I didn't know Steph could play bass!

Steph aka Matt Tones, m(atw) bassist

I’ve been wanting to go and see a gig for months now and, after weeks of checking ticketmaster for bands coming to Cambridge with no joy, I decided to be original and go check out a local band last night at the Portland Arms. The crowd were small but the venue was smaller- possibly a double garage sized room- so the atmosphere was friendly and relaxed.

First up was The Hope– a fast, slick and entertaining punk band straight from the Green Day/Sex Pistols mould. The lead singer has a voice that works well with the material and an accent when announcing songs that can only be described as classic punk. While I would go and see this band again if they were performing nearby, I’m not sure if I’ll buy the album as they have a style that needs to be played live and it’s hard to capture this in the studio.

Next came Papa Shango and their dancing gorilla. The band started well and put on a good stage show, but a lack of variety in the music (sex, sex, sex) left me wondering what time it was and they didn’t have the slick performance of The Hope. The highlight of the band was the young guitarist who pulled of some great riffs and gave the music a bit more depth. It might be good to see them again sometime as their stage show would probably do better with a bigger crowd- worth a listen if you see them performing nearby.

The headline act was Me Against The World and the reason for coming along following downloads from their website. The band are influenced by a wide range of great performers (The Wildhearts, Nirvana, Billy Bragg, Pearl Jam & The Police) and the result is a style of their own that I really enjoyed. The performance was slick with all of the members fully involved and even the Muesli joke during a tuning break got a good reception. I’m going to be buying this CD as soon as it comes out- all good music shops from April(ish)- and may try and see them again before they make it into the mainstream as £4 was a bargain.

Originally posted to Spinneyworld 16/02/06 by Duncan