You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

Saturday, 23 March 2013


In early 2012 a song came into heavy rotation on 6 music, and almost every play came with an attached quote, or endorsement if you will, from Justin Vernon of Bon Iver fame. He had declared the then-little known Poliça ‘the best band I’ve ever heard’. Quite the soundbite.

It helped that the song itself, Lay Your Cards Out, was brilliant and distinctly different sounding, as was the entirety of their debut album, Give You The Ghost. Layers of ghostly, autotuned vocals. Duelling drummers. It was an electronic cacophony, a storm of noise and ideas.

And last night, with a storm raging outside, they brought it to Birmingham.

Ambling on stage and casually launching into Dark Star wasn’t a stormy beginning, but it was an appropriate starting point as the whole gig is casually dark - from the music to the lighting - but also punctured with energetic and bright moments.

With two drummers on stage the gig is heavily focused on the percussive, and this is a performance that makes more of an impression sonically than it does lyrically. With soaring sounds, aggressive drumming and a frontwoman throwing shapes, the crowd duly responded in movement rather than vocally.

Channy Leaneagh is a schizophrenic frontwoman, flitting between introverted synth operator, to grooving disco queen, to arm throwing hip-hop assaulter. She occupies the stage in front of the twin drummers and bass player, delivering and layering her distinctive vocals with aggression, apomb and autonomy.

She only talks to utter an apology for the weather outside. But she delivers Leading To Death, The Maker, and Amongster like her life depends on it. And the aforementioned Lay Your Cards Out sees the crowd raise their hands and shift spasmodically throughout.

A compact performance sees most of the album played, with the encore only comprising a vocal solo and a brief new song. The crowd wanted more, but oh well, they’ll be back.

Over a year on from that infamous soundbite, Poliça have come a long way, maybe not enough for everyone to agree with Justin, but enough to justify themselves as a truly exciting band.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Wild Nothing

For a Wednesday night out in the ‘burbs of the second city, this sure was a treat.
And, at less than a tenner, it was a steal, as three bands delivered sets as they should be - loud and fast sure, but just as intricate and precise.

Opening the show at Kings Heath’s Hare & Hounds were Birmingham natives Wide Eyed, whose grunge-tinged shoegaze blew away all the midweek cobwebs. Their wall-of-noise set was no doubt ear-catching, their sound recalling early Smashing Pumpkins or more recently Toy. Yet another Birmingham band to keep an eye on.

Hot on their heels were Londoners Omi Palone, who, despite a few drum-falling-over issues, picked up the pace and ripped through an energising set of lo-fi indie pop at their first ever Birmingham gig.

And after the loud, the fuzz and the fast came the bliss of Wild Nothing. Assembling on stage and launching into Shadow from 2012’s brilliant Nocturne with minimal fuss, Jack Tatum and his live band gave off an air of complete calm.

As did the tunes, with their washed out, uplifting tones infectiously spreading around the venue, inspiring an entire room to mindlessly drift and sway around to the intricate guitar lines and soaring synths.

Playing a tight hour set largely made up of songs from the aforementioned Nocturne, as well as a couple from their debut Gemini and a cover of The Go-Between’s Head Full of Steam, highlights included Only Heather, Paradise, Counting Days, The Blue Dress, and rousing closer Summer Holiday.

A perfectly short and sweet performance from the band, who made it all look so effortless that they could have done it in their sleep.

Kudos to This is TMRW for spoling us rotten with another evening of great live music. Let’s do it again sometime.