[Photos L-R: Scant Regard, Dead on TV, Heretics]
I'm beginning to get the impression that Scant Regard is aiming for some sort of record for achievement. In addition to his own online radio show, regularly playing guitar for Rachel Stamp, doing double-headline shows with former Ants/Bow Wow Wow/Republica drummer Dave Barbarossa, performing two shows on a single night, and any number of other guest session work, Will Crewsdon's alter ego has few peers in terms of sheer hard work. Happy to headline bigger shows, he's also modest enough to regularly appear in opening slots like this evening. I can only imagine he either had another set to perform elsewhere tonight – or simply fancied an early night - as newcomers Dead on TV were after him on the bill.
Having seen this one-man whirling dervish live several times last year I was getting to know his set well, comprising mainly (often instrumental) tracks from his debut album Burnt Pop Cycles. This evening's set however was a major departure with Crewsdon showcasing new material from his forthcoming second long player. This was all tantalising stuff and structurally something of a step progression from much of the material heard to date. The choice cover of The Normal's Warm Leatherette was superb, built around a very fat bass synth, searing live guitar and (on a backing track) very dark spoken word delivery of the memorable lyrics. I reckon that next album will be better than the first.
Scant Regards setlist: Zeronia 21, Eye of The Fly, I Make No Bones, Beastometer, Sneaking Into Godforsaken Territory, Rip Crackaway, Crickets, Warm Leatherette, Harpernoid
The as yet unsigned Dead on TV bagged their support slot this evening after sending demo material to co-hosts Flag Promotions. Proof that if you keep at it long enough and have something worthwhile to offer you can still get breaks in this tough market. Their name suggested they'd fit right in on tonight's bill, but stylistically (what with their melodic rockin' and a rollin' and all) they were a tad incongruous – especially sandwiched between Scant Regard and Heretics. They do their thing with commitment, passion and certainly some polish and they'd clearly brought along a healthy contingent of followers this evening, who quickly set about creating a busy mosh pit down the front, wherein every member faithfully belted out DoTV's lyrics with impressive accuracy. They have the potential to go far (given the right breaks) but really sit outside the scope of this publication.
Dead on TV setlist: Miracles, Failure, Incomplete, Already Gone, Quiet Confessions, No Romance
Having fallen for Heretics big time last year (they wound up winning our 2012 Best Album award) there was no way I was going to miss this last opportunity in a while to catch them live. This on account of main man David Whiting relocating from London to Stockholm, Sweden. In fact, he flew out there just thirty six hours after this gig – that's what you call cutting it fine. The title of that award-winning album Wealth = Success had been inventively corrupted for the gig poster for tonight's performance: “Relocation = Success”. Seems, in spite of the often disillusioned album lyrics, that Whiting knows only too well what is important in life and what success really means to him. Good luck to him.
This farewell set for clocked in at just over an hour – the longest set I think they've done to date. A few technical issues meant that the running order didn't quite go as planned, but it offered up plenty of memorable tracks both from Wealth = Success and their lesser-known debut Heretics. There was also a duet with Becca Cole, who's cropped jean shorts and colourful sparkly outift were nothing if not novel for a Heretics gig. This was something of a love-in with a hardcore of Heretics fans (and a few recognisable scene faces) singing along to their favourite songs and some stragglers from the Dead on TV set going with the flow despite the rather dramatic change of direction. Whiting seemed de-mob happy, able to laugh off faulty drum pads, saying: “We're trying to be professional here!”
His voice now free of the excessive warbling that threatened to undermine a couple of the tracks on last year's album, there's little to nothing to not like about Heretics' live sets. Proving that being heavily reliant on electronics and laptops is no barrier to creativity live, every song was slightly different from all previous live versions I've heard – meaning that no two Heretics gigs sound the same. Existing fans or those just discovering Heretics need not despair. The new Swedish location doesn't mean the end of the band. Indeed, work is already under way on a third album, but with Whiting's other interests and music projects like Bow Church (whose The 9 O'Clock Service cropped up in tonight's set) there's no firm deadline of when to expect that. Which is how it should be with art. 8/10
Heretics setlist: Engineer, Roulette, Don't Be Late, Obscurity, Battle, Safety Net (ft.Becca Cole), Space To Breathe, The 9 O'Clock Service, Ambition, These Words