Live at The Cluny, Newcastle
Photo: Adam Millard An evening of dreamy jangly pop awaited this Newcastle audience as two promising purveyors of this new-new wave took the stage. First up, Fear Of Mean, a Brighton 4 piece who do the jangly dream pop thing with some aplomb. Weirdly, it comes across as being on the sleepier side of the spectrum, despite their almost relentlessly upbeat performance. They certainly look the part too, especially singer Jess Weiss who seems totally at ease up front. Their set could be spruced up with a bit more variety and as such it was hard to pick out a high point, but the songs have definite promise. Veronica Falls are touring on the back of their wonderful (and occasionally underrated) second album Waiting for Something to Happen. We all know that in certain circles, each coming year heralds the “the death of guitar music”, and we all know that its generally bollocks. But its hard to argue against the fact that there aren't many guitar bands making great guitar pop, of the variety that people might still want to listen to ten years from now. For me, Veronica Falls are way ahead of the crowd in this respect. They open tonight with a quick-fire double of “Tell Me” and “Waiting For Something To Happen”, the crowd love it, which is lucky because we’re about to get a whole lot more off the new record. “If You Still Want Me” and “Shooting Star” seem to mix up the best bits of Lush, Elastica, The Bangles and Haircut 100 but they are all eclipsed by latest single "Teenage" which is the most perfect slice of pop I've heard quite some time. It’s one of those songs that sounds like it must be a cover version with its melodic timeless qualities, but I've checked and I can’t find any traces of blatant plagiarism, so I'll just have to concede that its a fucking ace track. Played live these songs gain a new dimension, the imagery seems more vivid and the energy is tiptop throughout, helped along by an animated performance by the band, especially their cool frontwoman Roxanne Clifford. I should add that guitarist James Hoare was also a revelation, which is to say that his role in the band is more front and center tonight compared to on record where the production seems to place him firmly in the background (to the point where I believed Veronica Falls to be an all-girl outfit when in fact its half and half, Patrick Doyle and Marion Herbain being the other key ingredients). This is summer music really, but I'm guessing that Bella Union couldn't wait to get the LP out, hence its February release, but summer’s loss is our gain and even the songs with darker subject matter like “Buried Alive” bounce along nicely. A thoroughly absorbing live show.