The world cup hopes of the England rugby team slowly faded away on the big screen of the Corner House….meanwhile in the stage area it was much more uplifting as The Vigilantes opened their set with the brash optimistic blast of ‘No Money’, featuring a hypnotic repetitive monosyllabic riff and rolling chorus. Hailing from the unlikely musical territory of Boston (Lincolnshire) they play noisy, confident indie guitar rock, bursting with energy and ideas. ‘Get What You Pay For’ is a strong pop song and throughout the set their wall of sound was punctuated with clever guitar touches and solid drumming.
It was a good night for the drummers and I was pleased to see Cambridge favourites The British IBM back playing as a full band, boosted by the complex and riveting drumming of Paul Richards. Opening with ‘Cannibal’, ‘Animal’ and ‘Sugar Water’ from their debut album they were soon into the more mellow and introspective tones of the recently released ‘Psychopaths Dream…’, the string-laden recorded versions being rendered with plenty of fuzzy guitar and a emphasised edge in the vocals. This was particularly showcased in set closers ‘We Were The Stars’ and of course ‘The British IBM’, both being stylish hymns of longing and regret expertly crafted by singer/guitarist and creative force Adrian Killens.
I never knew quite where Bristol-based headliners and enigmatically named The Travis Waltons were coming from musically, which I view as a very positive quality. The guitar/bass/drums line-up was augmented by subtle keyboard lines and from the opening ‘Land Of The Giants’, with calm solo electric guitar and vocal, followed by the stately ‘Vampire Bite’ I was not sure what was to be next. It was a strong performance, successfully absorbing the appreciative audience, with tales of drastically thwarted relationships inbetween songs. There was even a cover of ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out'(referred to in some quarters as ‘the National Anthem of Smithdom’) and not forgetting ‘Separation Season’ their unique collaboration with Charlie Simpson of Busted and the closing and moving ‘Millionaire’. I really enjoyed their set, I am still trying to pin their sound down in a few well-chosen words….