So when I joked last week about the Juice Christmas Party being one last gig before Christmas, I honestly thought that would be my last gig before Christmas. But I ended up going to another. Friday Night was the Big Salad Christmas Party, headlined by Foxes!, who you’ll probably hear a lot more of next year – their debut album is out on the 16th January.
First up were a band whose name I didn’t catch, but whose tunes sounded like nobody had told them Britpop finished over ten years ago, and who spent more time tuning up between songs than they spent playing songs. Nice Christmas outfits though.
Milk & Biscuits were up next. They’re a bit of a Brighton supergroup – the core of the band is Matthew Davies and Max Earle of Restlesslist, but their mini-LP also features Tom White (Brakes, Electric Soft Parade, and dozens of other Brighton Bands), Jennifer Left, and Kayla Bell from Foxes! (at this stage I should note that I wasn’t making a point of exclamation about the members of Milk & Biscuits, but that Foxes! have an exclamation mark at the end of their name). Mlik & Biscuits started off with a two minute wall of white noise which then broke down to some lovely lilting kraut-pop, built around Matthew and Max’s keyboards and vocals, but augmented with backing vocals, guitars, bass and occasionally flute. Some songs tended more towards Velvet Underground, some were more Stereolab-esque. It was all rather good – good enough for me to buy the mini LP at the end of the gig. Balcony Times was a limited release which came out last October on Big Salad Records and includes a lot of what they played. Resident still have some in stock and it comes recommended.
After just enough time to get to the bar and back, Foxes! took to the stage. Foxes! and Milk & Biscuits are about as different as two indie bands could be – while Milk & Biscuits are all about layers and textures and soporific atmospherics, Foxes! are all about the three minute indie pop song, the lyrics and vitality. At the centre of the band is Kayla Bell, who takes care of vocal and drumming duty. If I had one complaint about the gig, it would be that the drums were placed where a normal band would place their drums – where the drummer is also the lead vocalist, that isn’t so appropriate. But you can’t really complain when the songs are so catchy and so well performed. They rattled through their repertoire with barely a breath inbetween each track. In Foxes! world, short is sweet. Their lyrics are a break from the norm too – I’m sure I won’t hear any other lyrics any time soon about peoples dogs getting anal cancer. Towards the end of the set, they played their track Christmas Songs – it’s quite a measure of Foxes vim that where most band’s Christmas songs are their at the upbeat end of their catalogue, Foxes Christmas track was one of the least upbeat. When they left the stage, they didn’t come back for an encore – In true lo-fi indie style they were off to man the merchandise stall.