Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes Back in June, Frank Carter brought his bunch of Rattlesnakes to the Rainbow for what was only their seventh gig together… Four months later the Rainbow is literally bursting at the seems for their sold out return - but before the main course we had a couple of entrees.


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Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes The air was thick with building anticipation for Frank Carter's latest incarnation and what promise of former brutal delivery. A break to the tension was found as the crowd heartily ooohed along to Weezer's 'Buddy Holly' and as I scanned the room one couldn't help but wonder if the venues for this tour were scouted for hardcore parkour potential. The crowd still left a semi circle of open dance floor and after the cheers for The Rattlesnakes entrance, Frank declared "I haven't seen something like this since I was 14, get in". His combination of humbleness and assertiveness never fails to gain idolatry; “Thanks for coming to see a band with only 3 songs I wouldn’t have done that”.


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Troumaca Tonight at the Rainbow really is a night for Brummies to be proud - as both bands on the bill hail from the Midlands. First up is Dumb a four piece who despite their tender years, perform an accomplished and tight set. It’s clear despite their age that their sights are focussed on big things. They play a series of guitar based ballads, which are reminiscent of late nineties American based pioneers Nirvana, Pixies and The Smashing Pumpkins. Dumb keep it short and sweet with a six tune set that certainly gets the crowd warmed up with a few indie chicks drawn to rock out at the front, and at their crescendo big up tonight’s head-liners Troumaca… ’enjoy’.


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Dumb It seems slightly perverse that George Barnett’s tonight’s opening act, especially given the fact that his cover of Daft Punk’s new single Get Lucky has (at the time of writing) racked up an incredible TWO AND A HALF MILLION hits on You Tube. Still, it doesn’t seem to trouble him and once again he delivers a set full of hits in waiting that blow most of the current chart guff off the face of the earth. From the cowbell extended clap along version of Lone Rose through to the light pop funk of Cassi and on to the Queen’s We Will Rock You meets hip hop of Light A Fire Barnett bounces around the stage in the same relentless (and seemingly effortless) way in which the music seems to pour out of him. Speaking of which he dropped a couple of new songs into the set this evening, Falling and Crowd, the latter you can easily see becoming an arena staple one day.


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The Rebel Beats Back in 2006 Bromheads (then trading as Bromheads Jacket) briefly flirted with fame and fortune thanks to a bit of a top 10 single (they provided the B side to The Streets’ When You Wasn’t Famous) and the odd comparison or two to fellow Sheffielders The Arctic Monkeys. A couple of albums followed, spawning some great singles of their own but, as is so often sadly the case, they didn’t get the recognition or following they deserved. Resisting the temptation to...ahem...’jacket’ in following the loss of bassist Jono in 2010 the remaining duo, Tim and Dan, hunkered down and cracked out 12 singles in as many months, dropping the Jacket bit of their name...possibly in recognition of their new leaner, meaner incarnation. Then things went quiet. Very quiet. For a good two years in fact the world was a Bromheads free zone. But like some garage rock chrysalis they were locked away somewhere, mutating, sprouting hair, growing wings...


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Deap Vally Kicking off with the stomping ‘Baby I Call Hell’ combining the howling vocal and banging rhythm which has quickly become their signature sound, the ‘Woah Woah Woah’ repetitive chorus certainly set the tone for the rest of the evening. Comprising singer Lindsey Troy – herself reminiscent of a young Suzi Quatro, combining all the sex appeal and gritty vocal, alongside the ‘cool as shit’ drummer Julie Edwards, it was easy to see why Deap Vally are amongst the current media darlings as they pelted into their next tune, new single ‘Lies’.


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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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The Irrepressibles Blimey, they’ve really tarted up the backroom of this evening’s venue, The Rainbow. I can remember when it didn't even have a roof, now there's decking, a new paintjob, chic bare brick walls...very posh. It’s entirely appropriate given the fact that on their last visits to Birmingham The Irrepressibles played St Martins Church and The Town Hall, arguably two of the more beautiful venues in the City. Tonight was more of a low key, stripped back performance though. The equivalent, Jamie informed us after the show, of a band playing one of those hip n’cool secret post gig sets that the likes of you and I could never dream of getting in to.


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Team Me It might have been an unseasonably cold and damp Tuesday evening... I say ‘might’, what I really mean is “Damn it! What’s with the freakin’ cold... it’s May already... oy vey!!!”... but tonight did more to warm my cockles (stop sniggering at the back) than a bath in a boiling hot toddy.


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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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Capital Sun Slowly but surely... well, slowly at least... I’m getting back out there into Gigland and tonight was back in my old stomping ground (I attended pretty much every one of the weekly 444 club nights there a few years back), The Rainbow, which always manages to seem both further away from ‘town’ and closer to it at the same time. I reckon they keep moving it to avoid sniffy post-yuppie types moaning about all the noise it doesn’t make any more after they were forced to seal up all of the windows, doors, gaps in the floorboards etc and fit little woolly booties on the local pigeons just in case the sound of their feet on the roof disturbed someone’s ruddy beauty sleep. Gah! Good grief.


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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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First Aid Kit Plane Isn’t it Summer yet? You know I really don’t mind a bit of Winter...log fires, hot toddys, newsreaders wetting themselves with excitement at all the chaos that a list dusting of snow seems to cause...but this one seems to be going on foreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeever. Enough I say. I’m taking a leaf out of that nice Mr Billy Bragg’s book and holding back my taxes until the Government puts a cap on minimum temperatures (not that I really pay taxes at the moment...being only semi-employed and all that). Perhaps our lovely PM, ‘Basher’ Brown, could bully the weather into getting warmer in between giving that Cameron fellow a well deserved ‘wedgie’?


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Hot Club De Paris Bonjour! Comment allez vous? Voici le...er...what’s review in French? Oh bugger. What’s that? Tonight’s headliners aren’t from France at all? Sacre bleu! I daresay the first band aren’t made from silver either. Kids today eh? Actually I didn’t get a chance to see what they were made of as they were replaced by Barnesy (perhaps someone had posted them all off to be melted down by one of those dodgy companies that offers cash for your ‘unwanted’ gold...‘postaltwat.net’ or ‘shouldibendoverwhileyou’reatitt.com...you know the sort of thing).


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