Show No Mercy – 50 Foot Wave videos/2004 live review


Still working on that longer post but in the meantime, for no other reason than that there’s a new 50 Foot Wave EP due this year (I think), here’s a review from the archives.

I’d really like to see 50 Foot Wave play over here again – it’s been more than 10 years since the last shows in support of their debut E.P.. Here’s what I said at the time of their Glasgow show at King Tut’s on 25th September:

Eighteen months after Throwing Muses’ last ever Scottish gig* (sob), Kristin brings her new band to King Tuts. What’s remarkable about one of my all-time heroines  is that, as she grows older, she seems to be getting simultaneously louder (on the band records) and quieter (on the solo records) . It’s the louder option though that gets my vote.

50 Foot Wave is certainly Kristin’s most straightforward rock project so far, taking its cue from material on the last TM material like ‘Speed Or Sleep’ and ‘Mercury’. Mind you, the “speed metal” comparisons aren’t really accurate as a lot of the so far  unreleased material sounds a lot like what another TM record would have sounded like. There’s a bit more light in those songs than in the 6 from the EP, with a couple verging towards, dare I say it, the poppier side of Kristin’s music.

King Tut’s was far from packed but as expected most of those present were devoted fans and any slight deficiency in numbers was more than made up for in enthusiasm (despite a large part of the set presumably being new to many). Kicking off  like the EP with ‘Bug’ it was pretty much straight down to business. Fortunately it was apparent straight away that all elements of the sounds had been given their place in the mix, so unlike at the QM last year, you could actually hear Kristin sing.

Of the EP material, ‘Clara Bow’ was amazing – at one point Kristin, Bernard and Rob seemed to be playing on completely different planets yet the end result was stellar. ‘Long Painting’  was an early highlight, whilst ‘Dog Days’ was an excellent close to the first encore. Even ‘Bug’, slightly disappointing on record, sounded invigorated in person.

Freed from my normal routine of counting the songs to remember what was played, the initial 11 songs seemed to fly by. The 3 song first encore though raised the bar – ‘El Dorado’ is one of the best 50 Foot Wave songs without a doubt and ‘Diving’ is terrific as well leading into the aforementioned ‘Dog Days’.

The ‘surprise’ was the electric, band version of ‘Your Ghost’. Grown men could be seen hugging when it started and it was a really amazing way to end a fantastic gig.

So Kristin’s back with a vengeance. Let’s hope more people are paying attention this time round.

Whilst 50 Foot Wave did do a studio version of ‘Your Ghost’, I don’t think it ever got an official release – rather it was given away. It sounded like this:

And as a bonus, the lead track from the ‘Free Music’ E.P.:

50 Foot Wave picture by Lisa Fletcher

*Of course as it transpired, the 2003 TM show WASN’T the last Scottish Muses gig. I might dig that one out at some point.