Late Of The Pier, Middleman, Green Man Says Go!

Sel Bulut 09/05/2008

Lining the walls of Wakefield's miniscule Escobar are relics of the past - posters of bands who have moved on to bigger and better things litter the walls. Ranging from an old Arctic Monkeys poster to The Kooks through Kate Nash and ending predictably on The Cribs, Wakefield's biggest (and possibly only) export, it's hard to imagine these acts playing such a small place nowadays because…well…it's so small…

Such is the size of the pub that you sadly have to endure the typical “crap support act” because there's literally nowhere else to go. A small group of people dance to first support act Green Man Says Go! that would almost imply that their 'brand' of dull, mathy electro (coupled with some of the most cringeworthy lyrics imaginable) was actually enjoyable. It's soon revealed that those few dancers were just mates dancing to make them seem good, as they carry the band's equipment outside after the set. Typical.

Second support Middleman are slightly better, hip-hop beats and delivery not too far removed from (an admittedly less witty) Scroobius Pip. A few catchy tunes shine through the duller ones, and the applause for them is significantly larger than the Green Man Says Go!'s.

But of course it's all about Late Of The Pier here. Being that doors opened at 9pm, the headliners take to the stage at the ridiculous time of 11.15 (this is when gigs usually end!) but, thankfully, are good enough to warrant the waiting time. Opening with the instrumental glam racket Hot Tent Blues that has now become synonymous with their live shows, it leads directly into the groovesome Broken and then debut single/forthcoming re-release Space & The Woods without a pause for breath. Sadly the energy of the crowd doesn't match that of the band, and a largely static audience (excluding a group of dedicated fans at the front) linger at the back, fearful of spilling their pints. The Escobar's average demographic makes an odd change to the energetic fourteen and fifteen year old crowds of their previous shows. Technically, though, Late Of The Pier are still on top form, with a version of Random Firl taking a new structure from the existing demo garnering a good response from the fans. But things don't seem right, as even single The Bears Are Coming doesn't elicit a large response, almost as if the band are out of their league playing to an older audience.

But things take a dramatic turn as a drunk crowdsurfer dives out of nowhere and lands quite squarely on his face. Suddenly no one is left standing still, the audience taking a collective lurch during the awesomely retro Heartbeat, Flicker, Line, the anthemic sing-along chorus drowning out most of the band's sound. The oddest part of this is that the song isn't a single and there is no album yet - to provoke such a response from what is basically a demo is bizarre but testament to why they're one of the most talked about bands in the UK right now. Some surreal crowd banter (“You want me to stick my penis in your mouth?”) breaks up the songs and almost as soon as the crowd start caring the set sadly draws to a close. With the final song of the night - earlier single Bathroom Gurgle - singer Sam Eastgate takes a dive into the crowd and is immediately lifted up, finishing the rest of the song suspending from the ceiling.

Without doubt Late Of The Pier are one of the most energetic and funny new bands playing live right now. It's unlikely that they'll ever be big enough to join the 'Escobar wall' but it's probably much better if they remain this way. To imagine them playing in Academy-sized venues is bizarre, as separating them from their audience would result in a lifeless affair not unlike the first half of tonight.