Artrocker Awards Live Show / Sebright Arms
Photos: Kane Howie
It was 3pm when the free bar began to take its first causalities. At first people merely began to twitch imperceptibly in the eyebrow department, speaking with the best intentions about their love of rock and roll but also beginning to swerve with an increasingly vague grip on gravity. By the time the final award had been scooped, heads were crashing into glass tables. One man was jeered as he attempted to eat a hamburger entirely through his nostrils. Another seemed to believe, entirely sincerely, that he had been surrounded by devil worshippers.
It was clearly time to escape to the live music downstairs, where Tim Burgess had seemingly kidnapped the singer of Hatcham Social and formed an uncharacteristically mellow supergroup. Burgess was looking good, there could be no doubt, and the music from his recent solo record Oh No I Love You too was surprisingly meditational live - the last time I felt this relaxed with introspection I'd accidentally stumbled into some blasted choral requiem. Yet Burgess and band are shamanistic, subtle, a charm.
Speaking of shamans, Dark Horses appeared to whisk us back to a time when people munched psychotropic fungi as casually as they popped toothpicks in their mouths, blending witchcraft with acid rock - and even a smidgen of gasoline too. To many, the Single Of The Year winners had delivered the knockout blow in the live stakes too, but then came something else.
I'd seen Public Service Broadcasting once or twice already, but tonight the bastards dished up moments of epoch on a stained metal tray before slicing your head off with it. Battle hardened by months on the road, their original premise - to make history lessons sexy again with a combination of live breakbeats and twisted electro - has morphed into a kinky proposition indeed. Looking around, people were either grinning like goofballs or dancing like a nightmarish variation of Bez - proof it seemed, that PSB plus free booze had sent them singing Kumbaya into the seventh fleet of Heaven.
Kicking off with their album opener, 'T=0', Tall Ships demonstrated exactly why they've been such an essential live band to catch throughout 2012. The emotive lyrical side of them really comes alive as the rowdy front of stage crowd has their fingers in the air for singles 'Gallop' and 'Phosphorescence'. Playing a mixture of EP and album tracks, there's a more grizzly edge to them in a live setting, though it'd be nice to see them with a massive choir behind them - just to build up the epic qualities that the album sometimes holds. If you haven't seen this three-piece yet, put it on your to-do list for next year, you will not be disappointed.