Something you’ll ne’er hear uttered at an Immediate gig is:
“They don’t put much into it, do they?”
The set had barely begun and Walton was a lather of sweat. I like to call it passion water, and as a fellow performer I completely feel his pain. Or discomfort rather; wincing as the guitar strap moved around his back from dry patches to wet. Yup, the bane of the sweaty man’s life. Rock ’n’ roll…
But enough about perspiration.
It’s the 8th of June as I write this, nearly a whole week after Neuadd Ogwen, Bethesda (who obviously didn’t get the memo) hosted The Immediate, supported by the wonderful Campfire Social …
It was LLangollen’s answer to a Royal Rumble headlined by Fleet Foxes, Arcade Fire, Belle & Sebastian and the Red House Painters. Indeed if someone were to tell me that the owls are most certainly not what they seem around the woods of Llangollen and that Campfire Social were mixed up in it, I’d believe them. Keep an ear to the ground for these guys.—
Today, Bethesda is battered by wind and rain (Never!! I hear thee cry!). But the tones of Manbuoy are keeping me warm. Like a mug of soup, a toasty and a wooly hat. The album opener and single ‘Not Shabby’ isn’t, well, shabby in the slightest. The tune bounces like a B&Q potted cactus dropped downstairs from a great height. Needless to say it’s spiky (mainly the bass) and prickly (a combination of bright cymbals from Duncan Farmer and Walton’s fizzing Fender Jaguar).
Flashback! — Duncan reminds me of Murph, the long serving Dinosaur Jr. stickman. If you’ve seen Dinosaur Jr. live you’ll get it. Note: Richard Harrison (bass) was in danger of pulling a hamstring last week. I can attest to witnessing a kick Pete Townsend would have been either scared of or proud of. Also.. Adam Walton ended the gig on his knees and then his back working a chaotic alchemy with his axe — End of flashback!
There’s an unabashed dad-rock element to The Immediate that should be heartily embraced, especially taking into account the LP’s second track ‘On Snail Patrol Again’ where Walton’s deep, familiar, comforting, radio-honed voice recites a quietly heart-breaking little poem. I’d put money on the poem being dedicated to his daughter about the aftermath of divorce. The song itself is sung tenderly, the vocals sitting just behind the music until around 3:00 minutes in where harmonies erupt and drums cascade in an end-of-summer high school vibe. “Whhhoooooaaaaahh!!” Indeed gentlemen.
Phasers (the pedal type) are set to full charge here. Especially on soaring highlights ‘Sodium’ and ‘Hold On’ which stood out like the man NOT holding a cup of ether at a Grateful Dead gig during the live set a week ago! I feel myself comparing these guys, who “originally split in 1997 due to frustration, an argument over a mouth organ and the success of Stereophonics…” to The Pixies (on ‘What’s The Matter Kevin Jones?’ especially), The Jam, and Wire. There are elements of Throwing Muses and early Manics, even the Goo Goo Dolls at their most primal (yet emotive). Dare I say it? There’s even a brush of Scott Walker meets Sun Kil Moon on closing track ‘Postcards’ with it’s sweet classical-style guitar sitting in stark contrast to the other twelve tracks.
It bears mentioning that The Immediate are veterans of an industry that regularly chews up and spits out the nice guys. They toured with the likes of Mansun, Dodgy and the 60ft Dolls in their heyday, but alas were not destined for the bigger leagues.
The rain has stopped now in Bethesda and the wind is busy shifting banked-up storm clouds into the Ogwen valley. Things are brightening up. It reminds me that sometimes it’s what happens AFTER the storm that really counts.
This is honest power pop.
The good guys don’t always finish last.