One of the things that makes up for staring moon-faced out of the window at another rainy Bank Holiday Monday is the fact that at least you got to go out Sunday night (instead of staying in and preparing lessons for the morning).
So, last Sunday night I seized the moment and ventured out to see what was billed as a Clean Living night at the Brunswick. Clean Living is a new label based in Monmouth in case you’re wondering, and not some Christian Holiness Conference. As yet Clean Living have only one release to their name an EP by local boys the Novocaines.
So I was pleased to see that there was also a support band, in the shape of Cheltenham’s Tell Tale Hearts who were full of energy and commitment but looked a little, er, under rehearsed at times. Actually I say that but they were fine really, I don’t have a problem with things going wrong on stage (as they did a couple of times) if the attitude’s right. And it was, in spades. They played fast and loud, with a couple of decent songs and a really neat line in customised guitars. Speaking briefly to the guitarist afterwards, he was spitting feathers about how they’d played, but as I say, I thought they were pretty good - any band that announces itself with a Ramones cover is doing something right in my book.
I’d enjoyed the Tell Tale Hearts set and hadn’t really noticed how loose they’d been until the Novocaines came on and the difference was really apparent. Blessed with a really tight and powerful rhythm section that drove their songs on at an absolutely cracking pace, and which provide the canvas on which guitars and vocals were energetically hurled. They are, it has to be said, an exciting band to watch. In total contrast to the Tell Tale Hearts who were clearly trying (big time), the Novocaines made it all look rather easy. There’s nothing very extravagant about the way they look on stage but they just look like they know what they’re doing. Singer Matt spent the evening swaddled in jacket and hoody, bassist Adam, looked rooted, static even, in a waythat only bass players can. But the sound was something else - it was compelling stuff.
And again, don’t take my word for it (why would you?)
I’m not clear from the publicity whether the Novocaines are from Gloucester, or as one piece said, the Forest of Dean (there’s a world of difference, believe me), but they looked every bit as fresh as the next young things that are gigging in London, filling the pages of Time Out and NME.
I reckon I actually have a bit of an exclusive here in that Clare from Clean Living has sent me a track to share. I don’t think this appears anywhere else, so get in there!
The Novocaines’ (and Clean Living’s) debut release is a four-track EP, available from the Clean Living website.