A low key beginning to a potentially huge prospect, the Breeding Ground in Chester opened its doors 2 months after the crew were forced to leave the leaking roof & flat beer of the Marina in Rhyl.
With the Chester Mafia having a price on his head for being blamed for nicking their beer by Pocket Venus, the acoustically challenged Dusty Moo turned up cunningly disguised as a golfer. His magnetism must be immense as there were a couple of punters scattered around until his opening strum, they then started marching in during his short, but very sweet set.
Hooper are a strange breed, but they have changed me, I now promise to review bands sober (yes, yes, I know I’ll break it) as being chauffeur to the supping Steve ‘Tight-Fist’ Sync & the ever decaying Andy Fatman, my enforced tee-totalism made me appreciate the music tonight.
A smooth opening made way to what reminded Sync of early Killing Joke, which by cool coincidence is a band I’ve played to death this week (‘What’s This For!’ LP on crackling vinyl). The overall sound from the same rig as Rhyl was outstanding; particularly the drums that came across well on the Lennon inspired Butterflies. Like I said, Hooper are a strange breed, if they got rid of the 2 or 3 ropey Rolling Stones-u-like songs they’d have the nucleus of a great set. The penultimate song (which should be swapped around with the last number) is one of those cool-as-fuck jammed out tunes I love. Not enough bands do this stuff & sometimes, the ones that do, over indulge. But Hooper get it spot on.
Limited Excess is a fitting title to what looks like being Black Swans debut single proper. We do get a limited excess of the band, it’s just enough to know what they’re about, where they’re coming from & where they’re heading. They don’t play the local pubs every other week, you may catch them locally 2 or 3 times a year & each time there’s a marked improvement. They just get better & better & it was noted that Sarah Lipman is now an accomplished bass player rather than ‘the blonde singer with a guitar for good measure’. We all know about Tom being the area’s best rock/punk guitarist who, even in tonight’s black shirt, jeans & light beard can still look cool (the cunt!) & you have to tip your hat to the quiet unassuming, but awesome drumming from Jamie. This does make them the complete band & with the right guidance & movement in the right circles they will crack it. Tonight’s set was extremely impressive, the right chords, the right moves, the right songs. The Black Swans take this set on the road this autumn, supporting a Swedish band (not Abba), which is always a good move as foreign bands playing abroad always attracts the right attention. They’re also supporting Spear of Destiny, which is great for experience but a bad move, as you can lose credibility before you gain it with a very finicky music press. If you want to get ahead in this cut throat business supporting a band who now hold as much clout as last week’s TV Times is not the way to go about it. But who knows, maybe Pat Gilbert of Mojo will be there to reminisce on old times & get blown away by the Black Swans, for that is what they’ll do to Spear of Destiny (I know, I’ve seen them do it before).
The future’s bright, the future’s Black.
(reviewed by Neil Crud)