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against the wheel - flapper and firkin, 20/06/2005

simon gray - 2005-06-20, 01:42:57

i often see people complaining about the lack of a live music scene in birmingham. whereas there's some truth in it - there's not as much of one as there used to be - it's not really entirely true. you might have to look for it, but it is there to be found. 

i say you might have to look for it, but is the flapper & firkin really a hard to find on a monday night? many a band plays there to its gathered crowd of mates (& the other bands sharing the bill), but it seems not many people go out just paying 3 quid (just over the price of a pint in most city centre pubs) to see whoever might be playing on spec; to my shame i realise i've been a bit lacking myself in that respect of late. 

so perhaps that's part of the problem. if more people went out to see more bands they don't know, there would be more incentive to pubs to give more of their space over to live music - & the bands themselves get better with more public exposure & with a bigger crowd to support them.against the wheel at the flapper last night certainly showed they've been getting enough practice lately with roughly a gig a month so far this year, so they've had chance to refine their art - straight ahead loud, energetic, just polished enough to be a tight outfit, yet just still raw enough to have the edge of unpredictability & avoiding sounding safe. 

what i like best about them was the way they just got on with it - no apologising, no faffing about, no pretentious attempts to work the crowd as if it was the nec arena, & no having a different guitar for each song (which usually ends up sounding no different through the ropey pa anyway). i mentioned this to guitarist dan ratcliffe afterwards, & his reply was "yeah, we make it our business to turn up & just do our stuff - that's what it's about for us, we're all about energy". 

energy indeed - see them for yourself next time you can. 

website: www.againstthewheel.com

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