Home Band 1996 1997 1998 1999
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
2006 2007 2008 2009

1 December 2003

London Dates
London, ICA

Playlouder Event. Running order:
8.15-8.45 Carina Round
9.00-9.45 Patrick Wolf
10.00-10.50 The Futureheads

Motel 74

Review by Adam Alphabet


Indeed. For it is - and it could be nothing else. It's not like warped Brummy songbird Carina Round, perennial teenage wonderboy Patrick Wolf, and Mackem post-punks The Futureheads have anything in common, other than they've all touched a stringed instrument at some point. But that is of little consequence. The point is supposed to be to put good music. Is all.

Carina Round is good music, and awesome performance. Twitching, juddering, hawking and shuddering through a collection of songs mainly culled from her violent and delicious 'The Disconnection' LP, La Round makes for compelling, frightening, arousing, and frustrating viewing, rendering blues and funk heavy versions of her songs, wrenching the essence of them from somewhere far down and sort of regurgitating them in an unashamedly raw manner. Rising over a barrage of Neanderthal riffing with some strange breathy gasping, Round looks about to explode, before checking herself and turning to her drummer. It is all rather odd, but blatantly hardcore fuck noise badness.

Patrick is similarly sourced in his pants, but it is his big heart and tender, sharp, wise-beyond-his-years observations that make him really special tonight. Exuding a terribly attractive confidence, he charms, beguiles and has half the audience fall in love with him, and the other half walk out, presumably disgusted with a boyman who plays lots of instruments and songs with a nerve shredding honesty that some just can't handle. As ever suffering "technicalities," and rising above them with grace and style, tonight we see glimpses of a superstar learning his craft, but more importantly, we bear witness to the first fruits of a truly unique, and universal songwriter.

Those that were frightened of Patrick return in a loud rabble to cheer on choppy new wave revivalists The Futureheads, a sharp, tight gang of lanky Northerners seemingly soaked in beer and early eighties cheer. They have three reference points - XTC, Buzzcocks, and 'Kings Of The Wild Frontier'-era Adam And The Ants. This is highly infuriating, but weirdly effective - their punk barbershop is a great thing to behold, and the joy with which they execute their stolen materials cannot be denied. Boys leap up and down with savage jubilance at the front, and the fatter ones hang back bellowing "go on my son", which is strange after the hushed devotion afforded Patrick, and the tingly awe inspired by Carina, but only serves to highlight what a weird, random, correct nature of the PlayLouder Festival, if I do say so myself.

Originally online at

Review by Sherief Younis

Cello wieiding bass players, laptops, modeling and a timely intervention on the Punk UK landscape. Sherief Younis assesses this mighty triumvirate of talent.

Carina Round could be another one of those unsung singer/songwriters who fall into the 'unknown' or 'not bad, fancy a pint?' category. After various support slots with high profile bands such as Coldplay, Elbow and Turin Brakes, perhaps this is her year. Tonight she is in the spotlight, a writhing demon in red, doing her damnedest to control her guitar. Any idea of her being your average songwriter are demolished in a performance of strong, dynamic, soul addled numbers that dispel the impression she is just that, a singer/songwriter. Flanked by a skeletal guitarist, and a cello wielding bass player, the red number she wears leave all eyes on her while her voice screams 'this is a one woman show'. She could be the missing link in a Chipmunk-esque blues trio along with the Kills, but that’s one for the tabloids. In such an 'intimate' venue as the ICA, her vocal talent is unfortunately wasted. Her ability in ranging from the subtle to the soulful, the dynamic to the dark is the essence of a her rough, raw but spectacular sound. Strange that, singer/songwriters and needing bigger venues? Something's amiss. If you're looking for something more fulfilling in a singer/songwriter, look no further. Still the same personal interpretations, and the same reflection of thought, but delivered with a force. Powerful AND poetic.

Fresh from his modelling in Switzerland, Patrick Wolf gives the average singer/songwriter label a kick in the teeth, before drawing intricate patterns on each one and wrapping it up nicely to give back. The boy is a musical chameleon. His eclectic fusion of drum n bass, electronica, synth, folk (and just about every other genre under the sun) gives every song a refreshingly, unique texture. Nevermind the fact he breaks the 'me and my guitar' convention, hell he doesn’t even play one tonight. A guitar, a violin, a keyboard and electronics push the boundaries, as do the end results. 'Wolf song' is on the surface a childhood ballad, but beneath its innocent exterior lies a darkness to his writings 'come and eat the ones, we know who taste the best'. 'To the lighthouse' is an odd combination of electronica and violin, which is surprisingly successful. 'You can't say no' could be Johnny Cash but the stand out track is, 'Demolition' with a chilling keyboard loop, its atmospheric edge drags the hairs on the back of your neck to attention. Songs like 'Bestiality' screams coffee house poetry, whereas 'Bloodbeat' lurches into 80’s tedium. His ability to encompass a variety of sound, that's mostly successful, is a result of the art and experimentation that Wolf toys with. Singer/songwriters will never be the same again. Laptops, violins and modeling are the way forward.

The Futureheads provide not just a punk shock to the cultured, contemporary art folk who dwell here, its Geordie punk shock. Entrance number 'Robot', clears the sinuses, awakens the senses, and probably wakes the dead. The next hour doesn’t so much as blaze by, it burns. The Futureheads are the anecdote to the punk-pop virus that has infected the very core of punk. In a lethal dose, and in a true punk ethos, they are also the poison injected into the corporate vein that is the music industry. They are so punk that after second song 'Try not to think about time', the snare drum is fucked. To look at them, they ooze anti-nothingness, its only until The Futureheads a.k.a Barry Hyde (Guitars, Vocals), David Craig (Bass, Vocals), Ross Millard (Guitars, Vocals), David Hyde (Drums, Vocals), take stage, play fast and don’t stop. With no breaks, the set is only punctuated by the 2 and 3 minute throbs and bursts of guitar, laced with subtle Ska. The more accessible songs like 'De, De ,De' , breakthrough song 'First day' and standout track 'Alms', all have that radio friendly capability and that 'ooooh,ooooh' chorus that wont go away. They could be a minor saving grace for British punk, but as long as there's still some righteous political outrage, Joe and Sid can rest in peace.

Originally online at Crud Magazine

Photos by