The Maple State – Scunthorpe Lincoln Imp

By paul

Ahh, The Lincoln Imp. Scunthorpe’s premier location for touring bands. A statement, admittedly of my own, which says a lot of things about the place and about Scunthorpe, depending on which way you look at it. Ho-hum.

Anyway, things get going and KNEEHIGH are the first band up. Now, oddly, I’ve only seen them live once before when they supported Fastlane in Sheffield about 18 months ago. A performance which was, well, gash. Since then, though, it is obvious that their live act has been seriously, seriously polished. Tonight was an absolute demonstration on how to do pop-emo-indie-type stuff in a small setting. Greg is engaging, almost note-perfect (a feat of some enormity when you hear the heights he reaches and the ranges he extends across) and generally fantastic in his role. ‘Speechless’ is recognised by a couple of people in the crowd, probably due to this being their fourth (?) time in Scunthorpe, but the reception they were given on finishing was deserved. One of the best small venue performances I’ve seen in a while. (9)

Next up are HEY, CAESAR! Local boys Steve & co. have a massively tall order to follow and they fall well short. Drums are adequate but completely backgrounded and guitar work is competent, but the keys make them sound like a Maple State tribute band. And then the vocals. Oh my lord. Someone needs to tell their frontman that he simply cannot sing. He somehow managed to make a poppy keyboard sound sound like a [Spunge] song. One song midway through sounded alright, but that was certainly due to the fact that the vocals didn’t kick in for about 40 seconds. (3)

CHASER take to the stage to a fairly re-filled room, and waste no time in getting the local drunks dancing. The Paul Savage Laptop Curse? reared its head again, meaning that there was a delay after the opening song, but this was quickly forgotten as the swirling sounds of indie-dance-joy pumped out. Most of the mini album was played and a new song was also demoed which seemed to go down very, very well; a distinctly more indie-pop vibe was evident, but it was certainly catchy. Tonight was a very solid performance, and improved from when I last saw them in March. The number of Is to dot and Ts to cross has diminished and these guys are developing into an accomplished live act. There are still one or two left, but they?re lessening all the time and tonight was demonstrative of their progress. (8)

At first I thought THE MAPLE STATE had turned into Kiss as the small stage become enveloped in a huge cloud of smoke, but I think it turned out someone just fucked up with the timings on it. And, to be honest, it was a start that set the tone for their set. Keyboard problems persisted, and Greg had a sore throat which was obviously causing him some discomfort by the end. I?ve seen these guys do a lot better than this, but that was to be expected after such problems. Still, the crowd enjoyed the usuals from ‘At Least Until We?ve Settled In’. (7)

As the night wore on, it served to highlight a massive problem with Scunthorpe, and the people who attend gigs there: they have absolutely no idea of how to behave. I know that gigs in small towns often turn into a semi crŠche populated by school and college kids getting drunk on half a shandy, but this was almost a joke at times. It was embarrassing, to be honest, but nevermind. Some people will never lose the small town mentality.