The Anvil, Bournemouth


Winter may be on its way but there is no shortage of enthusiasm in this town right now for up and coming bands. Tonight we welcome a band causing a bit of a stir and a local band clearly on the rise. Opening tonight are local “lads” Bird Shoes, who need no introduction. This pairing, although classed as Post/Punk; are frankly out there on their own. Tonight it’s a more stripped back, no bells and whistles affair. They have dispensed with the suits in favour of a more laid back style, and with little fuss open with current single “Rude Boiz”. “Getting On” follows as they hit their stride early. Robin (guitar/vox) dispenses with his leather jacket proclaiming “let’s get rid of this, it’s so Punk Rock”, before launching into “Ha Ha”. Punk or not these guys make an unholy Punky racket. “Door” is becoming a set highlight, as is recent single “Coven”. James (drums) is head down most of the time in concentration, thumping the skins in his effortless manner. “Nightmare” precedes their now staple closer and arguably their finest and most recognised tune “Lads”. For those not in the know it name-checks Danny Dyer. It’s the perfect ending as these guys stock continues to rise. Despite taking the graveyard shift tonight, they still put it all out there – I just hope when they do a mediocre show I’m there to witness it, as unlikely as that may be!

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Night Flowers are up next. This London/Hull quintet play a brand of Lo-Fi/Indie/Shoegaze with seemingly one slow song, followed by a fast song. Immediately I’m taken back to the mid 90’s and memories of Indie under-achievers “Bang Bang Machine”. Sophia’s soft sultry vocal is pleasant enough yet sometimes lost in the wall of sound. Info on this band is in short supply but they have a full, rounded sound that is not unpleasant. They appear to open with an intro instrumental before launching into “No Coming Down”. Sophia plays keys in between vocalising, briefly reminding me of Salad. They literally “Carry On” and “Losing” briefly ups the tempo. It’s more Dream/Pop than Shoegaze, with elements of Pop; but when the wall of sound kicks in they appear most at home. It’s a mish-mash of styles that is anything but “Perfect”, more a work in progress. I head back to the bar after four songs so miss the second half of the set, and am accosted by a local who insists on arguing the merits of bands such as The Fall and Idles! Night Flowers leave me somewhat non-plussed, I do however feel their sound may be suited to a bigger venue.

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And finally a full room welcomes Life. Maz (vox) struts onstage and bellows “Excite Me”, inviting this crowd to retort back – they learn quickly, Maz keeps this up for a full 60 seconds. Once he has our attention, Life launch into their set. Opener “Excite Me” sets out their stall early. Maz then comes across like a demented Ian Curtis with a similar dance style, updated for the current crowd. “Good Health” follows as the band start to really grow in confidence. “In Your Hands” seems somewhat apt with Maz’s hand movements and mannerisms. Stew’s (drums) powerhouse hitting keeps the beat in the engine room but one can’t keep their eyes off Lydia (bass), whose energetic style throughout keeps you guessing what she will do next?! “Half Pint” is an early set highlight as Maz gives (from memory) a back-story of relationship strife. Judging by some of the song titles it would appear lyrical content is focused on that subject matter. “Never Love Again” is great, in fact most of these songs are to a Life “virgin” like myself; but it’s all about the performance. These guys (and gal) leave it all on stage tonight.

“It’s A Con” precedes “Euromillions” as this crowd starts to move around a little, Maz moves to the edge of this tiny stage to join them. “Don’t Give Up Yet” feels like a rallying call, no-one looks like leaving. As is the regular thing at live gigs I’ve attended recently our current incumbent of No.10 gets a mention, and a barrage of boo’s. “Hollow Thing” seems somewhat timely. “Bum Hour” is yet another highlight on this night of infectious Indie/Punk exuberance. At this point Lydia decides it’s her turn to join the pit – she is afforded space to play her bass while swirling around the bodies. Penultimate track “Moral Fibre” precedes set closer “Popular Music”, which on tonight’s evidence seems to be a result.

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Life are a multi-genre band who crossover from Indie to Punk and back again, with smatterings of Pop in between. Their mosh-frenzy songs have an appeal to today’s youth with influences rooted in the past. If you like “The 80’s Matchbox B-Line Disaster” and “The Fall” then this band are for you. Ok; so there’s nothing here I haven’t heard before, but if you’re going to lead the current pack you need that little nugget of difference to make you stand out. In Maz and Lydia one focuses less on the music and more on the performance, not forgetting Mick on guitar and Stew on drums.

Set Lists
Bird Shoes
Rude Boiz
Getting On
Ha Ha
Sods Law

Night Flowers
No Coming Down
Carry On
I’ve Loved You
I Want You

Excites Me
Good Health
In Your Hands
Half Pint Fatherhood
Never Love Again
Grown Up
It’s A Con
Don’t Give Up Yet
Hollow Thing
Bum Hour
Ba Ba Ba
Moral Fibre
Popular Music





Review, Pictures and Videos by Ross A. Ferrone.