Saturday, 15 September 2007


Venue: The Pitz
Support: 586 / The Modus Vivendi / Mojave Allstars
Reviewer: Phil

Mojave Allstars drive through The Pitz with the windows down and speakers on full. They have a big, solid, well assured sound that’s more mature than you’d expect, considering this is only their second gig. Their sound is equal parts Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Nine Inch Nails, while their vocalist apes Eddie Vedder and Trent Reznor. They are big, loud and impressive, as are tonight’s second band, local heroes The Modus Vivendi.

Modus Vivendi: 'an informal and temporary arrangement to allow for resolution in spite of differences, or, a way of living'. What more can be said about Beanie and his crew of jazz-funk pranksters? There’s the blues here, there’s funk a-plenty, there’s art rock circa early Sonic Youth, and there’s a groove and a sense of humour that’s reminiscent of Primus or Captain Beefheart circa Trout Mask Replica. The Modus Vivendi’s sound is distinctive, loud and aggressive, but also fun and humorous just like the band. These guys are veterans of the Milton Keynes scene, while not pretending to be in any way connected with it. They are their own movement. If tonight was your first dose of Modus, you may well need to see them a few more times to be convinced. But like eating sushi... you might be unsure the first time you try it, but three meals in and you're hooked!

586 burst onto the Pitz stage, a five-piece who’s irresistibly upbeat clatter is immediately reminiscent of Les Incompetents, Larrikin Love, Blondie or The Pipettes, while their collage of musical textures conjure up Arcade Fire or Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. They play with confidence and gushing enthusiasm, despite virtually the entire audience having disappeared of to the bar for 586’s set which is a shame on their part! Debut single Money Is The Drug gets an early play and hits you with an irresistible chorus, while closer I’m Not A Monkey tries to be aggressive but ends up sounding like Bridget Jones in a huff. You can’t help but laugh, for in no way are this band taking this rock n roll business at all seriously, except that they are making exceptionally catchy indie rock!

Soho Dolls, a London five-piece fronted by enigmatic vamp Maya Von Doll, play seductive gothic electro-rock like it’s the new vogue. When Maya purrs ‘my vampire’s ok’ she sings it like she believes it, and tonight so do we. With a slab of sleazy 80’s Depeche Mode meets Goldfrapp, Maya sings about vampires, strippers, pimps and princes with equal parts punk attitude and glam seductiveness. An early play of first single Prince Harry sounds like a classic returning home, internet single My Vampire is smooth and utterly captivating, while closing single Stripper is grimy, dirty, and downright fantastic. These guys may be rocking to their own electro-rock tune, like a glimpse down a Soho back alley into an unfamiliar world, but tonight they’ve taken us with them and we’re utterly seduced….