Neo/Scarlet Soho - The Man On The Moon, Cambridge - October 19th
"I've just called the Sound Engineer a twat to his face about five times," is approximately the first thing Scarlet from Scarlet Soho said to me when I saw her in the bar of the Man On The Moon. The aforementioned engineer's apparent lack of experience of sound and the engineering of it was one of a long list of problems that variously hampered all the bands on the bill.
First on stage were a band who may or may not have been called Honeyspider. Their singer looked like a strange cross between Brian Molko, Marylin Manson and a girl I went to school with. He also played a Parker Fly - a guitar far too flashy and expensive for someone in a shitty local band, even in Cambridge. All of their songs went on for far too long and at least two of them contained more than one guitar solo.
The second band were so awful I never even tried to find out their name. They sounded like the Vines but slower and a hundred times worse. Words cannot describe how little I enjoyed their set.
After all this painful waiting, Scarlet Soho took to the stage. After a false start because the sound man had omitted to turn up the volume on the backing track (and later in the set, their keyboards), the trio launched into No Reception.
SS have been off the live scene for a while and at this, the last date of a two week tour, I finally got to see what it was they had been up to. With all backing tracks re-recorded and two new songs thrown in (in which Jim managed to sing both some S Club lyrics and a note longer than I thought humanly possible) they proved themselves to be one of the few bands around at the moment doing something different from all the others (much to the dismay of the drunken punk at the front who kept shouting for them to "play something else, like Iron Maiden").
Neo's set, however, was probably the most interesting of all, though not because of the music. Part way through their second song, a fight between the current and ex-boyfriends of the band's bassist caused her to storm off stage. Hastily a replacement from the audience was found and the song was played again. Then, part way through the third song, the bassist returned and everything was halted again so she could retake the stage.
In the end, Neo only managed to play four whole songs before they ran
out of time, closing on the single Die In America ("which thankfully
none of you have"). What there was of the set was good and the
band get extra points for providing an element of something-you-don't-normally-see-at-a-gig.