(review n pix by neil crud)
John Morris straps on a guitar and you know what’s going to happen. You’re going to be jealous with uncritical adulation. Lets not take anything away from the other two members of Carpet – Julian on bass and Hargi toiling away thanklessly behind his drums, but all this lank haired frontman has to do is look in the direction of a six-string and the audience coagulate into envious evil green jelly.
Audience..? Yes we’ll get to that in a bit…
Carpet learnt the rules the hard way; sprouting up as pre-pube Nirvana-u-likely lads, and it took some time to leave behind the uber-Cobain status to mutate into this chromium plated throbbing Butthole bleeds Jimi’s spleen fantasy. Yes, John Morris straps on a guitar and the rest of us fret wanking wannabes skulk in the shadows, hating and loving him. Carpet’s hypnotic-telepathic formulae is a concept of true grit and a true art form in complicated and intricate noise… make that NOIZE.
John Morris himself, looking like a Wayne’s World extra is almost impossible not to warm to, the same goes for the tunes that are capable of hitting the spot, each with a clinical snarl and decimating guitar.
Arthur was in the crowd – as in Half a Crowd – actually it was quarter of a crowd. Carpet and Race Against Disaster before them not only had the misfortune of being one of six pawns in tonight’s latest installment of venue wars, but they had the added bonus of a petrol bomb attack…! – Only in Rhyl…!
Bar Blu reopened its doors a couple of weeks ago and over the last 4 years there’s been some memorable Wednesday nights where they were hanging off the rafters to see the bands, and there’s been some very quiet nights where even Steve Sync would offer to buy everyone present a round of drinks.
With six bands on tonight in two venues, the crowds were evenly split. So these poor bands are now playing to half the audience they used to get. Neither venue will be making any money and I guess until one of them yields its gonna fuck up this music scene that has thrived for so many years.
So I didn’t get to see Race Against Disaster – we were all evacuated from the building near the end of Arnie’s set by the Boys in Blue as someone had petrol bombed the rear of the venue. Petrol Bombed? With the price it is at the pumps these days its a pricey act of vandalism, vendetta or whatever!
I did manage to catch RAD’s soundcheck earlier on and saw a cute young frontsiren backed by a solid sounding band.
With everyone stood outside and not knowing when we were to be allowed back in, there was a natural drift to Blu. But Fatman, Sync, Wayne Jives, Carl Gintis, Kyle and myself had come out to see Carpet so we headed for a swifty in Wethers, and subsequently missed the middle slot.
Wrexham’s Arnie (pic above) had opened proceedings and the rumour mill of how good they are was proven in the flesh. The singer-guitarist of this 5-piece, not one to face his audience, opens his mouth, contorts his tongue and releases a juvenile Tom Waits melodic caw. He looks like a side-on Badly Drawn Boy who’s lost his hat and coat, an artist that hasn’t been endearing at Crud Cottage, and thankfully that’s where the comparison ends.
Arnie, a telling name; release pop explosions, effortless dynamics and distilled harmonies; yes, they may bear the mark of many of todays guitar bands, but maybe, just maybe there’s enough diversity here to draw the Wii generation away from their cocooned consoles and out onto the boards of our venues (which Rhyl seems to have an abundance of these days!).
Although their set was cut short by would be assassins, I saw enough to give me a broad approving grin; that vital moment hit me when that weird, fleeting chemistry of people and songs on stage rushed down my tingling spine. In other words, they’re a great band.