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6th February,
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Standard Fare - The Noyelle Beat (LP)

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Gig Review

Vic Thrill / Art Brut / Special Needs / Metro Riots
Notting Hill Arts Club

Article written by Various Writers
Feb 29, 2004.

With four pretty useful bands on the bill the Arts Club is fuller than Pop Idol's Michelle after an all-you-can-eat buffet.
The cheap Armenian lagers are going down well ("Oi whose Coq's leaked over my trousers?!") and though cold outside the overdressed inhabitants of this rammed venue are ready for a Saturday afternoon of sweaty punk rock entertainment. And boy do we get it with the Metro Riots. They dish up a steaming plateful of greasy Stooges rock n roll using a dirty ladle. There's no herbs, no spices, just plenty of gravy. With a howling rubber legged frontman, a motorlimbed drummer, a funky blues bassist and a gravity defying backward leaning guitarist, they dip the occasional webbed toe in the swamp but it's mainly A Grade garage rock. A chum asks "where's the tunes?". On cue they deliver "You're Bad", a terrific rumbling piece of low life genius. Ha! Metro Riots 1 Chum 0. (Review by Paul M)

Five-piece Special Needs are crammed into the confines but nevertheless find space to blunder into each other with sweaty energy.
It’s all very rock’n’roll – lots of enthusiasm, in your face-ness and loud guitars – but, whether it’s the PA or not, it’s all a bit muddy and early on the tunes seem to lack focus. But they have some killer songs with strong, almost 60’s girl pop melodies (on I think “Sylvia” and “Roy Orbison”, but song titles weren't given out freely). However, the crowd pleaser is the closing “Motorbikin’” – which, whilst, it might have a genesis in the Shangri-La’s Leader of the Pack as a theme - is a straightforward mosh-pit tune of chanted staccato lyrics (“My friend/Just bought/A brand/New motorbike/He drives/It everywhere/He had/A crash/Fell off/He died”), as the singer transforms his mike-stand into a pair of handlebars the front rows go gaga and it ends in chaos as the singer does a mini-crowd surf (ridiculous in this venue but done with, er, style). Neat neat neat. (Review by Kev O)

Art Brut are a different proposition. Five graduates fresh from the Sixth Form College of Punk and New Wave – one suit and Rickenbacker a la The Jam; jackets, badges and shirts a la Adverts; and black t-shirt and black spiked hair a la, er, Green Day.
The lead singer looks like the head boy, ruffling his hair and bantering between songs (I liked the jokey ref to These Animal Menswear …ahem). The songs are spiky, short, energetic punk/new wave (even starting off with an instrumental as The Buzzcocks used to do), such as “Art Brut on Top of the Pops” (which is the song’s only lyric) and is an insanely punching-the-air call to arms, and has the singer and us laughing along. It’s intentionally ridiculous, and knowingly outdated (does being on the ToTP mean the same as it did when the Rezillos were singing about it in 1978?) but works. Sometimes the sound muddies up the vocals to mush and we miss the lyrics on the song “That was a true a story, it happened to me.” although we catch the juvenile fumblings in “I’ve a Got a New Girlfriend”, where he sings with school boy joy, “I’ve seen her naked….Twice!” Well, I’d like to see Art Brut twice, if not on Top of The Pops. Not naked of course. (Review by Kev O)

Vic Thrill was a late addition to the billing. A drummer, a guitar, a lap-top and when an American guy comes on in hand-me-down magician’s garb from Butlin’s, with Capt Sensible glasses and turban, I groan…. this is more like Ali Bongo.
I decide to give it two songs….and stay for the whole set. It’s all faintly ridiculous but captivating. The lead-man is a confident performer, constantly seeking your attention and catching your eye, and is entirely engaging. The music is snappy, fast paced, vocal fxed, programmed/live mix, fun pop-rock. My immediate prejudice is overcome and in spite of broken strings, a moving microphone and software problems, I and others are won over - even the po-faced (or was it incredulous?) DJ bursts into a grin when eyeballed. I guess I must have looked like that when I left. (Review by Kev O)


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