The Men, Being Jo Francis, The Temps: The Kazimier, Liverpool


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WARNING. Resident Getintothis snark Jon Davies is back – and he’s not happy, not happy at all.

It’s long gone February; you would have thought the Liverpool music scene gig goers would have shaken off their winter jackets ready for a spot of hard-hitting garage rock from one of Brooklyn’s finest.
Where have all the dudes gone? Obviously gone for a pint elsewhere in order to not suffer the support acts.
Having missed Police Squad (we suspect they were a riot… Sorry.), instead Getintothis is treated to The Temps, who have been garnering a fair amount of hype in the city.
Why, we’ve no idea, as the quartet fumbled their way through uninspired Joy Division meets The Cribs, The Editors, The White Lies, The Blokes… dressed in Topman basics.
It’s limp and lame. Joey Wainwright tries his best to pull off Ian Curtis‘ epileptic movements, ending up looking like a lonely dancer in the middle of Le Bateau not entirely convinced he’s convinced himself.
The set ended with a careful knocking over of the mic stand and a nonchalant exit either signifying they themselves knew they weren’t up to task or to display well-rehearsed indifference found in a number of other indie bands.
On the other face of mainstream guitar music comes Being Jo Francis. A trio featuring an unfortunately over-performative frontman, the band recalls the types that found Foals‘ second album clever, and Biffy Clyro acceptable.
With The Temps their indifference was at least partly justified, there was a frosty reception for them, but similarly Being Jo Francis weren’t setting the small crowd alight, but nonetheless had processed the guitar hero stage moves as if he were playing to a stadium chanting their name.
It’s been a while since a band has confounded us as to what is actually happening – what am were we watching, why is this happening?
Why do people think it’s cool to write bland love songs, fuse it with Arctic Monkeys and Snow Patrol ballads then subject us with nu-metal riffs?
All this while the lead guitarist and singer decided to finish their set with aplomb by bombing around the Kazimier like Eddie Van Halen after too many cans of Coke – then to top the lot, seemingly in an attempt to outdo The Temps equipment trashing, they carefully push over the cymbal stands. Thought provoking, indeed.
Thankfully The Men help the night recover. Although due to a variety of reasons beyond them it still felt rather empty. Not least due to the emptiness of the Kazimier floor, a flat sound from the PA and that we still couldn’t shake off the previous hauntings.
Whereas the other bands felt like they were playing at rocking out, The Men have the songs to back it up; onstage they were neither over nor underselling themselves, but it still felt wrong – this quartet should have been somewhere like Mello Mello, Wolstenholme Creative Space, even Static Gallery.
What was lacking was the intimacy you could find on their perfectly mixed record, the sound of vocals overpowering tiny PA systems, the sound of the drums bouncing around a small room, even the trite feel of guitar amps choking with sweat.
Tonight is the kind of show the band would be used to having worked hard for the past decade in their home city; it just didn’t translate well in such a grand setting.
And you’ve got to look at promoters Lazy Genius for this – putting on a show isn’t just about finding any venue, any support for any band, then slapping a £9 door fee.
Promoters need to know what kind of audience they need to cater for and advertise accordingly; there are plenty good psych and garage rock bands within Liverpool better suited to joining the Men.
For me I felt the band was helpless in what should have been a great night yet turned out to be merely mediocre. But we sincerely hope to see them again in the future in better suited conditions.