Last night, Mr Trellis, my sister, her boyfriend and I went to see my brothers’ new band, The Experts, at a place called the Mixing Tin in Leeds. The Mixing Tin (I hope you get the pun quicker than I did) is a little basement bar next to the Virgin Megastore, underneath BhS, non-locals. I haven’t been to a pub, let alone an indie-flavoured nightclub, for some time and I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would the young people be dressed wackily? Would the toilets be abominable?
The scene doesn’t seem to be any different from what it was 5 years ago, when I last ventured into such a place. I was immediately reminded of why I have tinnitus – the music (nothing from after 1995) was so loud that we had to bellow at one another, and shouting in someone’s ear is a Very Bad Thing. I noticed that the place was thick with cigarette smoke, and when we got home we reeked of the stuff. Smokers can’t appreciate how vile the pong is, because their habit ruins their sense of smell. May I assure any smokers reading this that they smell horrible, have yellow fingernails and because they have the munged logic of an addict, are unqualified to hold an opinion on the proposed smoking in public laws.
The band came on, and we went down the front to be with the young people. They all seemed quite nice, but the midriff-baring tops worn by some of the girls reminded me of a recent study showing that women are moving away from a pear shape to what’s called an “apple” shape, i.e. with a beer belly. Steer clear of the Bacardi Breezers, girls. Apart from that, I could have been in any indie bar from about 1991 to the present day. Mind you, they did all look terribly young. I’ve been told that being scruffy is the best way to look younger than your age, and I follow this advice almost religiously. I hope I fitted in.
My youngest brother fronted the group, playing one of his many beautiful guitars. My other brother was on drums, and one of their friends was in charge of the bass – a traditional power trio. Dressed in identical black shirts, it was clear that their many years of playing in various, co-dependent bands has taught them that they must offer the public something a little different from usual. They blasted out a set of melodic yet grungy tunes, backed up with some remarkable guitar solos and complex drumbeats. There was more than a hint of the Pixies in a couple of their songs, something that needs to be encouraged in this age of interchangeable, bland, vegan Codplayalike yoga-indie.
Master Trellis the younger is a far more enigmatic frontman than the tedious and very ugly Chris Martin, preferring to gaze to the side of the stage or at the array of pedals by his shoes than the audience. Despite this, however, the whole bar abandoned their yelled conversations and gathered in front of The Experts by the second song. This is a good sign – I’ve been to concerts by quite big names where the performance was so ignorable that my friends and I hung around at the back, chatting, despite having paid to get in.
My only complaint was about the mix – the vocals were lost in a haze of unintentional distortion and the poor-quality speakers were dominated by fuzz and the bass, letting through hardly any treble. I couldn’t stay in front of the speakers for very long as my ears began reminding me why I am now permanently accompanied by a wHHOOOmmPPPP, wHHOOOmmPPPP noise. Next time, I will bring earplugs like a sensible person.
I remember that my father used to foist earplugs on me when I went to gigs. Hah, Grandad, I said to myself, don’t be so square. Loud music is cool. Indeed, it is cool. It will also cause permanent hearing damage and by the time you realise you’ve fscked your ears, it’s too late to do anything about it.
I look forward to hearing The Experts again, properly.