(review n pix by neil crud)
I could swear your father’s alive when you spit on the floor and screw up your eyes. I read it in a science book that you and me have chemistry. The Keys are a wonderful band, and should be a staple part on your rock ‘n’ roll 5-a-day intake. You need to seek them out and discover them along with other new life and new civilisations, you need to boldly go where no average boring-humans have gone before. Those average boring-humans (ABH) don’t support live music at this level; on the toilet-circuit (no disrespect to Telfords, it’s a synonymous term for describing venues of a certain size), no, ABH’ers get excited about seeing Muse, Coldplay, Razorlight and will happily pay £45 to see them, but can’t afford to see The Keys in Chester.
Thankfully, and hopefully it’ll continue, Telfords Warehouse is a place (on a Friday at least) that gets packed out, it’s a great place to go away from the steroid boys and the dumb painted girls in town, it’s a place that’s cool to be seen in, and it’s a great place to play if you’re a band. You have a captive audience; most of whom are not there to see you, but your yardstick is to captivate them with your music.
Not every band gets to play Telfords, it’s by invitation only from the owner Jez or the DJ, Adam Walton – it’s almost like getting a Peel Session! You’re only on if they like you and not because you’ve paid a booking agent. So there will be a pattern to the formula.. Yes, they have to choose the bands carefully. You’re unlikely to see the likes of ArtisFiction or Bastions play here, they’d empty the place!
Anyway, it had been a great day, Steve Sync, Roger Subway, Tim Griff and myself had been out since noon, sampling the delights of Organic Wheat Beer, double JDs and the tried and trusted Carling. I sowed the seed earlier on about seeing The Keys and they were all up for it, but first we had some serious putting the world to rights to do, and we did so, joined by (ex Sons of Selina) Robin and discussing the merits of running your 2-stroke motorbike on margarine and the Hubble telescope amongst many other since forgotten topics.
At Telfords, Adam Walton was in full Crackling Vinyl mode; I tried to quell his hyperactive stance with a Guinness (I’m sure that’s five I’ve bought him now to his one!!) and before you could say, ‘Ladies, Gentlemen and Average Boring Humans, please welcome, all the way from Aberystwyth… The Keys,’ they were onstage playing Fire Inside.
It was busy, it was lively and The Keys had stripped down to a 3-piece as Gwion had gone AWOL. Tim likened them to a psychedelic White Stripes. There was a 6’3″ skinhead sat right at the front, whooping and hollering at the band, maybe intimidating them, but his enthusiasm for their music seemed to be rubbing off on them. The songs were cool, they were rock and roll stripped down to it’s bare bones, there was nowhere for The Keys to hide as a 3-piece, they had to be on top form and they were.
‘Come on!’ the skinhead would shout, and they did. If you could see music then the room would be awash with vibrant colours twisting around all those stood before, marvelling at the beauty of these sounds, these pets sounds, these cloud sounds. ‘Play Chemistry,’ the skinhead shouted, it wasn’t in the set, but they obliged and played that amazing song. It was, to coin a Walton phrase, Flippin’ Ace.
The skinhead at the front thought so too, for that was me…