|Tubelord - banana loving geek chic rock
Well folks, tonight the X Factor rides into town: thousands of hopeful starlets converging on NG1, sights fixed on tickling Mr Cowell’s fancy and scooping the glittering prize of, erm, The Christmas Number Two spot behind a Facebook powered re-release from the 90’s agit-rockcanon.
Across the square at The Chameleon, meanwhile, and with rather less fanfare (and much, much less emotional incontinence one hopes) a fourpiece Prog-Pop outfit from South-West London have made the trip up too, promising an altogether more interesting distraction from the musical gloop being poured out and pored over down at the arena.
Things get off to a rather inauspicious start. Tubelord’s lead vocalist and guitar maverick Joe Prendergast shuffles dopily onto the stage with his mates in tow and plugs in. Attired somewhere between ‘straight out of school’ and ‘just out of bed’, he exudes Geek Chic from every pore. Now, as an entrance, it’s not exactly strobes and lasers and Carmina Burana, I’ll grant you. But within a matter of seconds, his searching, intelligent eyes flash out from under an un-tameable blond fringe, and the band gets counted in.
On stage, the band’s considerable musical aptitude work the songs into a magnificent sonic carnival of syncopated anthems. Many, such as Stacey’s Left Arm, feature breakdowns so creamily sumptuous you could use them to decorate a birthday cake. He Awoke On A Beach in Abergavenny and Propeller are also both projected with their full reach of dynamics: switching from their beginnings as laugh-it-up, piss-it-up-the-wall indie rock tracks into a lo-fi hazy collapse and back again.
The coda of the latter seeming even to get jammed on top gear, sending the whole thing cart-wheeling off downstairs, out through the window and down onto the street below. It’s a delightful, uproarious noise; the band interacting with jazz-like precision. For the crowd at The Chameleon, performance of such disjunctive guitar clatter set beside refrains of hushed, heart-aching beauty will always exhilarate and exhaust in equal measure. So as each song pulls up to a halt, the audience doesn’t so much breathe a sigh of appreciative relief as take one huge collective lug of Ventolin before setting themselves up for the next number. Could we really say that of a Joe Mcelderry gig?
So then, Tubelord as the next big thing? Well who’s to know. But for now at least, they’re definitely in the running for the Christmas Number Two.
Tubelord played at The Chameleon on Tuesday 2 March 2010.
Tubelord on MySpace