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psychemodo - flapper and firkin, 17/08/2003

simon gray - 2003-08-17, 01:15:05

it's been a long time since i've been to a gig at the flapper - about five years ago, when the band i used to engineer for ended its monday night residency. i couldn't have ended my flapper drought with a better night ! 

according to their website at www.phuncrecords.comPsychemodo are a Midlands-based rock band... equally at home with plaintive melodies and kick-ass riffs. They have already been likened to bands as diverse as XTC, Ultrasound, The Flaming Lips and Foo Fighters. after last night's gig i'd be inclined to add 'the who' to the list of dignitaries (some of the sounds being a bit reminiscent of quadrophenia) & bar-room jazz to the list of skills. 

psychemodo have been going for about a year, starting off mainly as a covers band, but they've been quietly working on some original material of their own for the last nine months, & this was its first outing - they well & truly proved themselves with it, & i look forward to hearing more. songs which are real stories & proper compositions rather than intro-verse-chorus-verse-chorus-guitar-solo-on-the-fadeout - although they sound like neither, if you like what pulp or the divine comedy do you'll like psychemodo. 

i tend to like my guitar bands loud & grungey rather than 'clean; i also like loud bands who also know when it's good to play quiet bits as well - & i got what i like for sure ! 

due to... 'technical difficulties' the traditional support band was replaced by a stand-up comedian (whose name i'm sorry to have forgotten). although you don't normally get cabaret with a rock band i thought the two complemented each other well; a couple of jokes i thought a bit risky, a couple of points where he'd forgotten where he was up to - but i'd rather comedians offend me so long as it's genuinely funny than have the kind of blandness you get in safer venues. rather than apologising for it i think the two should work together more often, & make a feature of it. 

for a band who've only been together for a year, they are amazingly tight - starting & finishing together so you can hear the reverb & not having four clicks on the drum sticks is always more impressive than the alternative. sadly their drummer is set to emigrate early next year, so i hope they find somebody else as good to replace him soon. 

one area it would be good for them to work on a bit more is stagecraft, though - as somebody once said once, "never apologise, never explain", & on stage doubly so. guitar strings always have the annoying habit of breaking in a gig & not in rehearsal, & guitars get out of tune as a matter of course - we in the audience like to hear the anecdotes whilst you fix it, but don't need to be made to think you've screwed up (especially when you haven't), so there's no need to make us think you have; the confidence shows through in the music, so carry it through everywhere else as well ! but all this takes is more gigging experience, which will come. 

they've got a four track ep for sale on their website, & it's well worth the three quid. in short, a band who should be going places !

#birmingham #reviews #flapper

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