The Computers/Idles/UK’s Lowest - Bristol, Exchange - 15th November 2014 Print E-mail
Written by Johnny H   
Tuesday, 02 December 2014 03:00

Bristol PosterBarely two weeks into November and the URHQ gig schedule is busier than a Daily Express hack writing “snownado” front pagers. I wasn’t even supposed to be here tonight either, having already buffed up my bullet belt ready for a weekend in a caravan on the North Wales coast watching way past their sell by date hard rock and heavy metal bands. However for whatever reason here I am instead in another one of Bristol’s fine music venues experiencing one of what now must be the final dates on The Computers ‘Love Triangles, Hates Squares’ tour. How much will things have changed in the eighteen months since I last witnessed them in this very same venue right at the beginning of the tour? Well for starters judging by the fact you can’t get a rolling paper between any of the assembled throng, I’d say they’ve at the very least gathered a few new friends along the way, and tonight wasn’t even billed as being sold out!!!


Before I get to tonight’s headliners though there was the prospect of two Bristol bands to look forward to and in particular my second encounter with UK’s Lowest. But wait…weren’t they a four piece the last time I saw them? Right, so they’ve…ahem… “lost” their lead guitarist, to the bright lights of Big Smoke in the days since we last met. In all honesty though they also seem to have lost their previous inability to actually finish a song together, even if singer Callum Archer is now pretty much anchored to his mic stand doubling up the guitar parts. Close your eyes for a few seconds during the likes of ‘This Side Of Town’ and I Wanna Be On The Radio’ and you’ll totally forget that the boys do this “band-thing” whilst also doing their exams, and to have bassist Ben Bishop openly admit that he had to rush back from his paper round recently to record their excellent new track ‘99950’ whilst making me chuckle, actually also brings home the stark realisation of just how advanced these three young guns really are in the songwriting department. Closing tonight with the band’s call to arms, otherwise known as ‘Fuck The System’, UK’s Lowest once again proved why they are a youthful force to be reckoned with, short sharp and straight to the bloody point.


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Unlike it would seem, their fellow Bristolians Idles, who just a few bars into their opening song have my gig going amigos (Nev Brooks and Jason Palmer) suddenly making comedic hanging gestures as the PA plays out a white noise almost Hawkwind like blast of overdriven guitar. I can’t say I’m exactly enamoured by what I’m hearing or seeing either, as the five piece, flanked by two Zappa moustachioed guitarists, who wear their guitars like necklaces, seemingly think it’s also cool to tuck their shirts into their trousers, making for a most unwelcome introduction to what the five piece might be all about. But, hold your horses right there with all this negative imagery, because as the songs start to sink in and the two central characters of the band, namely bassist Adam Devonshire and singer Joe Talbot, start to get involved, Idels suddenly become a whole new proposition. Imagine what a socially aware Liam Gallagher might sound like playing alongside Nick Oliveri, and that is kind of like the dynamic Talbot and Devonshire conjure up live. Around them the rhythms throb and pulse like early Adam And The Ants or Joy Division whilst the lyrics behind songs like ‘Queens’ are both acerbic and astute.


Intense, claustrophobic, and above all hugely entertaining, whilst Idles may not be the best at this darkcore kind of thing they most certainly are a hugely engaging musical proposition, and are a band I will certainly be checking out in the future, even if my fellow Uber Rock scribes remained unconvinced.


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With tonight’s live entertainment not having started until 9pm the whole event took on a kind of old school nightclub vibe, and with the drinks flowing freely (Palmer falling victim to the lure of Old Rosie) and some superb tunes being plucked out of the ether by the Disco Sucks DJ it was just the right build up for tonight’s main act. So, it’s at this point that I have to admit that when I witnessed The Computers in this very same venue just eighteen months ago I thought they were perhaps trying a little too hard. As a result, to me at least, they came across a tad disingenuous.


computers 1Here tonight though The Computers are doing largely the same set without ever really breaking a sweat, and this time around they are cooler, and infinitely better, than 99.9% of the bands out there right now claiming to be the next big thing. This of course is largely down to the quality of the songs from the excellent ‘Love Triangles, Hates Squares’ album, most of which having now found the perfect middle ground between rock ‘n’ soul. As such it just takes the first few bars of ‘Bring Me The Head of The Hipster’ to have the whole place jumping and singing along. Meanwhile the crowd reaction to the likes of ‘Love Triangles, Hates Squares’ and ‘Mr Saturday Night’ is like some outtake from Quadrophenia with Computers’ frontman Al crowd surfing the front few rows like a demented James Michael Cooper. Superb stuff!


There’s time for a glimpse of what is to come next from The Computers via a new song that is either called ‘Hit Me Where It Hurts’ or ‘This Ain’t Right’, or maybe neither. This track is built on one of those bass driven Jesus Jones type rhythms, so who knows, perhaps the next album will see the band go and do a Bon Jovi on us? Keep the faith eh? Right now though The Computers really are at the top of their game, and if I have to single out one song for a special mention tonight it would have to be ‘C.R.U.E.L’, a song so far removed from the band’s screamo early days that it is hard to believe it is still the same guys up there on stage.


Look, if you are still mourning the passing of The Jim Jones Revue and fancy getting “sucked off by rock ‘n’ roll” then look no further than The Computers, this is the band Head Automatica always threatened to be.


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