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Live Review: Tigers Jaw, End Of A Year, Basement, Dave House, Callum Reed & The Books and Mike Foster - The Purple Turtle, Camden - 1/1/11

It is the first night of the Alter The Press sponsored Tigers Jaw/End Of A Year/Basement tour and it is a bleary eyed crowd that mill about Camden’s Purple Turtle. Many a New Years Eve hangover is nursed and many a punter chooses a lime soda at the bar. It is almost serendipitous then that tonight’s openers are a rather mellow three acts. First up is perpetually fill in bassist Mike Foster who this time picks up a six string and plays a short but entertaining set of Matt Skiba inspired acoustics punk. Callum Reed & The Books don’t fair as well as a tight and enthusiastic performance is marred by having no really memorable songs.

With his unquestionable love of punk rock, having previously played in The Steal and now Pacer, it is often overlooked just how talented a songwriter Dave House is. Tonight he plays a charming set of tunes culled from his surprisingly sizeable back catalogue and the ever growing crowd are captivated.

Next band up Basement seem to be everywhere at the moment. Being the only UK band on Run For Cover, they have been lucky to land a slew of cracking support slots and this tour is no exception. However the overriding feel from tonight’s set is that Basement are a band who have begun running before they can crawl. Everything is present and correct; the double time bits, the rough and ready vocals and the Midwest emo breakdowns. However that’s all there is, boxes being ticked and heroes being worshipped rather than the band writing some genuinely killer songs. They come close on the mid-paced DUI but a band from Ipswich having a song called ‘DUI’? It’s smacks of emulation over anything else.

When a band opens there show with the drummer reading out lyrics from a Crass song you know the band are, to quote singer Patrick ‘not for everyone’. End Of A Year are just that, obtuse, inaccessible but fucking fantastic tonight. Playing a slightly longer set and with a fill in bass player (reasons why will be revealed soon) they are on fine form, mixing up post punk guitar squeals with indie rock song structures all played with the fiery energy of hardcore. Frontman Patrick is by turns dry and captivating, sparking up a rapport with the sizeable crowd before leading his band through the are truly unique half hour plus of discordant brilliance.

Tigers Jaw’s journey here has not been an easy one and it get’s no easier upon there belated arrival to the Purple Turtle. Having had to cancel several shows due to their flights being grounded, and arriving at the venue dangerously close to the latter end of EOAY’s set the band look slightly bewildered as they are thrust onstage. Their woes do not end their and due to technical hitches are forced to play their set a member down and without any of their trademark organ. However the band battle on regardless and play a charming if slightly curtailed fuzzy indie rock. The crowd have clearly been waiting a long time for the band to make it across the pond, the likes of ‘Jet Alone’ and ‘Two Worlds’ spark huge sing alongs and when they end with a Descendents cover the crowd all those New Years cobwebs are well and truly blown away. Judging by tonight, Tigers Jaw will have no problem making up for lost time.


3rd - Stoke, UK @ Harry’s Bar
4th - Leeds, UK @ The Well
5th - Edinburgh, UK @ Studio 24
6th - Glasgow, UK @ 13th Note
7th - Dublin, Ireland @ Mercantile
8th - Huddersfield, UK @ Sleepers Bar
9th - Manchester, UK @ Gullivers *
10th - Norwich, UK @ The Marquee *
*notes that Tigers Jaw will not be playing.

Alter The Press!