Shoe! – Kingston Peel

By paul

SHOE!, Dave 13, Archie, Steve Stiffman Live @ Cavern 11/11/2003

God bless the Cavern. A death of even remotely half decent gigs in recent times means that I’ve not descended into this neat little club for quite a while, and I’ve really missed the place. Two acoustic soloists and a couple of pepped up poppy punk bands make for a pretty swell line up too on this barren November night.

First up is an unknown quantity in the frail looking figure of New Yorker STEVE SHIFFMAN. Alone on stage Stiffman rattles through a set of smart, slick acoustic rock which lies half way between Bob Dylan and Damien Rice. I’m a stickler for this most human of deliveries and Steve gets a thumbs up for his witty yet vulnerable performance.

ARCHIE AND THE INSTINCTS apparently come from the Guildford area, but it must be Guildford in a parallel universe, because I aint seen em at any of the shows up that way. A three piece pedalling doe eyed power pop in the vein of Saves the Day, Archie’s card sees them apparently riveted to the Cavern boards. Come on guys, I know it’s hard to move about when playing happy songs with sad lyrics, but you could at least make an effort to rock out. Pretty tunes, but It’ll take more than an XFM unsigned competition to win me over.

For a band whose name implies good fortune, LUCKY THIRTEEN have had more than their fair share of calamities. A wrist injury to sticksman Chris sustained while skateboarding scuppered this week’s mini tour, which means frontman Das House is having to improvise and play and unplugged solo set at the shows this week. And what a revelation Das is. He might strike you as a quiet, reseved type in person but up on stage the dude rocks like a mineral collection.Splitting his short set half and half between Lucky Thirteen songs and someexcellently judged covers (Weakerthans and Cure material is always gonna hit the spot) the guitarist raises smiles right up and down the room.

SHOE! are probably the shortest band in Britain. The front line of this Exeter crew could be extras in Charlie and the Chocolate factory and ping around the Cavern stage like teeth in an empty skull. Energetic, amped up punk rock in the vein of The Broadways meets Lemonheads is the order of the day, and Shoe! deliver a killer platter of it. Maybe they don’t have the best vocal presence around, but Shoe! make up for this in other areas. I’m not shitting you here, these guys might just be the best straight up punk rock band South of London, and it’s an uncommon, genuine enjoyment of performing that shines though tonight above anything else.

Jim Kearse