Picture the following situation:
You’re in Fallowfield for the first time in months because its Trof appears to host a respectable indie night whose playlist actually intersects with yours. The only catch is they have three live bands on, one of which has cancelled, thus you thought with doors at 8, arriving by 11 should secure you miss out on them, as ‘unsigned’ for the arrogant music journalist that you are automatically implies ‘… for a reason’. So you enter, pay your 2 dollars to the door man, find one of the bands still playing, obtain a nothing-but-fabulous vodka and coke for the even more delicious price of 2 quid 85, rush to the roof terrace, are recruited to be in a music video, the usual bla bla bla.
After the band have finished, you hope to finally engage in some dancing, which after all you came here to do, but while you peer over to the two blokes onstage, you realise they are not at all deconstructing it but setting it up. You cringe and prepare your scathing review before a note has been heard.
But after all they are a duo, and you are generally in favour of duos, from the obvious greatness of Johnossi to the more obscure of your cherished bands, such as Summer Camp or The Sea from London. And these two here clearly won’t be fucked with. They have the most sporadic stage set-up possible for a garage rock act, as in the drum kit lacks a bass drum, but at least has a tambourine lying on the tom which gives off a nice sound effect when hit, and hit it is, believe you me. They may have stolen all their drum patterns from the late White Stripes, but all is forgotten when the singer/guitarist, who has his instrument pinned to the chest like Alex Turner in the first ever Arctic Monkeys video, and bangs it in a similar fashion, starts roaring into his microphone, because as I then realise, he has wrapped it up entirely in tape to bring about a voice effect that some people buy expensive equipment to create, sounding more spaced-out, eerie and unequivocally punk than anything I have encountered in a while. He may play no more than two chords throughout the whole set, but I could care less as the waves of feedback and the sheer noise send me straight to garage-rock heaven. This is monotony in a good way, it’s incredibly addictive, and leaves me standing by the bar with the slightly idiotic grin of highly positive surprise, hammering the heels of my oxfords into the floor like no one else in the skeptical, immobile crowd. But as these 2-minute, 2-chord songs keep making our ears bleed (in a good way), the roof terrace starts to empty, the crowd grows in size, and I don’t even know the name of that band. They don’t speak between songs, obviously, as you would not understand a word through the mic’s layers of tape, just like you don’t while he’s singing, but they have an overall attitude that is punk in the pure sense of the word, and by that I mean miles away from fashion and haircuts, despite their music being less 70s than no-shit, energy-spitting 60s garage. And so these two young blokes deny the timeline like they deny their unimpressed hipster audience, who do cheer more and more after each song that is staked into their chest. If you must compare this band optically to their mainstream-tested indie rock colleagues (namely The Vaccines, Mona, or any other current poster band lunging at you from an NME cover), you will first and foremost notice how uncool they are, but if you listen to their music, you can’t help but find that coolness is not a hipster quiff, it is doing what you do they way you wanna do it, and not giving a shit about what you look like. Therefore, if you seek rock ‘n’ roll, you sometimes just have to brace yourself and attend an ‘unsigned’ show. At least this will enable you to impress your fellow hipsters one day with having ‘seen them live before they were even signed’.
Anyone who attended their 2011 SXSW performance has, by the way.
They are called Brown Brogues and this is how they roll: