Little Comets @ Norwich Arts Centre 17.02.2011

The Newcastle reared rock group Little Comets have had a storied past leading up to the release and subsequent touring of their debut album In Search Of The Elusive Little Comets. From guerrilla gigs in the M&S bakery aisle to being signed and then ceremoniously unsigned by Columbia records just over a year ago, there has nearly always been some form of hype following the band. All of these tenuous anecdotes are rendered irrelevant, however, if the goods can’t be delivered in a live setting, and in this case, it is in front of a surprisingly packed and diversely aged crowd at the Norwich Arts Centre, a venue which, in keeping with the agricultural heritage of the local area, is something of a needle in a haystack itself.

Feb 22nd, 2011 at Norwich Arts Centre / By Matthew Bayfield
Little Comets As with any band where phrases such as “kitchen sink-indie” get thrown about by the music press, alarm bells start to ring that what is to follow will be endless identikit songs about queues down the job centre, scuffles down the chippy and slags called Suzanne. The youthful yet weary looking band (this is the penultimate date of an extensive tour) take to the stage and, hanging above them, is a washing line; roped onto it are percussion instruments ranging from a tambourine to a baking tray & saucepan… The bells. The bells. Are these kitchen utensils a post-modern response to the endless pigeon holes the endless bloggers and music press have become obsessed with placing on any band that sings about everyday Britain? Is that just a pretentious analogy from a man paying too much attention to what everyone else is writing? Either way the drunken crowd flying round the foot of the stage as the band open their set with the bouncy riffs of 'Adultery' don’t seem to give two shits. And after watching a grown man clearly relishing playing a saucepan with a wooden ladle, maybe you shouldn’t either.

From this toe-tapping riff things move at a brisk and joyful pace, skipping through the nettled-tongued lyrics of ‘Darling Alistair’ (complete with a well received splash of onstage Conservative bating) through the impressively eccentric rhythm driven ‘One Night In October’ through to the crystal meth catchy new single ‘Joanna’, which admirably manages to get at least half of the front row removed by the somewhat draconian security (In all fairness it’s a live rock gig people. Not a rurally set 1984.)

With only one album thus far to the bands’ name (Little Comets for those drifting off) the set is fairly brisk at 45 minutes and covers most of the material therein. This proves to be no negative however, as nearly every track carries both a wonderful groove and memorable harmonies, save for the down-tempo domestic abuse tale 'Her Black Eyes' which serves as a wonderfully timed pit stop mid-set for everyone to stop spilling their reasonably priced drinks and actually manage to get them near their reasonably parched lips.

The last track of the evening; the no-nonsense 'Dancing Song' leaves both floors and patrons equally beer stained, but no one is too fussed, as there are probably some kitchen sinks hanging round unused somewhere on the way out of the building after an impressively danceable and rowdy set of tunes. Perhaps the next album should simply be called Drinking Songs, either way the last time mid-price kitchenware made percussive cacophony this exciting was at a somewhat hazy point in the mid nineties, when Pauline was wrapping it round Arthur Fowler’s philandering bonce … You go girl! Adultery indeed.