The Young Knives + Just Morale + Old Ricoh @ The Kasbah, Coventry – 3rd April 2009


Pigeon-holed as Geek Rock, criticised for being too serious, whilst at the same time being too eccentric, Young Knives never seem to get the plaudits that they deserve. For the average NME pundit they are a set of awkward customers, steeped in tweedy Englishness combined with being a bit too well-spoken and a having a look that’s not too MTV friendly. They don’t fit the model.

A sarcastic “Coventry — a dream fulfilled” and “I like Birmingham better than Coventry, better shops, better beer, better art galleries…” were the band’s greeting for the venue, for some a risky strategy but for them it is what their fans want. Their quirky, maybe even arch mannerisms attract people to the band but at the same time make them difficult to pin down.

OK – so Henry is not really a rock ‘n’ roll name unless it’s followed by Rollins, The House of Lords looks more and more like a young Ronnie Barker and no-one would recognise the drummer Oliver in the street, but The Young Knives should be filling venues much bigger then the Left Wing at the Kasbah.

The place is a far cry from the days of Dick and Ginger and the Tic Toc comedy club, and the Colosseum is now forgotten with the last eighteen months seeing the Kasbah re-establish the building as a prime venue. The Left Wing is small and compact with a low ceiling which becomes much lower for the bands with the addition of the stage. The audience are almost on top of the performers and this combination gives the venue a real club feel.

Local support bands Old Ricoh and Just Morale took advantage of this with their separate groups of supporters crowding the front of the stage.

Just Morale
Old Ricoh

Crispian Mills look-a-like and lead singer Matt is the focal point for Old Ricoh‘s indie-punk with songs like “Street lights” and “Stay True” laced with all sorts of influences from The Jam to Kasabian. Just Morale are also on the way up, at least judging by the fact that Bedworth must have been emptied of its female teen population — they all seemed to be here! They were treated to a mixed set with highlights “Traffic Lights” and “Last Chance” overpowering the rest of their material. Both bands raised the temperature and energy levels for the main event which took a while to appear due to some technical niggles.


When they eventually took to the the stage Young Knives’ choice of venue became apparent with their stated aim of airing new material whilst “trying to write a new album”; and therein may lie a dilemma. The opening “Terra Firma”, and later “I can hardly see them” and “Up all night” from their second full length album “Superabundance”, contrast with their earlier material such as “The Decision”, “Weekends and Bleak Days (Hot Summer)” and the standard “Here Comes the Rumour Mill”. The original quirky indie-pop developed into darker, less accessible songs by the the time of the second album. In my opinion a far superior approach, but one that was not received with universal acclaim.

So the new material seems a mixture of the two with “Piles of Stone” and “Love My Name” standing out. The guys got into it very quickly and by “Loughborough Suicide” the jackets were off and the sweat was on. By the time the crowd had got into it the stage area was hot and airless but that didn’t stop anyone getting stuck in on either side of the barrier.


The comedy moments were there — Henry engaging in a bit of crowd control by asking a very loud woman on the barrier to meet him afterwards for a one-to-one conversation in the Old Cathedral if that’s what she wanted. This brought an “It’ll all be about him” comment from House, and Henry agreeing that indeed it would. House then asked some bloke to kindly stop fondling his girlfriend’s breasts at the front of the stage with obvious distaste – “eew-we can see that”. It may even have been the same woman!

The set rose to a crescendo with “The Rumour Mill” and Current of the River” and they returned for a brief encore “your little treat as a reward for listening to the new stuff” with “Weekends…” and ending with “She’s Attracted To..”.


Bands always seem a bit apologetic when playing new material, as were Young Knives, but tonight it wasn’t justified. The combination of the old and new went down very well with the new songs standing up and I hope the new album arrives soon with a bigger tour to follow.

Set list:

Terra Firma
The Decision
Piles of Stone
Hardly see them
Love my name
Loughborough suicide
Up all night
Boarding houses
Tremblings of trails
Everything falls into place
Here Comes the Rumour Mill
Current of the river
Weekends and Bleak Days (Hot Summer)
She’s attracted to

Review- Ian Gelling

Photos – Steph Colledge

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