Liverpool Sound City 2009: Remain On, Tantrums: Mello Mello, Liverpool

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Japanese rock & roll transforms Mello Mello. Andy Kelly remains unconvinced.


Thank you, thank you, very thank you.”
Japan’s Remain On don’t speak much English. But everything else the four piece do they do with a smile on their face.
Mello Mello takes the four piece to their heart. First on, there are four men and a dog to see their first few tracks – if there had actually been a dog. Their flyers at the bar describe Remain On as a Japanese rock band. The problem is that they desperately want to be a British rock band.
Lacking the normal idiosyncrasies of their countrymen, they deliver a rather indie-by-numbers opening, one song delivering the familier buzz-saw guitar, the next giving us the chimey one.
The chimey ones are best, but none even come close to delivering anything as good say as Adorable‘s Sunshine Smile from zillions of years ago.
But Scouse hospitality takes over and the Mello Mello crowd aren’t going to let their Japanese friends leave without a proper welcome.
Halfway through the set and the crowd at the front is gathering, going, well, mental. It’s as unexpected as it is rather fantastic.
The band respond, beaming smiles everywhere.
The last few tracks have a small but beautifully formed mosh pit at the front, capped off with a wonderfully executed stage dive, before they demand an unexpected encore.
Nobody must not believe,” says the motif on the back of the band’s T-shirt but despite their triumph tonight, I remain an unbeliever.
Birmingham has much to be proud of – more miles of canal than Venice if you’ve never visited – but I’m afraid the Tantrums are unlikely to add to the list of the Second City’s treasures.
The band have three vocalists at times but none can sing and despite plenty of effort – including the keyboardist using the bassist as a mop by the end – they never stick their heads above the parapet of averageness.
Hope springs with the keyboards, really only used one one track and it’s by far the best, hinting at an M83 style future if they can leave behind the Stereophonics influences they display too often tonight.

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