Adrian Cooper has been unwell

Old reviews that are no longer available online, or from sites that no longer exist. The pen is dead, long live the camera.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Starries, Baxxter
Flapper & Firkin, Birmingham

It may be a cliché but there’s no denying that one particular type of musician is always going to turn to out to be the most unreliable and troublesome person in a band, so it’s no surprise that tonight’s gig sees both the loss of Baxxter’s drummer and the continued initiation of the Starries’ new sticksman. Following the rather controversial and possibly unnecessary sacking of Twist’s Lisa Lavery, Baxxter’s very own Kelly Southern finds herself moving on to fill their newly acquired bass shaped whole, leaving Greg Smith and Russ Griffiths out for blood, as they scream and hurl their way through their own nasty brand of grunge, before trashing their guitars and storming off in an alcoholic haze.

Since the equally unexpected departure of the Starries’ Stephen Kelly last year, it seems that a new sense of purpose has fallen upon his former band mates, as they continue to break in replacement drummer Greg Ikin. Recent times have seen the Starries hailed as Birmingham’s champions of rock’n’roll, a vicious edged hardcore band with the self-belief to fuck shit up and make one hell of a racket while the rest of the Midlands was going mod-crazy, a dedication to their calling which left members of the audience limping away with torn ligaments after their comeback show, the damage caused by the crowd’s stage invasion during last year’s Arts Festival still evident.

Maybe it’s just the effects of cheap alcohol that’s left them looking so determined, poised on the edge of the stage, as guitarists Richard Burke and Geordie trade barbed wire riffs and barked vocals, mistreating their voices as much as their instruments, caught up in their own new found resolve, making a mockery of anyone that thought they couldn’t keep going after having lost a founding member. In fact, the change in personnel seems to have been even more beneficial than their tour support with like-minded noiseniks Idlewild ever was. ‘Water Flow’ makes like Hüsker Dü manhandling Imperial Teen’s perfect pop hooks, while the Fierce Panda endorsed ‘Feature 85’ has gained an urgency that it had previously failed to capture.

Following the recent success of American bands like At The Drive-In and Queens Of The Stone Age, it seems that the British public may have finally woken from their Britpop induced slumber and with everything falling back into place so neatly for this particular bunch of inebriated Brummies, local off-licences and promoters should be warned, for the Starries are more than ready to unleash their discordant brand of hardcore havoc on unsuspecting gig goers once again.