The Telescopes

On the 40th anniversary of the original release of Black Sabbath’s debut album it’s a joy to find myself in a room above a pub in the centre of Birmingham just up the road from the site of the (not) infamous (enough) Henry’s Blues House. For 40 or so years ago, in a room not dissimilar to the one in which promoters The Sound of Confusion host monthly psychedelic gatherings, they key players in Sabbath, Zeppelin and Priest would be propping up the bar in a room above the Crown enjoying legendary acts of the time such as Dr Ross Harmonica Boss and Jimmy Fast Fingers Dawkins.

Four decades later The Sound of Confusion have succeeded in generating a certain level of loyalty amongst the bands that play their club and return to hang out to see their peers. The DJ has come down from Nottingham for the evening and appears to know everyone in the room. The Sound of Confusion therefore has the feel of a proper music club – the kind of scene where great music is incubated to reach a higher quality.

First on are One Unique Signal.

One Unique Signal

The band’s recent EP “Villains” to a man has highly praised by Julian Cope. Their sound features three guitars that produce squalls of wha-wha punctuated noise. Drawled vocals way way down in the mix. Bass a drums hold together a short set.

One Unique Signal

There’s looseness about the riffs which are played with space and this approach is reflected in their stoner looks and one of the guitarists has madcap movements. Like every band that play Sound of Confusion fans of Spacemen 3/Loops et al will enjoy One Unique Signal as much as Julian Cope does.

One Unique Signal

Einstellung find themselves in a venue approximately the size of the stage they appeared on at Birmingham Town Hall just two nights before.

Einstellung

Their set comprised the four loud tracks from a recently completed second album, “…And The Rest Are Thunder”. The LP’s title track is first up. It builds a groove before exploding into an angular monster with an almost anthemic lead line.

Einstellung

The next songs is simplicity itself and pummels listeners with a noisy refrain before it steps up a gear and urges to a climax, Einstellung follow with an intricate piece that was debuted live two days earlier and features their most exaggerated use of light and shade before mutating into a sludgy monster that will be familiar to anyone who picked up the recent “Capsule” 10th Birthday 7inch. A great set with the pressure of the big stage off.

Einstellung

Next up are Jesus Deluxe who are well supported by friends from Coventry.

Jesus Deluxe

Earlier I learnt that the band has been going for over 10 years so its no surprise that they are highly polished. Theirs is a far more melodic psychedelic swirl than anything tonight’s crowd has heard until this point and they have a singer who is loud and proud at the front of the stage and mix.

Jesus Deluxe

They deliver memorable hooks and melodies rather than the drones of the other two bands. I find myself putting this band in the dreampop category that I have recently discovered is favoured by American devotees of the shoegaze scene. I actually duck out after three numbers. One of the great things about a proper music club is that the action off stage is sometimes as important.

Jesus Deluxe

The Telescopes are actually Stephen Lawrie with One Unique Signal as backing band.

The Telescopes

The only other original member of The Telescopes present is in the crowd watching – which must be a wired experience. OUS take to the task at hand and Lawrie revisits the adrenaline fouled stage persona that made Telescopes gigs of 20 years before so memorable. The songs really have stood the test of time but I don’t feel its my role to describe or review them 20 years down the line. Simply pass on the information that I will be taking further opportunities to go and see this show whereas I wouldn’t bother shelling out for another “Jesus and Mary Chain” nostalgia gig.

Words by Rob Horrocks.
Photos by Wayne Fox, email me.

2 Responses to “The Telescopes + Jesus Deluxe + Einstellung + One Unique Signal @ The Victoria, Birmingham, UK – 13 February 2010”

  1. Julie Says:

    That photo of Stephen isn’t from that tour.

  2. Wayne Says:

    Hello Julie.

    Yes! You are correct of course. This is the one of the only times that I had to substitute an earlier photo that I had taken of a group for a more recent gig, as I had to go home early due to a problem at home.

    I hope it doesn’t spoil your enjoyment? I promise that next time that they play near here :)

    Thanks for the comments, though, always welcome.
    W

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