Support Bands: The Attika State, My First Tooth, Stagecoach

Twas with a heavy heart I headed down to see The Attika State, My First Tooth, Stagecoach and Johnny Foreigner at the Social. I'd only just arrived in London from university, and wanted a bit of time with my family. On top of that it's impossible to give away a plus one with two hours notice when nobody seems to be about. What's more nobody even asked for my ticket, so I didn't get ever to say I was on the guest list! It's safe therefore to say, that I was feeling pessimistic and wasn't really expecting great things.

I arrived someway through The Attika States' set, and despite my general sense of gloom and despondency I couldn't help but enjoy them. Not love them mind, but they hit some sort of spot. Crammed onto a tiny stage, most of them standing somewhere in the crowd, they gave a nervous and somewhat stilted set. What they lacked in stage presence they made up in quality. Sounding somewhat like Johnny Foreigner (surprisingly), they bounced happily along in a powerful, but poppy way. Making good use of choral singing, and catchy hooks, they made a fun if somewhat uninspired sound. Certainly worth keeping a eye on, but lacking any real sort of killer edge.

My First Tooth on the contrary really impressed me, I think I may have been previously familiar with some of their stuff, but this may have been simply because it was damn good I convinced myself I must have been. Formulating a bombastic sort of folky indie-pop, that leapt out at us powered by sheer enthusiasm. Both earnest, and capable they certainly formed a strong impression. Featuring violin solos, and more choral singing they offered us quirky and sweet set, but had maybe something more to them than the general crowd of similar acts. Maybe not the most special band in the world, and not one I'd ever tip to make it big, but a lovely, cosy, bookish sort of band that can't help but be enjoyable.

Mood thoroughly cheered, I awaited the arrival of Stagecoach, who seemed to take an age to set everything up, and were still having problems when they started playing (the pains of a long tour I guess). We posted a review just a couple of days ago of both Stagecoach and Johnny Foreigner playing together, so I'm intending the next two paragraphs to be a slight comparison to that review (which can be found here) so that I don't become redundant. Like Tom, I'd never seen Stagecoach live, but wasn't entirely expecting what I got. The band again opened with 'We Got Tazers' but it wasn't the vaguely anthemic indie rock song I was expecting. Stagecoach have a live sound is barely comparable to their recorded stuff, they produce a genuine on stage riot. Yes, you get the sing along choruses, the catchy hooks that is present in everything they've released, but you also get a tonne of energy, aggression and sheer noise that comes with it to make a genuinely awe-inspiring set. Once they had broken through their technical problems, Stagecoach produced one of the best sets I've ever seen, jumping about the venue, climbing on things, screaming into microphones, all while keeping composure and never missing a beat. Ending again with 'Good luck with your 45' the band were joined on stage by Johnny Foreigner, and spent most of the song somewhere in the audience. I suggest everybody goes to see them as soon as possible, because you won't regret it, and I'm still struggling for words to describe quite how good they actually were.

Johnny Foreigner, by contrast, were drunker and everything was much more broken than when Tom saw them. This being the last gig of the tour, and also the label Christmas party, they had no bass amp and Alexei had to support himself against the wall for most of the gig. They gave off the aura of a band very much breaking into small pieces. F sharp on their keyboard had broken which is apparently used in all of their songs, ruling out quite a lot of their material. As well as this Kelly had broken her little finger so couldn't play half of the remaining material anyway, which meant that really their set was somewhat limited in it's capabilities anyway. Sounding a bit rubbish without a bass amp, they struggled on but managed to put on an energetic, entertaining show regardless. Jofo has always been more about the energy then the songs, and this shone through here. 'Eyes Wide Terrified' was particularly impressive. I wouldn't go so far to say they were really good, but considering the state they were in they certainly weren't bad. Stagecoach jumped on stage occasionally to help out, and built up to a awe inspiring, but exhausting finale, with all members of both bands strewn throughout the venue. After this tour, and this gig in particular, I think they certainly deserve a long rest.