Meet Me In St Louis – Glasgow SECC Hall 4

By paul

Meet Me In St. Louis (Support: Caesura, Welcome the Tourist)

Venue/Location: The Boiler Room/Guildford

Every now and again a band shows up on the UK toilet circuit that manages to turn a few collective heads and create a bit of a stir. I?d stick my neck on the line and say that it?s probably harder now than ever before to be able to accomplish this without the backing of a major (or at least a very large independent) label shoving money into countless support slots. There?s only one way a band on a normal sized indie label can turn heads on their own these days: They have to be something a bit special, and with a new album just out there?s something of a buzz surrounding Meet me in St. Louis and I was keen to find out if they deserve it.

Opening proceedings tonight were Winchester?s Caesura. They?ve created a few ripples within the south-coast underground scene with their recent debut release ?Dear Light Outside? but have achieved nowhere near the attention they deserve. Now I could easily be accused of bias as I happen to know these guys pretty well, so I?ll hold back from giving them a score and just tell it like it was. As per usual Caesura?s set consists four gradually building post-rock epics. During their set a bass drum pedal breaks, a snare drum brakes and guitar picks are flying out left, right and centre, but within this chaos something just seems to work, and halfway through their set I turn around and the crowd has doubled in size. Some look mesmerised, others slightly confused. I?m left with a smile as I can?t help but feel that if there are some members within the crowd confused by Caesura?s brand of ?Explosions in the Sky? influenced progressive rock then they?re in for a shock when MMISL hit the stage?

I didn?t manage to catch much of the second band on the bill as nicotine withdrawals kicked in and I had to retire to the ?designated smoking area? i.e.: go outside you dirty smoker. Anyhow, I heard their last two songs (of which there were only four) and their raspy concoction of quirky, feverish post-hardcore was surprisingly well crafted for what was apparently their first ever gig. If anyone was there and knows the name of this band then please do get in contact!

One thing that really gets me hot under the proverbial collar (I was wearing a t-shirt) is when a band travels really far (In this case it was Norwich, but it took them 5 hours due to every drivers nightmare: the M25) to play a show for some people they?ve never met, and as they take to the stage the room empties. Welcome the Tourist sound like ?The Maple Compilation? it?s nothing particularly new or stretching and perhaps the billing of the bands tonight was unfair on them as their synth driven pop rock isn?t quite to some of the audience?s taste. Nevertheless by the end of their set they?ve gradually gathered a small crowd together who seem suitably impressed.

Meet me in St Louis have always been a Marmite band. Those that ?get? their obscurely gelled collection of criss-cross genre, technical-as-shit, ?what the hell is happening to my ears? take on prog-metallic-rock will swear blind that they?re the best band since? well ?Yes? or at least ?At the drive-in? (a somewhat lazy and over stated comparison I know.) Others however are left having missed the musical boat by several miles and are left stranded.

It?s midway through MMISL?s set when I look across the front row of the crowd and notice that something strange is happening? everyone?s nodding their heads to the music. Normal enough, but quite exceptionally, and don?t ask me how they?ve managed it, everybody?s nodding completely out of time with one another. This seems to be the effect MMISL?s live show has on people: they?ve temporarily transformed the crowd into a collection of those nodding dogs off the Churchill ads all set off at different times.

Tonight however is a hometown show and despite the somewhat understandable rhythmic difficulties encountered by the audience, nearly everyone present knows what they?re in for and expectantly lap up every song thrown their way by the bucket load. Not everything goes to plan on stage as is often the case with hectic bands playing without stagehands but technical problems aside MMISL provide a highly enjoyable (if not slightly shortened) set of just new album material. ?Eins, Zwei, Drei, Hasselhoff? stands out as set highlight for me and everyone looks disappointed when the promoter, due to time restraints, is forced to tell them ?one more? after just 4 songs. If you haven?t seen MMISL live yet then you?ve missed out on one of Britain?s most promising and entertaining live bands, but fear not, there?s still time. I can?t guarantee that you?ll enjoy their acquired taste of music although I hope you do, and at worst you?ll get to witness a crowd of people that look like they?re partaking in a rainbow rhythms dance class.