Steve Conte @ HMV Institute, 9th December 2010

The first of tonight’s three bands are local band Black Bombers. They immediately gain the attention
of the audience, who are shivering in the dizzy heights of The Temple Bar. Black Bombers consists
of musicians from other well known local bands such as Gunfire Dance and Bride Just Died, and
it is obvious from the start that they are a tight musical unit that mean business. If you had to
categorise them, they are definitely in the garage punk camp; however, there are other qualities
and influences that shine through. Vocally, Kev brings a gothic element, slightly reminiscent of Dave
Vanian, which makes me feel that songs such as Fool’s Paradise would be fit perfectly into a B movie.
Throughout the set, the rhythm section cause your body to move, noticeably all the audience are
tapping their feet in appreciation. Black Bombers are well worth seeing as they all demonstrate an
obvious passion for music and playing live, which is more than you get with some signed bands, and,
furthermore, they are bloody good.

Next band to take to the stage are Melodramas. The riff of the first song is far too similar to a
Razorlight track which raises an air of uncertainty in my mind which fails to leave throughout their
set. Melodramas are clearly a well rehearsed and eager group of musicians who are incredibly
comfortable on stage, and despite a distant crowd they continue to wholeheartedly commit to the
show. Each track is too clean and shiny for my liking, they are missing the grit and dirt which draws
me in, however, for those who appreciate a polished, heavier indie sound then Melodramas would
be well up your street.

Steve Conte minus the Crazy Truth take to the stage a lot later than expected due to the coldness of
the venue, and the sound produced has the volume of a four piece not a trio. Conte is undeniably a
very talented guitarist, having played with a wide range of artists spanning a vast selection of genres.
Most noticeably he is known for being the guitarist with the New York Dolls. He thrashes out tracks
from his latest album starting with This Is the End which encapsulates garage rock with a healthy
topping of sleaze, easily winning the crowd over. A few songs in, Conte turns his attention to a cover
of The Stones’ Happy which is perfectly acceptable, and he raises the question “Who the fuck is
Mick Jagger?” Unfortunately, due to the very late start, I am unable to stay for the whole set which
I understand remained at a high level throughout. However, I am surprised at the poor turnout for
such a cult musician, especially as the majority of the audience were there courtesy of the Black
Bombers, it does call to question why the profile of such a gig in Birmingham was not elevated and
pushed further.

Review – Toni Woodward

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