The Great Escape – New Band Round-Up Day Two – Phantom Band, Abe Vigoda, Vivian Girls

The last time I’d visited the Pavillion Theatre was to watch industrial metallers Pitchshifter in 1998. I was poorly, and had to leave before the end to sit on the loo and shiver for about 11 hours. So comparatively tonight’s events really had a head start.

A very revealing shot of the Phantom Band

It was an Uncut showcase, and first on were Glasgow’s Phantom Band. They’ve recieved a landslide of praise in the past month or so from every ‘mature’ muso hack in the country. It’s free thinking rock’n’roll with anchors sunk in blues and folk, by eyes set on cloud-bothering post-everything horizons. They were actually surprisingly fun and engaging.


Don’t get me wrong, there’s only a certain extent five stoopering grizzly post-rocky beardos from Glasgee can change the way you look at life on earth, especially in a venue with a runny bum associations. But hats off to them though, often the broadsheet ‘proper music fan’ fodder can end up being as titalating a live spectacle as a telesales induction seminar, but their grooves were full of bawdy and gritty charm. Still, not quite as good this:

Springing like a petulant gazelle down the seafront towards the upstairs area of trendy discotheque Audio, it was time for another troupe of locals. 4 Or 5 Magicians have been on this very blog before, and quite deservedly. Whilst onstage tonight certain members may look eerily like the kind of mugs that appear in indentikit illustrations handed to parents of suspicious characters spotted lurking round parks, the songs mainman Dan Ormsby comes up with are quite simply magnificent.

It remains to be seen whether they can fulfill the terrace-baiting shmindie-crossover potential so clearly contained within tracks like ‘Ideal Man’ and ‘Forever On The Edge’, but at very least they’re going to be one of these treasured secret gems that transforms strangers in pubs into BFFs in an instance when idle conversation brings about a rare shared recognition of their absurdly undervalued greatness. As the funsize frontman brings their set to a close, horsedly bellowing the “I’ve resorted to listening to Radio 4” refrain from ‘Change The Record’ bounding atop a sticky near-by leather sofa, a gaggle of billowing dreadlocked hippies rocking incongruously among the smattering of crowd, it was clear we were witnessing something of a poignant Brightonian ‘moment’.

Abe Vigoda, fun guys

Straight back to the Pavillion Theatre after to catch Abe Vigoda. One of the most notable luminaries from LA’s Smell Club DIY all-ages punk utopia scene bubble (also see Mika Miko, No Age, HEALTH etc). It’s tricky deciding what makes these bunch such an entertaining live experience – their all-pummelling all-partying tropical punk-dirge curmudgeon, or their between-track winey goofball bantering shtick that suggests them as The Smell’s answer to Blink-182. Either way, they’re a reet laff, and leave the assembled masses in jubilant good-times spirits. For one song they’re joined onstage by the Vivian Girls for an Abba-esque sing-off, before the ominpresent g’yaldem actively cajoled (almost bullied, in fact) a gaggle of the reluctant, reserved British crowd onto the stage for a finale invasion hoedown. The awkard bopping of the recruited spods was really the icing on rather moreish cake…


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