We live in a time when the latest mediocre Brit indie guitar sensations can fill The Concorde seemingly on the strength of hype alone only to disappear from people’s memories six months later. I’m not mentioning any names here but I’m sure you can think of one or two. Maybe this has always been so? Before the internet and countless blogs desperately searching for the next big thing we had the NME etc. and there were plenty of overnight sensations who ended sinking accompanied by much derision. Anyone remember Menswear?
So I arrived at Sticky Mike’s on a Monday night looking forward to seeing Parisians, Yeti Lane, with the knowledge that not many tickets had been sold but still somewhat shocked by the sparseness of the crowd. Despite critical acclaim and solid reviews of both their albums they can certainly be described as being ‘under the radar’ in this country. I’d personally never heard of them until I listed this gig on the site and they are right up my street as they remind me of one of my favourite bands, the much missed Grandaddy.
Support band, Brighton’s Speak Galactic impressed me greatly. Progressive (not always a dirty word) and original, they at times blew me away, reminding me of Bradford Cox’s Deerhunter and Atlas Sound at their most experimental. Brighton Noise’s Ben Wright informed me that not long ago they were a solo act. Main man Owen Thomas has now added a drummer and this is clearly a wise move. In my view a problem of the bedroom type artist is how cleverly constructed, mostly electronic music translates into an interesting live show.
Difficult to pigeon-hole, their songs/soundscapes generally begun with Owen, surrounded with various electronics, effect pedals and a guitar, building sound hypnotically, accompanied by a drum machine. The drummer kicked in and the music took off, taking us down seemingly blind alleys with staccato rhythms before suddenly changing tack. An exciting band indeed.
Yeti Lane, another duo, took the stage. French in look, well in the case of a rather cool stripy Lacoste jumper, but not in sound. As I said their modern electronic psychedelics remind me at times of Grandaddy and has echoes of a slightly more poppy Spacemen 3 but driven by synthesisers. They were surrounded by electronic gizmos, much of it cleverly incorporated into a large case that looked like something from The Tardis, circa 1975.
Playing tracks from the fantastic second album, The Echo Show their set was at times beautiful and constantly engaging. Singer, guitarist and keyboard player Ben has a lovely voice which came to the fore on tracks such as Dead Tired. Their standout song, Analog Wheel was truly brilliant. Building and building into a crescendo of hypnotic guitars and whirling keyboards.
It’s maybe time to ask questions when a band as good as Yeti Lane can only attract around 30 people.
Words: Andy Hinton
Photos: Blanche Potter