First five minutes of Legss convinces me they’re pretentious wankers.
Coming on and playing about five notes before monologuing over a pre-recorded track is hardly the most endearing way to open a rock show in the tiny (yet awesome) Paper Dress Vintage. Looking like a tree-themed military fan, Clark Kent’s nerdy cousin, and two extras from The Breakfast Club hardly helps paint a promising picture.
But the rest of their set is a blinder. Much like Muck Spreader, who I reviewed previously, nothing about their performance is predictable. The chaos of their music makes it fresh and intriguing, even if I don’t dig their lyrical style. Nothing wrong with it per say, perhaps if often just felt too disjointed from the already somewhat random composition to feel complete and considered, rather than just positioned entirely regardless of any melody. They certainly sound unconventional, but in a way I’m definitely open to hearing more of in the future.
Second support act Luxury Apartments are comparatively boring, only being a classic sounding punk band. The kind of punk that makes you want to kick capitalism in the dick so hard its tasting hypocritiacal coke-laced scrotum for weeks. Their bassist looks like Krist Novoselic back when he had longer hair and traces of a beard in 1990, and has a growling bass tone to match, giving that properly angry shout-at-your-parents sound you really want a punk band to have. The drummer has the correct appreciation of the crash cymbal, just a constant trashy racket, further adding to the lo-fi, homegrown band sound, and an emphatically loud approach to percussion. After all, if you’re going to hit some drums, may as well hit them hard, go big or go home ya know? All of this is rounded out by a somewhat Graham Coxon-esque singer and guitarist, providing a distinctly British tone, divorced both from bay side 90s punk, and the classic London stuff. Altogether, Luxury Apartments are not the most exciting band in the world from a purely analytical perspective, but they do give a slightly different take on a genre that I feel is somewhat under-represented nowadays, with the punk spirit most embodied by the grime scene.
If you’ve never listened to the compilation album Sub Pop Rock City, why? It’s the perfect picture of the early grunge scene, and has Soundgarden’s best song, which shares its name with the album (If you want to say Black Hole Sun is their best then prepare to be thrown into one). For a perfect little portrait of early Gunge, it’s the 12” to go to. It also happens to sound like it’s what each member of headline act Projector listened to in year 9.
Their most recent single Superstar is a cracking way to get the early set going. Its raucous, crashy, even sometimes dissonant as lead singer and bassist Lucy Sheehan lays bare her doubts about modern life. It’s fuzzy, it’s messy, and at heart it’s a brilliantly catchy pop song.
Closing track and early release Love has a real scream-along quality to the choruses that makes you want to jump about while shouting into a hairbrush. Mixed in were a number of yet-to-be-released tracks, which were nice and fat, chuggy rather than twiddly in the guitar sections, and while less anthemic than Projector’s releases so far, they were definitely more moshable. I’m certain that after the next EP’s release, when audiences have had a chance to learn the lyrics and intricacies of each song, that anthemic quality will return.
Scattered throughout are darker numbers from EP I Am Shamed. Full Circle builds like an avalanche as piercing guitarwork and a bouncy bassline crash into a mess of frantic riffs, screaming, and the sort of snare barrage from Demelza Mather which makes you feel like you got on Mohammed Ali’s wrong side. This is the general formula for the EP, with varying degrees of each element. Break Your Own Heart manages to limit itself to only one scream but makes up for it by being the darkest song of the EP, and possibly the nights set, as it imparts the mistrust, resentment, and freedom of the collapse of a toxic relationship.
The only partial let-down of the set was the conspicuous lack of the absolute banger Let Me, which guitarist Ed Ensbury claims they don’t play because it sounds a bit too much like Pixies. Given their cover of Pixies’ Tame as the penultimate song, I’m perhaps doubtful of Ed’s excuse. In any case, I know which band I’d rather see live. Hint: it’s not the one with 26 years’ experience.