Table Scraps A moshing butler, a raffle prize that included a Bubba Ho-Tep action figure, a Fray Bentos Pie, drumsticks and...er...’lube’ (answers on a postcard please...) and five bands for £5 with all proceeds go to kicking cancer’s butt (does cancer have a butt...I guess it does...), what’s not to love eh? First off high fives to Thomas Wagstaff (Female Smell) and Nat Jones for organising it all. Happily Wags beat the disease a few years ago and tonight was his way of paying back the Teenage Cancer Trust who clearly gave him oodles of support during his treatment and recovery.


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Thurston Moore Two genuine 100% guitar legends for the price of the one. Not bad eh? Whilst Thurston Moore, one of the poster boys of the alt rock scene and founder of Sonic Youth, might be the bigger name of the two Chapman’s been a folk hero for coming up to six decades now with none other than the mighty John Peel muttering his praises and playing his records (no doubt occasionally at the wrong speed) over the years. So what do you get when you bring a 70 something folk/jazz musician from Yorkshire together with an American noise rock icon? We had to wait until the end of the gig to find out...


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Savages You know what, there’s a worrying lack of girls (ladies, females, women...whatever you’re supposed to call them these days) in music. Sure there are some massive exceptions but they tend to be solo artists, Adele, Sticky Minge, Lady GaGa...there are relatively few ‘girl’ bands...or indeed girls in bands out there. This troubles me more than the lack of females in Government (as if Government’s really change anything these days) or big corporations (ditto). Call me an old idealist but music remains one of the greatest art forms and communication tools in the world and it’s always struck me as curious that considerably fewer than 50% of the bands I’ve seen over the years (roughly 5% in fact I’d say) have any female component whatsoever. Why? Answers on a postcard please. Savages are that rare beast though, an all female group. And, whilst it really shouldn’t matter a toss what sex they are the rarity of this kind of a line up has certainly bought them added attention. Being touted as the ‘female Joy Division’ sets the bar particularly high but would tonight bring Unknown Pleasures or would it be a case of She’s Lost Control? Hmmm...


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Outfit So what’s the state of music like in 2012 then eh? Discuss. I guess to a certain extent it depends on your age. Try as you might it’s impossible to resist the lure of the stuff that appealed to you during those formative years (13-18) and as you grow older you’re actually legally obliged to start moaning about whatever’s in the charts. The truth is that there’s a lot of crap around right now... but then again there always was. It’s only years later with the benefit of distance that we’re able to conveniently filter out the rubbish and bask in the warm glow of the good stuff. I mention all this because tonight’s gig was a perfect example of that ‘good stuff’ featuring a trio of bands that might well be operating under the radar right now but who each prove that, for all the musical effluent out there, 2012 has plenty to offer.


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The Irrepressibles Wow. Okay, perhaps that’s not the most eloquent review of all time but when you’ve just sat through an hour or so of some of the most beautiful, heartfelt music ever written it seems pretty apt. I was lucky enough to see this show last year and part of me didn’t want to risk seeing it a second time in case it somehow spoilt what was, quite frankly, one of the best gigs I’ve ever seen. I needn’t have worried. Before all that though opener Sarah Johns Music Party beguiled with a ‘sweet as sack of fluffy kittens’ set that included an awesome acapella number ‘Too Many Songs’ (which reminded me of the equally awesome Camille).


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The Irrepressibles There seems to be a bit of a vogue for gigs in Birmingham churches at the moment. St Paul’s has had a few this year and now St Martin’s is getting in on the act too. It’s a cracking idea. They’re generally gorgeous buildings, perhaps somewhat underused in these more secular times and the acoustics can be...er...heavenly. Tonight we’re here to worship at the altar of St Jamie McDermott, the frankly inspirational life force behind The Irrepressibles, a chamber pop band that’s currently wowing our European neighbours but still seem to be criminally underrated here in their homeland. C’est la vie. Given that this is their first UK tour though (and this is a band that you really need to see live) perhaps all that is about to change.


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Islet After last night’s goth fest with O. Children this was another much anticipated gig thanks to the presence of the frankly genre defying Islet. Kicking off proceedings though it’s This Is Sinister. It took me a couple of tracks to get into them. There’s a kind of a psych math rock alt country thing going on. Hmmmm... maybe they should be called ‘This Is Puzzling’. I’m not sure how long they’ve been going but I got the sense that perhaps they’re still developing the sound of the band too. That’s not to say that they weren’t accomplished. In fact listening to each one of them in isolation (I can do that you know... I’m, like a bat) they’re clearly all pretty good musicians. And when it all gelled it came together well too, like on one of the standout tracks of the set, Caliba (a rocking number with shades off At The Drive In). I’ve seen bands at this sort of stage before, with plenty of ambition and a real willingness to experiment, and they can go on to do great things. One’s to watch.


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Los Campesinos! The Interweb. You really have to be all over it (MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Bebo, Asbo, Hobo, GoGo blah blah blah) if you’re in a band these days don’t you? Well, you don’t have to be, but I can’t think of any band that’s deliberately (I presume it’s deliberate...either that or they can’t be arsed...which isn’t half as exciting) shunned the world wide web...until now that is. Meet Islet. Billed as a ‘No Wave’ group from Cardiff they seemingly don’t want to be part of the wwworld as we know it. Can’t blame ‘em really. A couple of chaps have set up a Islet fan site for them but that’s as much as you’re going to get... for now.


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