Portland Arms, Cambridge 1/10/13

I feel like I have sold my soul to the devil. I have been AWOL from my life since starting my latest job. So this gig is principally an exercise in getting my life back. Pint in hand. Cruel and judgmental personality still intact. It’s just like old times, except the Portland Arms now has a proper band room (yes, that’s really how long it’s been since I’ve written a live review in Cambridge).

And, as I arrive, Mining For Gold are already on stage. I learn later that they are a local trio, students in this fair city. So it’s justified that my first thought is that they’re a bit ropey and look a bit scared, because, er, they probably are. Apart from the lead singer who’s doing a lot of posturing, the rest of the band takes a while to warm up though they do become more animated as the set progresses. I still don’t remember much about their music. They play guitar rock, nothing more, nothing less. Three men and their instruments, playing them. The end.

Whereas Blisseyes are far more camp and a whole lot more pretentious. They seem to want to look awkward, even if they don’t feel it. Musically sounding like something out of Ian Curtis’ failed audition for X Factor, the singer wails in slow motion and glances to the ceiling as if to say ‘why me?’ Why me, indeed. But seriously, this quartet (again from the regional talent bank) call themselves artpop, which I gather is interpreted as ‘heavy on the reverb’, and play music so scene, I was just waiting to shout ‘cut!’ They sound better on record (well done, Matty Moon) but when they start chanting ‘nobody’s going to save you’, I decide to leg it. The guitarist’s hair was also fairly offensive. I’m sorry. That’s just the way it is.

Headline act, Superfood are also super young. To the extent that I feel a bit weird watching them. Though the Midlands-based foursome’s music is wholeheartedly energetic pop, again, their stage show leaves a little to be desired. The bass player looks like a slapped arse, for example. We start thinking that when she turns to face the drummer, leaving us just looking at a sheet of hair, that she is manically grinning before turning back to the audience with a pout. Zzzz. It just seems a bit amateur, despite their presently hyped status. Reminding me a bit of Menswear, I don’t really get the Pavement reference that advertised the gig because Superfood play catchy little ditties with nice little harmonies; I don’t really know what about because I wasn’t, truth be told, that interested after all. In fact, I felt a bit duped because one of their songs sounded like Weezer on record, whereas this is a band that, in reality, hark back to the Britpop era, warts and all. Regardless, they have still been supporting Peace, Drenge and all of the other bands that you should be liking at the moment. I just don’t appreciate it because it’s all been done. There were a number of kids in really bad 80s jumpers afterwards that I just wanted to shake. Am I getting too old for this? Probably.

Anna C