Talking Heads, Southampton
After a vexed past, The Talking Heads put aside previous memories of the venue’s misfortune and financial struggles to make way for arguably the juiciest lineup the venue has seen in a while. The ever popular Wheatus are back with previous tour buddy MC Lars to make sure their reputations as established UK touring acts remain intact. It is worth mentioning that when this venue is packed out, it is an amazing sight; we should make sure this happens more often!
Opening to a gradually filling venue is the windswept Corn Mo, a Brooklyn based act who starts off as just a man and a piano. His quirky vibes suit the lineup, as each intricate piano riff and soaring high note echoes sounds similar to the world renowned Meat Loaf. There are surprises still to come as he leaps out of his throne to strap himself to an accordion and blasts the unique instrument alongside a backing track, as well as smashing an upside down cymbal using a shoe which has a drum stick attached to the end of it. This is no ordinary act, and his charming instrumental story telling between songs meant there was a warming, comical feel to his set, similar to the styles of Tenacious D.
Sadly, Math The Band (who I have been told are a one of a kind powerhouse) had to pull out of the final dates of the tour due to personal reasons, nevertheless, local act Bad Belly strolls on stage to perform a single spoken word piece while MC Lars is setting up. Sadly, the crowd seem happier to see him leave the stage but that can only be due to Lars walking onstage before he performed, which led to an increasing number of obvious hardcore Lars fans gathering at the front. Lars is definitely one of a kind; his genre of “post punk laptop rap” stems from the simple formula of one man, one laptop and a projector (and in this case the bassist from Wheatus too). As he raps along to his hilarious instrumental videos, the hardcores make themselves known and the endless intelligent samples see even the first timers join in. Since seeing Lars in Poole a few years ago, I can say from firsthand experience that his confidence, performance and material is maturing at a rate which says a lot. He has opened for Snoop Dogg, met Weird Al Yankovic and can pretty much coincide with almost every surrounding genre he crosses paths with. I think it’s safe to say that MC Lars will be around for years and years to come.
As a sweaty mass of people attempt to cool down following Lars’ set, Wheatus make their way on stage and appear to have not sound checked as they have to run through the final chorus of “Teenage Dirtbag” to check the levels, which was pretty unusual. Their levels seem slightly off, but nevertheless they break out into their easy going pop anthems. My brother happened to see them at Mr Kyps in Poole the previous year and felt that the level problems gave them no justice. Their hardcores didn’t seem to mind as the majority of the front of the venue sang along to songs like “Wannabe Gangster” and “A Little Respect”. The obvious moment everyone had been waiting for was smash hit, “Teenage Dirtbag” which was made evident by the blatant divide in the crowdís reactions for each song. It was especially pleasing for some of the crowd to see MC Lars joining in for a verse. Wheatus are a prime example of an experienced, polished and versatile band, as faces young and old could unite to sing along to the unmistakably catchy finishing song. They may be trapped by their biggest hit, but their diehard fans will keep their spirits going; Wheatus are here to stay.
Wheatus Set List
Dynomite Satchel Of Pain
A Little Respect
Hump’em N’ Dump’em
My Name Is Jonas (Weezer Cover)
The Story Of The Eggs
More videos from this gig can be found on our YouTube Channel here.
Pictures and Videos By Dave Chinery (Chinners).
Review By George Fullerton.