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The Futureheads w/ The Shout Out Louds and High Speed Scene (Thursday, March 3rd, 2005, Fine Line Music Café, Minneapolis)
The Futureheads - Publicity Photo

By David de Young

HIGH SPEED SCENE and THE SHOUT OUT LOUDS

Sweden’s Shout Out Louds were the middle band at Thursday night’s Futureheads show at the Fine Line. Their quality pop was something I found easy to like in the same way I dig New Order, though it’s New Order’s vibe, not their mood or sound with which they elicited that response from me. The Shout Out Loud’s 3 song EP Very Loud (it’s not, actually) was only 2 bucks, so I can tell they are shrewd businessmen as well since this encouraged several people to buy two (one for a friend!) Expect to see more of this band. You can check them out for yourself right now as their entire EP is streamed off their website.

I missed first openers, Los Angeles trio High Speed Scene, but chatting with the band before the Shout Out Louds' set, they told me they’d put on an “awesome” show. For the purposes of this review (and for fun!), I’ll take their word for it.

THE FUTUREHEADS

The Futureheads come to us from Sunderland, UK, a city in Northeast England with a population of 300,000 and the largest city between Edinburgh and Leeds. The band has been receiving a bit of press here in the US, but not quite enough to sell out Thursday’s show. I’m one likely to rave, but I’ve heard mixed responses from my peers to the band’s debut album eponymous album (Sire, 2004). In England this week, a show in a venue the size of the Fine Line would surely have been a sell-out as the band is enjoying a top ten hit on XFM (#4 as of 3/9) with their Kate Bush cover, “Hounds of Love.”

One local music fan who raved was Minneapolis DJ, Jake Rudh, who wrote in his weekly newsletter following the show, “One of the tightest bands I've seen live. . . it seems like they've been practicing these tunes for the past 10 years in their basements and just now decided to play them live...incredible.“

The band actually played their first gig at a Cricket Club in December 2000, and that show just 50 months ago was only the second time they had performed using a PA.

At the Fine Line Thursday, the band opened with “Le Garage” the opening track from their disk, and busted through a 17-song set (including two encores) that seemed to blow by in about 30 minutes—though it was actually closer to 45.

Playing nearly every song from their debut album was a perfectly acceptable move owing to the album’s strength and diversity. By diversity, I mean the album covers a “spectrum” of music ranging from XTC to the Clash to Devo to the Jam and back again, all the while with an updated and fresh feel. Though some might argue this is all late 70’s, early 80’s rock of a similar sub-genre and therefore not diverse, most fans of the above bands would rather fight than switch from their belief that each band I mentioned above has a sound so distinct it could have originated on a different planet.

On stage at the Fine Line, The Futureheads’ setup included placing drummer David Hyde way to the back of the stage, giving the two guitarists, Barry Hyde (David’ brother) and Ross Milliard, and bass player, Jaff plenty of room to move back and forth up front as the three traded off in call and response and harmony vocals. Nearly all the band’s songs have 3 distinct vocal parts that work together in a well-choreographed dance (if such a metaphor can be applied to musical arrangements.)

Their live performance both looks and sounds interesting, and the band really earns their keep. The show could also be enjoyed from just about anywhere as the band’s energetic reach was long enough to keep a hold of you as a listener no matter where you were positioned in the club.

“Time to put your dancing shoes on,” Barry Hyde announced before puling out “Decent Days And Nights,” during which all three front men stepped up to their mikes to do vocal duties, then pulled back in unison when not needing them.

The band played some new songs, including one called “Area,” about crime, a rocker that had the band clapping overhead and included the unpleasant lyric “You have to stay in a hotel because your house was burned to pieces.”

The band encouraged everyone to sing along to “A to B” if they recognized it, saying it sounded nothing like it does on the record. Then on “First Day,” 2nd guitar player Ross Millard did this thing where he whips his guitar around his head. Though an obviously practiced stage gimmick (and I’ve seen my fair share of those) I found this one to look really cool, and it was one he repeated several times through the set.

“Trying Not To Think About Time” was followed up by “Meantime,” a song the band said was about “being boring or boring yourself.”

Towards the end of the show, the band divided the audience in half down the middle to sing the vocal intro parts to the Kate Bush classic, “Hounds of Love.” Milliard took the stage right side, saying his side usually loses for some reason up against bass player Jaff’s due to his bandmate being the one with the charisma.

The Futureheads said this was their best time in Minneapolis. “Honest.” The next night had them heading to Illinois for an appearance at Chicago’s Double Door. Ironically, their set list for tonight said “3 Mar 2005 Minneapolis Double Door” merging the event with the Chicago one. A keepsake, for sure.

The encores were “Dorian Gray” and bringing symmetry from the opening song, “Man Ray,” the album closer.

David de Young is at editor[at]howwastheshow.com.


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