Post War Glamour Girls, Napoleon III and Cattle Headrow House 18th November 2015

Posted by vibrations on 23-11-15

Cattleare set up on the stark concrete floor of the events room at Headrow House and proceed to art-rock us to death. It’s like being in a trendy NY boho happening. It’s like being in an episode of ‘Girls’. They begin by making an unholy cacophony - a vortex of echo, delay and theremin very reminiscent in tone to the wilder moments of ‘Berberian Sound Studio’. Just as it’s peaking and I’m expecting it to be interrupted by a comforting narration about chiff-chaffs nesting in the garden shed, the most frenetic drumming you’ve ever heard kicks in dragging along a dirty bass groove. The singer explodes and fills the room with angry distorted screaming. This continues with minor variations throughout their set. It’s bloody brilliant. I mean- two drummers. Who doesn’t love a band with two drummers?

Rather unfairly, my notes for Napoleon III read ‘head nodding twat music’. I saw him quite a while ago and I remember him being a lot more fun than this. His first couple of songs seemed to me at the time one interminable dirge that really tested my patience. However, I don’t mind admitting when I’m wrong. As his set progresses it becomes clear why so many hold him in such regard. Mournful and stately, his songs are beautiful, particularly when they pick up the pace and head for that motorik vibe. If I’m honest, I’m a bit of a twat myself and by the end of his set my head is nodding along with the rest of them.

Kicking off with a furious version of ‘Little Land’, Post War Glamour Girls give every indication they’re going to blow the roof off the place tonight. From the off, James Smith is screaming fit to burst while Ben Clyde hammers his kit and James Thorpe teases out beautifully intricate guitar lines. Meanwhile, Alice Scott delivers such gorgeously heavy bass riffs she should don a cowboy hat, grow a moustache and change her name by deed poll to Tracey Pew.

Smith deadpans that we’ve had the relentlessness of Cattle and the melancholy of Napoleon III and that with them we’ll get less of both. Not so. Not by a long shot. If anything, it’s more of a distillation as savage readings of ‘Gustave,’ ‘Count Your Blessings’ and ‘Jazz Funerals’ demonstrate. Not ones to stand still, we even get something from the, as yet unrecorded, third album – and I thought it was the release of their superb second collection, ‘Feeling Strange’ we were supposed to be celebrating?

It is, however, a frustratingly short set. Maybe seven, maybe eight songs? Just when I think it’s really getting started Smith announces that they’re down to their last two numbers. Boo! However, the double punch of  ‘Felonius Punk’ and ‘Cannonball Villages’ make up for this. The latter was particularly effective with James Smith leaving the stage to howl amongst the audience during the song’s devastating ending.

And that’s it. Short, sweet and pretty much perfect. Ok, it was more of a giddy fumble in a back alley rather than the romantic city break that I’d been hoping for but, as ever, they impressed. They deserve to be massive.

Alan Stewart

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