ERRORS / SO SO MODERN / JONNY DARE, 2ND MARCH 2010, OXFORD JERICHO TAVERN
It's such a rarity to be able to say of a band that more conviction and self-belief would be both welcome and justifiable - so step forwards (rather than shuffle tentatively) Jonny Dare. The outfit formerly known as Space Panthers bear the mark of prolonged exposure to the subtle rhythms of Vampire Weekend's debut album as well as a faint echo of Franz Ferdinand's stomp, while the band currently playing across town at the Zodiac, avant guitar pop whizzes Field Music, are also called to mind. Particularly impressive are the brave, exposed vocals and the quiet, measured song referring to superglue which is heavy on the glockenspiel and which manages to be humble and yet pregnant with anthemic potential at the same time.
Next up, another rarity: a New Zealand band who've made it over to Blighty hell-bent on proving to those who get misty-eyed about Flying Nun's mid-80s roster that their homeland scene is alive and kicking more than two decades later. So So Modern are quite an affront, a markedly louder blur of electronics, feedback and snatched choruses of "We don't sell drugs" performed by two men wearing sashes emblazoned with the title of their debut LP, Crude Futures. Genuine grooves are in short supply while misfiring samples cause some consternation, and I think it's safe to interpret the audience's reaction as non-plussed rather than astounded.
It's no surprise whatsoever that Mogwai took such a shine to the headliners that they decided to release their recorded output on Rock Action and give them an opportunity to showcase that material on tour. After all, Errors do sound like the result of the 'Gwai outsourcing the all-too-rarely-glimpsed electronic facet of their personality (think 'I Know You Are But What Am I?' from 2003's Happy Music For Happy People) for it to be refracted through rave, beefed up and squelched up. And that's not to mention that they've got their patrons' way with titles - see 2006 EP How Clean Is Your Acid House? for evidence...
In truth, a closer comparison for the likes of 'Mr Milk' and 'Pump' - the latter very much the high point of first LP It's Not Like Something But It Is Like Whatever - is probably Holy Fuck, but in many of their songs the euphoria is kept in check, at times by the same Glaswegian chill and drizzle in which Arab Strap's The Red Thread was steeped.
Tonight it takes a little while for the lovechild of Jarvis Cocker and Ross Millard in the Prince T-shirt and his accomplices to warm up - during which time I find myself wondering whether all Glaswegian bands are contractually obliged to use the word "pish" at some point during proceedings. But once they do, Errors really are quite something, sending punters skittling and bouncing off the walls of the Tavern like caffeinated toddlers, even on a school night.