Nine Black Alps III

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9 jul 2009, 22:06

Wed 1 Jul – Nine Black Alps

A sunny Wednesday night spent aboard the good ship Thekla for this one. The only crimp in the proceedings were down to the fact that, having decided to stick to Brothers Perry for the night, I somehow neglected to clock the accompanying caveat - 'festival strength' - which made the mind speed like an F104 while the mouth struggled up to P51D on autopilot, although made a creditable F105 with a short burn of manual override. Does wonders for the imagination tho'...
First up on tonight's Manchester double-bill then, Airship and now I know why the aircraft refs have surfaced. These are not bad, it's just that they didn't excite me to any degree. It's good, but there was nothing unique, no hook, making them stand out from the crowd of other bands making this style of music. Just like an airship... big, up there, floating about, but not actually doing anything radical. Pleasant enough then, but I need afterburners and that's just what The Alps serve up.
This was the sound of a band that have not only found their feet, but are confident in their direction. While the set contains a good mix from the first two albums, notably Not Everyone, Get Your Guns, Shot Down and Burn Faster it's theb tracks the don't get an airing tonight which marks a turning point. When a band feels that they can give some of the tried and tested faves a miss in favour of unreleased material you know that any lingering doubts have been hoofed away. That means we get to hear a sizeable chunk of the as yet unreleased Locked Out From The Inside and, quite honestly, given what i've heard this third album, due out this autumn *, is even better than Everything Is - and that is saying something. Sam Forrest apologised that the album has taken so long to release, but my money is on the fact that it's because these tracks just don't fit the current label blueprint for indie guitar rock which has given the backers cold feet. This dusts off Nevermind-era grunge, gives it a contemporary edge and boots it so hard up the arse that it's going to yelp when you play it. It is, simply put, their way or the highway and the fact that they are sticking to their guns on this makes it all the more worth listening to. There were times at tonight's gig when I found myself grinning like an idiot, bouncing about and generally doing somersaults (- at least some braincells were...) because there is just some vesceral quality about the songwriting and performance that bypasses the dignity circuit and goes straight for throat.
Must see, must hear, can't wait.

* hang on, this is England - Autumn started last week! ; )

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