Twentysixfeet, The Sailplanes, Colt, The Kicks

Liam McGrady 11/01/2006

I'm on a tube. I'm on a tube and I'm tired. I'm on a tube, I'm tired and I'm being subjected to Abba by the guy next to me - with his ipod on full volume. I'm also heading towards the unwelcoming hustle and bustle of Tottenham Court Road with the prospect of rain hanging in the air. Why put myself through this? Simple; a band called Twentysixfeet.

Let's skip quickly past the first two bands on the bill tonight, because to be honest they were little better than okay at best. The kicks' emo tinged indie guitar anthems are admirably tight, and the band defiantly confident, it's just a pity that the tunes are distinctly average - cruise ship average (one song is announced by saying that “it used to go down well on P&O ferries”; and it doesn't seem to me like they're kidding).

Colt are, it's very fair to say, a little weird. If I was being crude I'd describe them as being like Goldfrapp on Ketamine, with the smoky voiced female vocalist in the latter stages of Allison on her horse tranquiliser trip - and I'm actually feeling quite crude so you'll just have to deal with it. A bassy, dark, brooding version of Goldfrapp is damn appealing if you ask me and so it's disappointing to say the least when lyrics of “Jesus”, and “god”, and having “crosses to bear” or “demons to fight” filter through the towering percussion and slinky guitar. And seeing as I'm being crude, Colt begin to sound like The Cranberries on crack. Overall it was all a bit arty for me, and I'm sure the beguiling female figure twatting about on stage (for “twatting about” read prancing around and running fingers through her hair like an overgrown pixie) was drinking cough mixture throughout. Anyway, onto the good stuff; the bands that made the slog into the horror that is central London bearable.

Having seen The Sailplanes at the tail end of last year and been under-whelmed with their lack of projection, it's a physical pleasure to experience goose bumps where I didn't think you could get goose bumps, to have nothing but the thought “what the fuck!” ringing round my head. Comparisons to alt rock legends Sonic Youth have to be drawn, because, well, they sound like them - increasingly like them when co-vocalist Stacey's angsty yet angelic voice takes centre stage. But then they sound increasingly like the beautiful Post-Rock gods Explosions In The Sky when guitarist Tim's glassy arpeggio's bisect the swampy riffs like precision geometry; clean, sweet guitar meeting with dirty fuzz perfectly. To put it bluntly - although you can read this with a little crudeness if you want - I fucking love it.

Twentysixfeet are more relaxed in demeanour than on previous occasions, but musically ten times as intense. Starting out with a more considered song, they lead us gently by the hand, lulling us into a false sense of security before it begins. And what an “it” it is. A kick drum firmly plants itself in my lung; breathlessly my senses are overloaded by manically flung limbs. Twentysixfeet give me the same thrill that the dance/rock sounds of The Music used to. They're the band The Music could have been had they not gone off on a commercial bent, come to a crossroads and sold their soul to the devil - who was actually Richard D. James on Mike Patton's shoulders in a red suit. And I thought it couldn't get anymore epic, the electro beats break up into hardcore techno and guitars reach a distorted peak. It's the musical equivalent to King Kong not being satisfied with killing a shitload of dinosaurs and just punching a hole right through the world.