The Jericho Tavern, Oxford (UK) 14/1/1999
From : Chris Haynes
Date : 15/1/1999
Suject : (UT) the jericho
first i should introduce myself. i'm chris, probably not the chris you know off the list because i have been on it for about a year now and only posted about three times. anyway i was at the gig last night and thought i'd write you a quick review (though im not much good at it so bear with me). and also nataly will probably kill me if i dont =)
after having had a bit of a late start due to a friend not being able to come
at the last minute, and then traffic most of the way from london to oxford,
i arrived at the jericho about 8:45 (with the help of the ulen's map - thanks).
i got there for the last few songs of the support band whose name i forget,
but who i thought were very good. After a few drinks and finding the newly bearded
ulen snapping away some pics, i waited for ut to start. while waiting i happened
to notice a certain mr and mrs j. greenwood standing behind me, but before long
i was applauding as unbelievable truth took the stage. the stage at the jericho
is rather small, jim was tucked around the corner, and i couldn't see much of
nigel but i thought the atmosphere was good. i think the following is what they
played though it isnt in a particularly accurate order:
finest little space
higer than reason
shed your skin
ciao my shining star
from this height
forget about me
who's to know
i thought they played a great set only slightly spoilt by some of the crowd near the back insisting on talking throughout most of it. i will never underdstand why. i especially enjoyed landslide and ciao... as i had never heard them before. the band didnt say a lot throughout the set, the odd thankyou from andy, and nigel did say that it was good to be back at the jericho, and he was glad that the floor had been mended (not sure about the meaning of that one :). no jokes from nigel this time though he did let go of one of his sticks after they had played solved, which then hit jason on the head, hehe.
after the gig nigel and jason mingled with those remaining, signing autographs and just chatting. i was fortunate to meet some more great ut listees :emily, nick, ulen, ulen's friend (whose name i cant remember, sorry) and stuart, and i know there were a lot more there who i didn't get to meet.
overall a great evening, and another excellent performance from nigel, andy, jason and jim. thanks a lot.
Date : 15/1/1999
Suject : (UT) The Jericho 14th Jan 1999.
So, my first Unbelievable Truth gig is now consigned to history.
So how was that first experience, how did the band perform in their home city and how did they wow their faithful local fans ?
I have had the opportunity over the last two months to hear two groups with one album under their belts, both trying to break into the big time. These were the Devlins supporting Del Amitri and tonight the Unbelievable Truth. How would Oxford's own compare with the trio from Dublin ?
The set started with three songs from their debut album Almost Here. Unfortunately, they were three of the most down-beat, melancholy songs on the album and failed to capture my interest and sadly that of many of the audience. So after three songs I was looking at my watch to see when I would be released from this misery, looking around to see if I was the only unimpressed person in the audience.
True, the sound was enhanced by the addition of an extra guitarist come keyboard player and extra punchyness inserted into some of the songs, however this only served to emphasize how slow and depressing many parts of their songs are. The lead singer, for the most part looked indifferent, with wry smiles only appearing when flaws appeared in his own guitar playing. His voice was dull and very, very ordinary.
There was one brief moment of light in the dark, when the band played Settle Down, a tune almost of a different style to the band's other works. Perhaps it was written in a far away exotic and dynamic place, while the others by comparison were written in the shadow of the dreary reality of Didcot's smoke stack and cooling towers !
Other songs were played that I didn't recognise from the first album. Yet again the band failed to deliver. The songs were totally mundane and forgettable, so forgettable in fact that I have nothing more to say about them, except that I hope for the band's sake that these do not reflect the quality of their next album !!
I noticed the band's manager at times enthusiastically moving to the music. Music that he has obviously become very familiar with, and probably very comfortable with. Perhaps he should take a step back, stop reflecting in the glory of his boys being on stage and look deeper into their music and its general appeal (or lack of it), and giving the band a new direction. If I were him I would be very worried that the band were unable to capture and hold the attention of many members of the audience, something that good performers should be able to do with ease (particularly at home).
Life can be depressing and mundane enough at times, live music being one opportunity to escape. I would however put a serious health warning on Unbelievable Truth gigs if others compare with this one. Do not attend if you are feeling close to the edge, you may just end up throwing yourself over. I want to be uplifted when I listen to music, not thrown into the depths of despair.
As for the comparison with the Devlins, well there is no comparison really. After hearing their music I felt happy, uplifted and ready for more. The Unpalatable Truth for the Unbelievable Truth is that I was keen for their performance to finish. Not, I hasten to add, due to the actual technical performance of their music for that was creditable, but down to the drab material which they have produced and now must perform.
I think perhaps the band and it's management should return to the "shrine in the front room" and pray for divine intervention and inspiration, for sadly judging by their performance tonight, that is what is required to take them forward.
Sorry guys !!
From : Neil
Date : 20/1/1999
Subject : (UT) Jericho
So why has the list been so quiet since the Jericho show ? Is it, I wonder because the show was in fact a little underwhelming? I'd have to say that was the weakest show (out of six) that I've seen.
Certainly Andy's voice was at times all over the shop: also, for a hometown gig, there wasn't much of an atmosphere, and even Nigel was subdued and relatively unforthcoming during the show. I didn't stay for long after the gig, so I guess that Nigel was his usual gregarious self - he is *such* a nice bloke.
As per usual at a UT gig it seemed that over half the audience was there to talk rather than listen. Why do people DO that?? Surely it's cheaper to stay at home and talk over a record than pay for a gig. Mind you, there is nothing to stop the band asking for quiet - I've seen Beth Orton do it with conspicuous success, and I really wish Andy would do it sometimes
Enough of my waffle.
What did the rest of you think about the gig?
From : Emily
Date : 21/1/1999
Subject: Re: (UT) Jericho
>So why has the list been so quiet since the Jericho show ? Is it, I wonder
>because the show was in fact a little underwhelming? I'd have to say that
>was the weakest show (out of six) that I've seen.
It was my fourth best out of 26 gigs! so it cant have been that bad! i think the band have really improved SO much. theyre actually experimental now, they seem ready to try new stuff and slightly vary their sound/.
as for andys voice, yes he can hit bad notes but at least he realises it. i cringe everytime he goes up to do that "oooohh" thing at the end of almost here but when he invetibly hits a bum note, he smiles to himself. if he just carried on he'd...i dunno be deaf or summat. i personally loved the gig and im not one of these fans who go "ar! their wonderful" at whatever they do, ive been to some SHITE ut gigs in my time. this wasnt one of them.
but, neil i respect your opinion. i went to see mansun in manchester in 97, i thought the gig was utter shite but my friend standing next to me thought it was absolutley stunning. just shows how greatly opinions can vary.
didnt the mosher cheer you up? twat though he was he did privide a little bit of amusemnet!
oh yeh, some advice. if your ever bored/depressed at a ut gig. look at jim... do it! hes SO funny. especially the "rocking out with an acoustic guitar" thing.
oh yeh, as for your zines, i hope you realised you paid for the next 5 or so issues with that money you gave me! ill send them asap.(when theyre out)
right, thats about 3 opinions. anymore? any GOOD reviews?!
ok im off.
From : Emily
Date : 22/1/1999
Suject : Re: (UT) Jericho
I would have written sooner about Jericho, but I've been really busy this week. So here goes:
Higher than reason
Forget about me
Shed your skin
Ciao my shining star
From this height
then they left the stage, but came back to play
It was a good evening,
I was really glad to hear them again. The second half was really amazing, from
Ciao on it was great, it is such a beautiful song. Building really blew me away,
I really love the heavier version they've played at Bloomsbury and Jericho.
Jason said something on stage, the first time I've heard he speak on stage.
When they came back on again he said "I hope you like the formality of us leaving
and coming back again." I think the main problem was the bad atmosphere in the
audience. I was really surprised as there were only 125 tickets available and
they sold out really quickly. But there were loads of people talking at the
back all the way through, so it was fairly noisy. Andy looked really pissed
off during Almost Here, I think it was probably cos of all the talking. I was
disappointed that they didn't play Landslide as it was on the set list after
Shed you skin. I asked Jim afterwards and he said they didn't play it cos of
a problem with the monitors.
Jason, Nigel and Jim stayed around to talk to list people afterwards which was nice. I've never spoken to Jason before, he's seems like a really nice guy. Andy didn't appear though, but Jason took some stuff back stage for him to sign for us. I don't know why he didn't want to come and talk to us.
The whole evening was a lot different to Bloomsbury. Although the audience was bigger at Bloomsbury the atmosphere was so much better then. But I was as right at the front with other list people, and the atmosphere at the front was good. Jason, Jim and Nigel were smiling a lot, especially Jason! He has an amazing way of playing, as if playing the bass guitar, he is obviously really in to it. This was the first time I've had such a good view of Nigel. It's good to see Jim really getting into playing as well. Sorry, I'm not making much sense. What I mean is they really look like they really mean what they are playing. I hope you all know what I mean.
I had a good evening anyway, it was great to see loads of list people. Me must have made up about a tenth of the audience!
Lost of people have commented about the way UT have made their sound more rocky and heavy, and that was the case with most of the songs at the Jericho too. I like the heavier sound, I think it really works live. Its amazing that their songs can work acoustically and the complete opposite, and the songs sound great either way. Ive heard them play one acoustic gig, and that was really beautiful.
It's difficult to say which was teh best out of the 5 times I've heard them live (5 times if you count Your Song) as they have all been so different. But Bloomsbury was especially stunning for lots of reasons. The fact that they played for a such a long time was rally good, and it was great to hear the heaveri sound, and Almost Here worked so well. Anyway, I'll look forward to their next tour, and it was nice to meet all the list people.
Sorry if this is such a rambling review, Im so tired that I can barely keep my eyes open. I've just given in some essays, so I can get some sleep now.