The Ataris – Leeds Met Uni

By paul

Walking into Leeds Met at around 8pm you’d be forgiven for thinking there was an Andrew WK lookalike contest going ahead on stage in front of you. Sadly it wasn’t a convention for the smelly one, rather PLANES MISTAKEN FOR STARS rocking out as if they hadn’t washed or changed their clothes since they arrived in the UK. I only caught three songs but, due in part to a crap sound, I wasn’t inspired to check them out further. Any dynamics or intracacies were lost with a wall of noise and thudding drums which didn’t inspire. Still, great name for a band…

I missed the majority of CURSIVE too, another strange choice for support, but what I did catch was very impressive indeed. Despite all looking older than my dad – and looking incredibly unhappy at being up on stage – Cursive sounded pretty good. The celloist was a miserable bugger – probably because you couldn’t hear her very well – but there was enough for me to warrant further inspection. Job done.

Now I’m a big ATARIS fan and would class their ‘Blue Skies…’ opus as one of my favourite three records ever, but tonight Kris and his band of merry men were dire. The Ataris are quickly becoming Kris Roe and The Ataris – a band with a frontman and a bunch of other musicians who don’t speak; they just merely stand at the side of the stage and play. Without warning the band have (unnecessarily) added a third guitarist, which serves to do no more than beef up an already polished sound. But whilst the album ‘So Long Astoria‘ sounds great, the band circa 2004 sound like a parody of themselves. The songs are played at half-pace, interspersed with walls of feedbacks and chants of “fuck you” by Mr Roe, and the set list leaves a lot to be desired. ΒΆΕ“11 for 45 mins? No ‘Saddest Song’? No ‘Losing Streak’? No ‘I Won’t Spend Another Night Alone’? No ‘Teenage Riot?’ No ‘Boys of Summer’ even?! The plus points included rare outings of ‘Between You and Me’ and ‘Road Signs and Rock Songs’, with ‘How I Spent My Summer Vacation’ also welcomed. But when Kris introduced ‘1*15*96’ as a “fast song”, and then proceeded to play it slower than on record, you have to wonder what the hell is going on. ‘Eight Of Nine‘ ended the set well, but with no guest guitarist on ‘San Dimas’ alarm bells really do ring. The most ironic part of the night was Kris screaming “stay who you are” during ‘All You Can Ever Learn Is What You Already Know’ – despite having butchered his own songs. Uninspiring and dull, this was almost like a poor Ataris tribute. I’ve seen the band five times now and never, ever thought they were less than fantastic. Tonight they were crap. I just hope for those punters with tickets for the remaining gigs that this was a one off….(5)