Uncle Brian – Scunthorpe Baths Hall

By paul

When I first heard that UNCLE BRIAN were set to support Wheatus on the Yank geek-rock band’s UK tour I was a little intrigued. I wasn’t too sure how it would work at first, but after a little thought it seemed like a good career move – and anyway, a gig is a gig, right? Taking in small towns as part of a warm-up tour for their new record, Wheatus have been attracting strange crowds – kids, punks and old-skool metallers have all shown up, probably not the crowd the Salisbury foursome are used to. But still, it’s an opportunity to win new fans and if the number of autograph seekers at the end are anything to go by, the boys Brian won over a few fans this evening.

Scunthorpe isn’t really known for being a punk rock town. The usual suspects come through on big tours with 4ft Fingers and NoComply recently passing through. But most gigs are filled with the under 16s, some of whom are more bothered about snogging the nearest member of the opposite sex than any band who may be in attendance. And with the clobber of some of the kids in attendance when Uncle Brian hit the stage (ie a mix of Slipknot hoodies, t-shirts and ties and even some scantly clad teens – and yes Timmy, you know who I mean…) it’s pretty indicative of the scene as a whole. Still, Uncle Brian are here for one thing and that’s to rock, and rock they sure do.

The kids are almost impossible to win over. It could have been the most earth shattering amazing band in the world and still some of them would have sat on their arse cradling their Slush Puppies, but for those who venture to the front they are treated to a highly entertaining set. Uncle Brian certainly have a good stage presence, they’re funny guys and there’s interaction galore. Oh, and the songs aren’t bad either. Having ditched the vast majority of the old songs in favour of the new stuff (and that’s because the new stuff is better before anyone suggests any links to that ‘other’ band), the set is mainly based on the power-pop songs that scatter through their latest EP, ‘It Just Seems Right’.

Opening with ’53’ before jumping into the pogotastic ‘Cindy Lou’, the band bounce off each other with Dan and Ben’s vocals working nicely. The sound is tight and well worked as you’d expect it to from a months worth of sharing stages with Bowling For Soup and Simple Plan and John and Steve (“the rythmn section” according to the drummer) are tighter than the arse of a constipated elephant. The more considered ‘Dead To Me‘ is one of my favourite UB songs and tonight it sounds top notch, but obviously single ‘Postcards’ gets the best reaction and slowly but surely the crowd starts to get into it. The track is easily Uncle Brian‘s best moment to date, a song with a shiny, happy chorus that with any luck with be a summer anthem. With a riff and melody that will stick in your head for hours and hours, it has that annoyingly addictive quality all good pop-punk anthems should.

Three new songs are also aired tonight; the more rock influenced ‘Don’t Give Up On Me’ has an awesome opening riff, but it’s ‘Nevermind Today’ which sticks out by a mile. A surefire single, by the end of the first listen it hooks you in with a Ataris style chorus. Cracking stuff. A 40-foot long conga follows the obligatory cover of ‘We’re Going To Ibiza’ and as the song belts out of the PA the kids snake across the venue. From being static during the opening few moments, in the space of 20 minutes the band have 100 kids eating out of the palm of their hand. After half an hour things end with Steve’s bass ringing out the intro to ‘On The Jazz’ and some of the kids go off for one last time.

Uncle Brian won’t be to everyone’s tastes and there’s nothing startlingly new, but what they do they do very, very well indeed. Shedding the ska slightly, they’ve become a lean, mean pop-punk fighting machine and if the new songs are anything to go by their Golf Records debut could propel them into the UK big leagues. Although Scunthorpe wasn’t completely sold, they went from having nobody moving to have a throng of sweaty bodies skanking away in unison. Impressive stuff indeed. (8)



Cindy Lou
Dead To Me
Don’t Give Up On Me
Nevermind Today
We’re Going To Ibiza
Count 210
On The Jazz