Gig Review

Plus The Wombats, Kid Harpoon
Portsmouth, Pyramid Centre
21st September 2007

Holloways              The Wombats      Kid Harpoon

Wow, for the first time I'm here at the Pyramids and the majority of the crowd isn't little kids. This is quite fantastic. The Holloways aren't a band you'd immediately associate with an older audience, but it appears that's the way it is.

I saw Kid Harpoon at Glastonbury this year and remembered enjoying it greatly. So to get another opportunity to catch him/them in action, I was more than happy. And despite the fact the sound wasn't set up very well, they put on a good show. Upbeat indie music with a folk twist, the songs he writes are really good to listen to. And generally full of energy without obviously hurling themselves around the stage. The most memorable song of the set is the Leonard Cohen cover, “First We'll Take Manhattan,” but that doesn't mean the original material isn't notable, in fact, it's all very good. “Flowers By The Shore” and “Milkmaid,” being two songs you should go looking for. Try not tapping your foot to this. Go on. I dare you. Kid Harpoon fronts it all with gruff vocals and acoustic guitar, often holding it up high, and pretending to shoot it, much like a harpoon. And the backing group, consisting of three or four guys, played away quite contently as Kid Harpoon stood at the front of the stage rocking violently from side to side as their exciting tales echoed out over an equally excited crowd.

When they finished, it was time for The Wombats. Now, I didn't know anything about these guys, besides the fact they had a song that went “let's dance to Joy Division and celebrate the irony,” and that everyone had it as their screen-name on MSN messenger and similar programs. Your typical scruffy indie three-piece. From what I remember, everything seemed to sound quite similar, and I expected more from a band who regularly feature on Radio 1, tagged as the biggest new thing, or whatever. The singer/guitarist/keyboardist jerked violently as he bashed out jagged chords and riffs, and tossed his shaggy hair about as he did so. Besides the obvious famous number which was played at the end of the set, to much cheering from the audience, I didn't pick up any other song names. But you don't have to know what a song is called to have an opinion on it. All in all, the sounds were quite samey, yet there was something about them. I said the word “jagged” before and I think that sums them up pretty well, really. And at the end, unless I'm very much mistaken, there was a rendition of the Postman Pat theme, but in Dutch or Norwegian or something? Not quite a sing along, but amusing never the less.

And then time for the main event, the Holloways. Now, unfortunately, my experience of the Holloways isn't that more in-depth from my experience of the Wombats. I'm a Holloways fan's worst nightmare, as I only really know and like them for “Generator,” and am not really familiar with the rest of the album, let alone any earlier material. This doesn't alter my opinion, it just makes it hard to have a lot to say. However, what I can say, is that seeing the live performance made me want to go and listen to the album. Such an awesome sound between the group of them, quirky indie, with dual-vocals that aren't necessarily in tune, but have a certain charm to them. As I mentioned earlier, the sound wasn't perfect in the Pyramids, which was particularly noticeable during the Holloways said dual-vocals, as they seemed to drown out everything else. I think after the first couple of songs it was rectified, as logically I wouldn't have been able to hear anything to determine that I was enjoying myself. But I was. For one song, a broken violin was featured. Now, to most, this would call for cries of “get some new equipment!” but it was all supposed to be. The song was called “Two Left Feet,” and the broken violin is very much key to the song's sound. And it's a bloody good one. I also remember “Dancefloor,” which is another decent track. I think they played through their entire album “So This Is Great Britain.” The song of the set, “Generator” was obviously saved until last. It kind of makes the chance of an encore even more obvious when you don't play your most famous song within your main set, doesn't it. Admittedly the stage show lacked excitement as they did nothing but played good music, but musically, it was everything the crowd needed as they bopped along. From teenage rockers to mid-thirties-pillheads, everyone was having a good boogie.

Review By Thom

 The Holloways

Alfie Jackson (Guitar, Vocals, Harmonica)
Rob Skipper (Guitar, Vocals, Fiddle)
Bryn Fowler (Bass, Additional Vocals)
Dave Danger (Drums, Percussion, Additional Vocals)
 The Wombats

Matthew Murphy
Dan Haggis
Tord Øverland-Knudsen
 Kid Harpoon

Coming Soon
 Band Related Links
The Holloways Myspace
The Wombats Myspace
Kid Harpoon Myspace
 Review Score Code
- Top Cheese
- Brilliant
- Pretty damn good
- Ok I guess
- What Was That?