Freaksters & Rowan
Slattery's, Dublin, 8 Feb, 2000
Phantom FM, so much to answer for. The support band tonight, Rowan, run through a frankly uninspired set including a cover version of the Pixies 'Here Comes Your Man'. If I hear another band trawl through a limp version of that song, well I'll have to send my wages to Phantom so they can go buy some new CDs.
Initially The Freaksters seem a bit more promising, I was wrong in thinking that every one had cut their hair the same year I did. A tie-dyed backdrop, sitar intro music and three serious looking hippies take to the stage (with a square drummer), what I'm hoping for is indeterminable guitar solos and a four hour concept set about elves and dragons, needless to say my imagination has run away with me again.
Funksters in Hippies clothing. The first number is called 'Gotta Get It', andBelle & Sebastian the Freaksters ain't. This is a serious party band, the kind all the girls in the office could go see, get pissed to, and dance the night away. They sound like the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, probably too much like the Peppers, but they certainly lock down a funk/rock groove.
Sometimes new bands are terrible, unable to play and dirging their way through bad Oasis almost-covers. Sometimes, the band can't play, but are interesting. Sometimes, like tonight, the bands are almost virtuoso players but seriously lacking in any kind of originality. I didn't hear one original note. Their own songs range from funky bass workouts to slower funky bass workouts (one sounding remarkably similar to Breaking the Girl).
There is a certain type of guitar music that can only be heard in guitar shops, not quite the 'No Stairway' Wayne's World joke, but close enough to it and the Freaksters do a good job of reproducing it. In a few years time these heads will be doing ads for guitar strings in 'Unnecessary Guitar Solo' magazine.
I hate to make mention of cover versions in a review, but the band do four real crowd pleasers, and have the b***s to pull off a cracking version of James Brown's 'Sex Machine', with admirable vocal stunts and trousers by lead singer Mick. Like I said, it's guaranteed to have the party people breaking their pelvises in the aisles and, again, I greatly admired the musicianship, but who wants to be known for their covers?
The Freaksters, go see them, drink 10 pints, get a shift, dance yourself sweaty, but please, don't pay too much attention to them.