Neil Condron

10:21 24th November 2005
Tonight is the second night of Liverpool Music Week 2005, and while the best of what the city has to offer in retro rock ’n’ roll is the order of the day at Tea Factory, a stranger brew is being served up over at Barfly. Sets from The Bendal Interlude, Day With Mary and a.P.A.t.T amongst others have attracted both the fanatical and the curious on a night that showcases the variety in Liverpool’s rock and metal scene.
Fleeing the expensive bar prices and familiar faces at the Tea Factory, Gigwise arrives just in time for Honey Records’ Multi Purpose Chemical: a motley crew assembled from the furthest reaches of the planet (as far as America and Scotland), whose joc(k)ular approach before launching into ‘Death For Sale’ does rub a few of the crowd up the wrong way.  Nevertheless, their sense of humour soon wins over the hecklers, with the band oozing a self-assuredness up there that probably owes a lot to an alleged spell in the same drama school that produced Orlando Bloom.  Their cheekiness spills over into their music, with interludes of the pacifist’s disco anthem ‘War’ and The Proclaimers’ anti-public transport statement ’I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)’ breaking up their wrenched-tight sports metal chug.  And when they blast into a track concerning “hairy hobbit hands” – an anxiety-fuelling ‘exploration’ of the link between hand and penis size – there isn’t anybody in the room who isn’t laughing (nervously or otherwise).  Heavy, hairy-handed and hilarious.
The Most Terrifying Thing could be forgiven for being nervous about following such an entertaining set, but given the excessively late time they are to take to the stage combined with the excessively early time that Chris Price and co. took to the bottle, nerves are well and truly banished.  And then of course there are the little matters of belief, quality and killer tunes: these all help.  Playing a set picked from their album ‘Victoriana’, TMTT burst the bubble of bonhomie floating around the room with icy opener ‘Programmed’.  Like bands such as The Vines and Nine Black Alps, they take grunge and American alternative rock as a musical blueprint, but there’s no faux-yank posturing here – indeed, songs such as ‘Eighties Love Affair’ (“about discos”, Chris explains) and ‘Blackpool’ could only have been hewn from the rough stone of a northern upbringing.  There’s something here for emo fans too – the chunkier riffs of ‘Silent Type’ could please followers of the likes of Jimmy Eat World – but really TMTT, masterly as they are with melody and dynamics, should prick the ears of anybody who likes their pop served with a shot of venom.  A potent mix indeed.