Water Rats

James Baxter: The Water Rats, London

The world doesn’t need any more young men with acoustic guitars being nice. Thankfully, James Baxter is taking a leaf out of Tom Williams’ book. With a wry and acerbic wit, he took to the Water Rats stage on Tuesday evening.

Baxter’s songs, especially when accompanied by his guitarist and keyboardist, adopt Crosby, Stills and Nash harmonies but with a sense of brooding rather than love. 

Ironically, the brightest thing Baxter displays is his darkness. There is a bitterness to his observations about social media and politics that brings the aforementioned Williams and the early days of Frank Turner to mind.

Similarly to the godlike Billy Bragg, he combines social politics with his personal life. It’s this combination which could make Baxter a staple of many record collections in years to come.

The Bluetones: Water Rats, London

When big bands come to small gig venues, it’s invariably a great night and, The Bluetones at Water Rats was just that. Filmed for Vintage TV, the Hounslow massive rattle through an hour of their greatest hits.

Any Rik Mayall fan will tell you that, the best things about their live shows were the cock ups. Mayall’s wit and charm would shine brighter in these mercurial moments than during anything scripted. For this reason, we hope Adam Devlin’s guitar failure makes Vintage’s edit. It showcased frontman Mark Morriss in all his comedic glory.

It’s striking just how many charting singles they play tonight (and how many they don’t). Especially in Water Rats, a venue synonymous with This Feeling and their new music nights. So many new acts walk through these doors with great tunes and attitude, but, in the long run, too no avail.

Radio and TV outlets need to wake up to the new talent available. The indomitable Caffy St Luce and Heather Ferguson are here tonight, they dedicate their lives to breaking bands, these outlets should be trusting them (among others) as they did with The Bluetones in the 90s. Otherwise, they are denying generations of music lovers a chance to go on journeys with their favourite bands. The highs of the top 10, the lows of the fading 5th albums and then their glorious live comebacks when the kids have grown up.

This just leaves us to say, in the Bluetones immortal words, “So it’s on with the show”.

Image coutesy of  https://twitter.com/markpinsent

Breed: The Water Rats, London

“London. Who wants to get heavy?” decrees Breeds guitarist before swigging his mates beer and launching into a set of heavy hitting riffs.

As they tear through their set, you can see the spirit of so many great early 00s bands rising. The chaos of The Datsuns & D4, the punk of The Donnas, the playfulness Young Heart Attack combine with their natural BRMC stomp to deliver a rock music tour de force.

Former single 'Get With It', often threatens to spiral out of control with its dirty BRMC rock n roll pulsing through its veins. The combo of throbbing psyche and 70s garage music is perfection for Breeds image. They have a great old school blend of irreverence and wanting to shag everything in the room.

Get to Jimmy's early in Manchester (April 20th), they are not a support band to be missed.

Avalanche Party: Water Rats, London

When the music weekly magazines were at the peak, they uncovered 'scenes' in little pockets of the UK. In a disparate digital age, this seemed to have evaporated. However, what IDLES, Cabbage, Shame, The Blinders and now, Avalanche Party, are proving that they do, only on a more widespread level.

Avalanche Party, from Yorkshire, come from the garage rock end of the spectrum but, they undeniably belong to the 'punkadelic' movement taking over the UK. Leading them, the soon to be iconic Jordan Bell. He transcends music with his theatrics. Every hand movement and every foray into the crowd sends the message 'you will love and understand us'.

Through his antics and tight musicianship, they create a platform for the ferocious beat poetry to flourish. Expressive as this is, there is a litany of slogans roaring to the surface for fans to hang on to. 'You aint stopping a hero', 'revolutions high', and 'redefine your notion, of the best a man can be' form a holy trinity of moments this crowd want to rip from their intestines and wear as a badge of honor.

On 'Revolutions High', something truly special happens. They create a freeness to what is essentially a garage rock number. The passion and venom that emanates from them is tangible. It's now not enough to just play well, Avalanche Party have taken the familiar and forged a new path to fight against Daily Mail reading, Reece-Mogg appeasing wankers of this world.

The bar has been raised!

Image Source: Rhys Skinner https://www.rhysskinnerphotography.com/