“Hey, Norman, Man U have just scored!”
Of course they’re not. But having bemoaned the law of diminishing returns last time, I thought I’d resort to shock tactics to get your attention this time around. Because in actual fact, unlike the Rovers the previous day, TV21 were anything but shite at the charity Rock The Rovers gig in Kirkcaldy.
So much could have gone wrong with this. Yet this was quite possibly the best performance I’ve seen from TV21 in the last couple of years.
Problem 1 – an apathetic audience more interested in covers bands than real bands (despite Norman donning a 60’s classic Rovers top). With 18 out of 20 bands on being local they could count on friends and family to generate a crowd and were probably more interested in having a drink than a band they’d never heard of. But the band’s reaction to being ignored was simple – blast it out. And the consequence was an unexpectedly energized performance rather than a public rehearsal.
Problem 2 -A plug and play scenario with no soundcheck. No way round it but remarkably the sound turned out to be crystal clear with little distortion. Everything was in its place, and this particularly benefitted Neil’s bass which brought a new dimension to songs like ‘Last Man Standing’. And the likes of ‘Tomorrow’, a blizzard of noise at the Citrus Club, sounded more focussed whilst still retaining the edge that the 21st century performances have brought to the song.
What the sound did was highlight how good these four guys are when they play together. Like most classic bands, they rely on the foundation of the rhythm section and Neil and Simon’s contributions are exceptional. ‘Tomorrow’ has almost become their showcase – the original brassy pop song turned into a pounding monster reminiscent of Pattison and De Freitas on ‘All That Jazz’.
On top of that, Norman and Ally’s guitars just spark off each other – ‘Something’s Wrong’, ‘Shattered By It All’, ‘When Cole Was King’, hell just about everything. It’s their contributions that really make the songs fizz with such energy.
Highlights? I’ve almost become blasé about ‘On The Run’ in recent shows so this performance was a potent reminder of the song’s quality. ‘Snakes and Ladders’ was once again put up front as part of a double 45s introduction to the set with ‘Something’s Wrong.’ And quite possible best of all was ‘Look To The Sun’, their newest song, and a song which has really grown on me since hearing the proper recorded version.
1 Snakes & Ladders 2. Something’s Wrong 3. When Cole Was King 4. It’s Me 5. Swimming 6. Last Man Standing 7. End of A Dream 8. Look To The Sun 9. Shattered By It All 10. Tomorrow 11. On The Run
A defaced running order for the gig (hence the post title)
If you want to know who the defacer is, go to my Flickr gallery from the show
TV21 are supporting the Undertones at the Liquid Room in Edinburgh on 8th November and possibly (still to be confirmed) at the Garage in Glasgow on 18th October. (Tickets here for the latter)
Here’s a song which they will undoubtedly play (also available from their Myspace)
TV21 – Look To The Sun