Getrz, Walt Disco and Cheap Teeth – The Old Blue Last – February 27th 2019

I’m back at the Old Blue Last for the second time this week.London sizzles in unseasonably warm temperatures and the heat in the Airbnb shows little sign of being any less stifling.I’m here for no other reason than my eye was caught by a band name; Walt Disco is a fine name for a band.

They’ve travelled all the way from Glasgow to be with us tonight. Perhaps that explains why they’re not topping the bill but are sandwiched between two others on this ‘Club Sabbath’ night. It’s a long way home.

Imagine it’s the early 1980’s and you’ve bagged a ticket for Top Of The Pops. Jimmy Savile, replete with gold lame jacket and fat cigar ‘accidentally’ fondles a young girl whilst half paying attention to the band he’s just introduced. A singer preens, pouts and warbles in a shin-length, woollen military jacket that temporarily covers his torso before he throws it to the floor. A keyboard player with bleached blonde hair plays notes from strange looking instruments perched perilously on an ironing board that’s seen better days. Harry Potter, not yet made famous by JK Rowling plays bass. This is the post-punk of Walt Disco. It’s got a pompous peacock strut, a strident theatricality and a pop sensibility. Phil Oakey, Ian McCulloch and Edwyn Collins better watch out. Here we have the new contenders. 

To my mind, the obvious derivations don’t matter. Walt Disco might wear their influences close to their chests but this is 2019 and we don’t want our indie to paint pictures of the Arctic Monkeys by numbers. With Walt Disco, you can feel both terrified and terrific; misfits and oddballs, there’s a lot here to like. 

 

Getrz (pronounced Getters apparently) are pretty normal by comparison. They headline tonight to a crowd that has diminished in size. This is a shame; you can see confidence wilting as the set progresses..From Swindon, you suspect that they’re local heroes in their own neck of the woods. But this is London and the crowd are a tad harsher. We’ve seen the gimmicks, the rock poses, the shirtless torsos and the audience forays before. 

Have any lads out there got trouble with their Mrs?”, asks Getrz’s ginger, squat lead singer before launching into a song, perhaps called ‘Domestics’, that features a shouty chorus of “You’re fucked – and your Mrs. doesn’t like you”. The last bastions of yesterday’s masculinity, you want to like them for their no-nonsense straightness. They’re not far away from finding their own, distinct niche and, when they do, this’ll be a very real possibility. 

 

Openers for the night, Cheap Teeth are competent at what they do. They’ve travelled all the way from Edinburgh to be here. My notes suggest that they’re like a more raucous Franz Ferdinand and that they’ve clearly listened to ‘Peaches’ by the Stranglers. An interesting John Cooper Clarke like spoken word section in one of their tunes helps maintain my flagging interest. 

It’s no doubt hard to be original these days; somewhere, someplace it’s all been done before. And there’s nothing wrong per se with being in debt to your heroes. In different ways, all three acts on tonight’s bill have nailed that worship to a tee. Now, they need to give consideration to who they really want to be. 

Two Day Coma, Sunnbrella and Toothpaste – The Old Blue Last – February 25th 2019

Another Monday and it’s back to London for a week of transient, suitcase living. The AirBNB experience, a fine way to get to know my way around this big city, plonks me in a small flat that has its shortcomings; scruffy around the edges, the main problem is that I’m in a room in which the radiator chucks out a constant, oppressive heat. I open the window to be greeted by the noise of a nearby train-line. I have no option but to leave the window ajar; without doing so the room is a sauna.

Thank goodness for the free London gig scene. There’s no need to be a prisoner so I rush on out and up to The Old Blue Last. It’s been a frantic day of zooming from A to B and I mightn’t be the calmest I’ve ever been on arrival. Still, it doesn’t matter because live music can work its magic.

And I already know of tonight’s headliner, Two Day Coma. They suitably impressed me back at Farmfest in 2017 when I gave them a whole paragraph in my eFestivals review (here).

“We were camped near to Bristolian band, Two Day Coma, and had laughed from the comforts of our tent as we watched them trying to put their tent up in the windy rain (I did offer to help). Whilst this new band might have lacked in camping skills, they definitely didn’t struggle with soul. Up in the acoustic tent on Saturday evening, we relaxed and sat attentively as they produced a set of intense beauty. In lead singer, Tom Harris, they have a vocalist who has the ability to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand to attention. Lyrically, they’ve got gentle phrases that slap you once you realise how loaded with sadness (and happiness) they are. They offer a very modern wistfulness and I’d suggest they might be ones to watch as their career develops.”

I cannot stress how entertaining it was watching Two Day Coma’s camping attempts at Farmfest. But, I’m surprised that my recollection of the band’s stage performance was so vivid; in reality a day of drinking scrumpy had left me barely able to string a sentence together when they played.

Tonight, at the Old Blue Last, I had all my faculties. It’s lovely to see these boys from Bristol make such a success of their first ever London headline set in this fine night promoted by ‘Down The Line’. Before Two Day Coma, there’s a couple of fine supports who are making the right sort of noise. Monday delays are what they are and I miss first support, Toothpaste, but will find time to watch them elsewhere. Sunnbrella play a dreamy and shimmering indie set. They’ve got the tunes and the confidence to warrant further attention. The get better as their set passes and their confidence grows. By the end members of the crowd are dancing. It’s been a triumph. 

 

“It’s great to be here in the nation’s great capital”, says Tom from Two Day Coma before launching into an early set highlight. They have a casual swagger, a laidback cool; it’s skiffle-folk done through a pop-soul filter. It must warm their hearts to see the decently-sized audience mouthing along to their poetry. And there’s no doubt that words are a key element in their armoury. Clever wordplay that twists and turns, their semi-rhyming couplets a joy to the ears in these days when lyrics are typically little more than an afterthought. 

Latest single and set closer tonight, Shudder, is a case in point. The symmetry of the interchangeable eye/I forming the lyrical basis for a fine ‘hamster in a treadmill’ moment. All those gathered tonight know that this has the potential to be a hit. And most leave believing that they’ve caught Two Day Coma early in their journey towards a Top Of The Pops set (if only the programme still existed).

I head back to the heat of the flat in a much calmer state than when I left. Monday’s mightn’t be all bad.