave are on and rush through a particularly unremarkable set. Failing to really grab any ones attention it’s by this point that the one note tone of the Artrocker stage starts to show. Just as the final chords of their set exits, collective memories rather quickly, Hatcham Social start up in the main room. Proficient and functionary, their execution is strong, the group gels well together. But things fail to truly ignite and it’s hard to tell exactly what is wrong here. The songs seem good enough with a wash of guitar noise, inoffensive bass parts and driven upright drummer - there just doesn’t seem to be anything truly unique about the band. Plus their influences change from song to song in an incoherent manner, like a band struggling to find its identity. Not bad, but not brilliant.

The venue starts to fill up and Room 2 seems packed by the time the headliners storm the podium. The Chapman Family are about unleash their special brand of noise and this is the band that finally deliver on the Artrocker promise. The loud crunch of distorted chords and screeching feedback permeates the eardrums, but with it comes the hooks and melodies. Really showing how you can ‘rock out’ with a jumper tied round your waist, lead singer Kingsley Chapman sings with frenzied energy and passion. Barking through gritted teeth, he makes his lyrical observations whilst crawling around on the floor screaming about the kids not being okay. Suddenly having an opinion on the plight of kids seems very important as your left with no choice but to consume every word this Chapman feed us.

Art Brut
draw the largest crowd of the festival, it's hard to see why. Despite a relatively large following in thier new found homeland of Germany, Art Brut's UK buzz seems to have all but fizzled out at least three years ago. The band start up and after a few bars Eddy enters from stage right and completely defies expectation. Starting with a classic Brut number Eddy delves into the British psyche in his usual talkative manner. The set is boisterous, lead singer and band seem to be really enjoying themselves and the crowd are lapping it up. Laddish guitar rifts drive Eddy’s rants, but he comes across as someone earnestly trying to work things out rather then someone bitterly complaining. Songs made years before Twitter now have updated pop culture references, the words being interchangeable but the points of the songs remaining the same. After a particular rowdy rendition of ‘Formed a Band’, Argos implores us to “phone a friend who isn’t at the gig and start a band with them immediately.” Certainly good advice to follow when you look how Art Brut turned out.

By Ben Mercer.

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