Sunday, 25 March 2012

Leicester indiepop all-dayer, The Firebug, 24/03/12

There are times throughout this excellent gig when you feel like you've crashed someone's house party, but that it doesn't really matter because everyone is so bloody nice and welcoming that it feels like you've known them for years.

This is a coming together of Leicester's indiepop community. There are some old faces here, some new ones, and some from out of town - and the atmosphere is perfect. There's none of the studied cool you can sometimes get at London shows, for example, nor the reliance on a bunch of people playing records inbetween the bands to try and inject some happiness. Nope, people are here because they want to be - not because they think they ought to. And most of the crowd do that crazy thing of watching all the bands, instead of standing outside smoking, or talking at the back of the room. A good 75 per cent of the 100 or so here are here before the excellent Sunbathers play their first note.

The Sunbathers, who have a new single out of Dufflecoat, seem perrenial outsiders. Perhaps because they don't make the sort of foot-stomping pop songs that others do, but that doesn't mean those songs they do play aren't worthy. Whilst their not instant, there's a pulsing pop heart between these two - as there has been for years and years now. The Sunbathers deserve a wider audience.

I've seen August Actually many many times now, and I've always been impressed by someone who can play drums and trumpet at the same time. Laura's voice is as pristine as ever, and she really should be allowed to sing more songs. Frontman Alex has a monkey face mask hanging off his micrphone stand, which, from where I was standing, makes him look like he's wearing the world's worst thong.

My last band of the day (I had to go home early because of a sick infant - rock and/or roll) were The Sweet Nothings. I often gush to anyone in this band who will listen to me that the last time I saw them was the best I'd seen them play, and this time was no different. Still shorn of keyboard player Vinnie, the three-piece still manage to make an almost Buzzcocks-like pop rattle.

Before they go on stage, singer Pete learns that Grimsby Town have equalised in an important match at Luton Town. By the end of The Sweet Nothings' set most of us in the crowd feel like we've won the FA Cup. I made my way home happy.

Big thanks to Simon at the excellent Sweeping the Nation blog for organising such an ace day. I'm sad to have missed MJ Hibbett & the Validators on home turf, and the excellent (and friendly) Just Handshakes (We're British), but there's always next year...

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