The Victorian English Gentlemens Club / Das Wanderlust – The Social, Nottingham, Wednesday September 20
One of the first hurdles that any ambitious new act must face is the three-quarters empty room. Last night at The Social, this young Cardiff three-piece faced a largely deserted main floor, with a couple of dozen more punters scattered bashfully towards the back of the room. How a band chooses to respond to such a dispiriting turn-out is crucial, and a significant test of their future potential.
In the case of the support act, Das Wanderlust, the answer lay in treating the gig like a cheery warm-up session in front of a bunch of mates. Clearly under-rehearsed, and suffering from the lack of a sound-check due to traffic problems on the Nuthall Road, they jokily confessed to all of this and more, with an appealing self-deprecation that helped to gloss over their deficiencies.
The Victorian English Gentlemens Club took the opposite approach. Fixing us with unnervingly blank, wide-eyed stares, they doggedly trashed away as if this small midweek gig was their most important showcase to date.
The band specialises in jerky art-school indie-rock, mixing British new wave influences (Wire, early XTC) with the stylistic feel of US acts such as The Pixies and The Breeders. Hell, they even have a song called “Cannonball”.
Their twenty-eight minute set eclipsed even their self-titled debut album for brevity. Sadly, the forthcoming single “Impossible Sightings Over Shelton” is destined to win them few new fans. Better by far was the early B-side “My Son Spells Backwards”, which deserves an urgent re-promotion.