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Country Teasers, Storm And Stress, The Dismemberment Plan
Bull and Gate, London, 08.06.2000

Yeah, back to the lovely B & G, Kentish Town, (one of) the best venues around London to get to see new bands. This night presented a 3-bill: two US combos, plus one UK band. All names new to me. A pint of lager, please. Cheers! Here we go!

Opening act were London-based (formed in Edinburgh) Country Teasers. C&W? Not really. A quartet of punky spirited raw and chaotic rock, throwing in an amusing show. Totally unpretentious stuff, simplistic with loads of humor. From the retrospective compilation CD Back to the Future, or: Brideshead Revisited Revisited (on Guided Missile) I picked up, the story is they've been around since 1993 (!), and have released 2 singles and 2 albums on Crypt Records, Hamburg. Since then Guided Missile has released further 3 singles. They've toured Europe and USA, and they're said to be Peel faves!

Singer/guitarist (plus some saxophone, as well as keyboard played with his feet!) BR. Wallers/The Rebel looked incredibly young - at first sight I'd say 15(!), but he must be quite some years older than that - put up a remarkable stage performance. Wearing a Seinfeld cap, and singing in a way most people won't claim to be singing. Deep'n'rusty, like a mix of Mark E. Smith (who's still trying to keep his The Fall alive, if not kicking) and Calvin Johnson (of Beat Happening). Assisted by a lead guitarist, a bass player, and a drummer (told me he was Scottish, maybe they all are). Let's Have a Shambles! (off the compilation) opened their 30 minute set, of strange and hilarious songs. They also played The Idiot (not to be mixed with Mr. Pop's song of the same name) off the latest EP (Idiots v. Spastics EP by The Rebel/Country Teasers - to be reviewed next moon). Because I don't know their records yet I can't name drop more titles. The music, well: slacker rock, think aforementioned groups The Fall and Beat Happening, plus maybe early Pavement attitude. Or maybe not. Anyway, I'd recommend a visit if they ever get to a theater near you. Shamble on!

Next on were The Dismemberment Plan, a quartet out of Washington DC, with an album called Emergency & I out on the DeSoto label. They've been labeled as emo-core, and have recently toured (still on-going?) Europe as warm-up for Pearl Jam. Weeeell, I thought, I'd better give them a try. A skilled and playful bunch, sure. Probably nice lads as well, switching between pathos and core. A massive contrast to Country Teasers show, and to be honest, to much emo for my cup of tea.

Headliners of the evening were Storm And Stress, a trio from Chicago (with members of Dan Caballero) who's new (their 2nd) album - Under Thunder and Fluorescent Light (Touch & Go), has been received rather well in the press. NME said they're : "...puncturing post-rock's pretentious dichotomy with a barrage of exaggeration." A fitting description after watching their UK debut. Their show was an interesting experience. To be bagged among post-rock for sure, and quite arty as well. They were mostly sitting throughout their 45-50 min set. A drummer being really hyper all over skins and cymbals, the bass player with his instrument put on his lap, while the guitarist/singer (guitar close to his chin) sometimes danced like Ian Curtis, before whistling to the mike. I've never heard S&S before, so I can't tell what songs they played. What I've found out is that they've got incredibly long and weird song titles - just read, but don't hold your breath: Dance 'Til Record Skips Like Passengers Shift On Take Off, It Takes A Million Years To Become Diamonds So Let's Just Burn Like Coal Until The Sky's Black, and An Address That Was To Skip Ahead Of The Gallop Of Its Own Sperm And Eggs And Wait For Itself In... to mention a few. They put up a refreshing (most of the time) mixture of jazzy experimentalism holding noise, silence, feedback, and rhythms. The band name is really descriptive for the musical content. I guess it must be worth checking out their albums.

Copyright © 2000 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

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