Every now and again a local gig (ie. Bedford or Milton Keynes, not London) is announced that I just know is going to be brilliant. That was the case for Tellison and Muncie Girls in my little ol’ town of Bedford. When I first saw the show listed I had only heard of Tellison but, having seen their name on various line-ups in the past with loads of bands that I know and love, I knew it was worth checking them out. Months before the show I listened to their back catalogue and their latest album, Hope Fading Nightly, in particular. I definitely liked what I heard so I know it’d be a great show anyway, but then none other than featured-in-Kerrang-magazine Muncie Girls were announced as main support for the tour also. I was pretty excited.
I always like to arrive in time to see all the bands play, even those that I haven’t heard of before, so I got down to Esquires early enough to see opening act, Wah Wah Club, play. It wasn’t difficult as I only live down the road from the venue! Wah Wah Club are a four-piece alternative rock band from Milton Keynes (my hometown, woo!). I’d not heard of them before but they put on a great performance and were clearly all very skilled musicians. They played a brand of rock music similar to Queens of the Stone Age, or perhaps The White Stripes, with heavy almost grungy guitars. It was the sort of guitar-based music that I really like but don’t really listen to all that much myself. Seen live however, it was right up my street.
Muncie Girls were up next. I have to say it was a little bit surreal to see one of my favourite British punk bands, that I’m used to seeing playing in small London pubs (and more recently the not-so-small Lexington), performing in my town. The band were on top form and played their set with as much passion and energy as if it were a headlining slot. The setlist included several songs from the new album, From Caplan To Belsize, and a number of songs from their previous EPs as well. I’m not sure how many people in the audience had heard of Muncie Girls but I reckon they probably earned a few new fans. Lande also told the audience about her neck injury induced by headbanging too hard to Danzig at a club in Manchester the night before – she called in a bangover. She's got a way with words!
Playing their own kind of sad indie rock, Tellison are not strictly a punk band… but they are a great band, so who cares! Having not seen them before I didn’t really know what to expect from them. If I could sum up their performance in one word it would be energetic, particularly the main vocalist, Stephen (in the red shirt, below), who couldn’t stay still… and made me not want to stay still either. I recognised a lot of songs as being from their latest album, Hope Fading Nightly, but they also played plenty of songs from their previous 2 albums. As I hadn’t listened to the band too much I wasn’t able to sing along much, although plenty of people around me were singing at the top of their voices. Esquires was by no means packed (unfortunately Bedford is probably not somewhere that a band like Tellison, or indeed Muncie Girls, would sell out) but there were clearly a bunch of dedicated fans loving every minute of the show. I liked Tellison on record but I loved them live and I’d definitely be keen to see them again.
I’d like to give a special mention to my new friends Lisa and John who let me hang out with them as I was gigging alone. They’d been to a number of the Tellison tour dates (I think John had been to all of them actually!) and said that the bands kept getting better with every performance. Incidentally, this was the first time that Colin and I have been to two separate gigs on the same night – he was at Jeff Rosenstock, which I’d have liked to have gone to myself but local Tellison and Muncie Girls show won for me. It was an awesome night.