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Sheding Festival – The Wondersmiths

March 26, 2012

Nothing could have prepared me for what I witnessed on Saturday night at The Watershed – day/night II of The Sheding Festival – celebrating their first birthday. Dave (guitarist and backing vocals) took his trousers off mid-set and played in his boxer shorts. OK, it was hot upstairs at The ‘Shed and at least he announced he was going to do it. I mean, it would have been a whole lot stranger if he’d just whipped them off without saying anything. That way, we might have worried that this was going to become a theme for the evening, Dave in ever-decreasing states of undress until he was just there with nothing more than a Fender Stratocaster preserving his dignity. Thankfully, this wasn’t the case and besides, Chris [lead vocals and trumpet] wore his trousers in la mode du jour whereby his pants were proudly on display for the entire night.

The Wondersmiths
The man on the left may, or may not be wearing trousers.

Anyway, enough of undercrackers, The Wondersmiths have just as much substance as style. Young they may be, but they certainly aren’t wet behind the ears. Their particular brand of indie showcases a lyrical maturity and musical ability that bands work years on developing. Supporting acts such as Bloc Party, Kasabian and The Maccabees has surely fine-tuned their education and yet they are still to release their first album. If this set was anything to go by, when it arrives, it’s going to be worth the wait. Ollie [drums] and Alex [bass] make up the quartet and lay down solid foundations as a rhythm section which has an easy relationship with Dave’s semi-naked guitar. By that I mean that his playing is skilful, delivering crisp, infectious and sometimes frenetic chord patterns and riffs that rely on his latent talent rather than effects pedals. He is obviously comfortable on stage and his harmonising vocals always add depth to the songs rather than just clutter. Chris takes every possible opportunity to interact with the audience and appears to be a confident showman. It’s an ants-in-the-pants kind of set, one that you’d have to be catatonic not to find yourself moving along to in some way or other. Shoegaze it’s not. The Wondersmiths’ sound is their own. It’s vibrant and energetic with just enough piquancy to make your palate tingle without totally assaulting your tastebuds. Like a Madras instead of a Vindaloo.

Stand still Chris #ffs

Here’s the proof that I enjoyed it. You see, if I was driving along and Ke$ha came on the radio, I would have to summon every single ounce of strength in my body NOT to deliberately crash the car into a wall at 80mph to make the noise stop. Even typing her stupid, puerile name has given me a sudden urge to throw the laptop at the cat. Yet when the boys broke into TiK ToK , I thoroughly enjoyed it. Of course it had a grungier feel than that of the plastic princess of piss-poor pop’s and The Wondersmiths worked the same magic on Jessie J’s Price Tag, which I find equally repellent. If there has been a song with a more disingenuous lyric than that over the past 20, I’ll be gobsmacked. (Please leave suggestions in the ‘Comments Box’ below if you have any other contenders.)

The set ended with the anthemic I Know You Better, with its ‘Ba da da da’ sing-a-long outro. Chris and Dave have already experienced an audience singing it in the bar half an hour after one of the gigs they supported. All of which goes to show that here’s a young band going places. Check them out and, if you can, hop on board for some, part or all of the journey. It ought to be an adventure. I have no doubt it’ll be full of laughs.



From → devilsaardvark, Music

  1. Rebecca Papp permalink

    Disingenuous lyric competition entry “You don’t know you’re beautiful” One Direction…

    Of course she knows it stupid! She is merely looking at the ground to avoid eye contact…

    P.S. Whats the prize Jim?

    • devilsaardvark permalink

      One Direction? Yes as long as it’s opposite to the one in which I’m headed!
      Have to get verification from the adjudication panel as I remain ignorant in matters of “Proof of 1D Required”‘s lyrics.
      Prize will be an all-inclusive, expenses paid weekend the exclusive island of Canvey with Gary Glitter (subject to eligibility, terms and conditions apply).

  2. Rebecca Papp permalink

    “I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing (in perfect harmony)” The New Seekers

    Really?!! All of the World?!

    I am enjoying this one…

    • devilsaardvark permalink

      Sorry, but that was a genuinely heartfelt lyric. In fact the full original title included the subheading. ‘Especially the tone deaf racists, rapists, murderers, terrorists, paedophiles, dictators and George Formby,’ in brackets.

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