Arts Centre, Colchester, 2000-01-26
Written by B. J. Knight.
Colchester Arts Centre did not have a good 1999. Poor attendance was matched by the quality of bands being attracted to the best live venue in Colchester.
They say that the new Millennium should bring a fresh start to everything and everyone, the Arts Centre included. For the start of the 21st Century Colchester Arts Centre has got a new 400 capacity licence and the building looks better then it has in a long time.
How very fitting it is that this venue that is being reborn hosts in its new 400 capacity, tonight host the musical equivalent of the Phoenix rising from the ashes, Elastica, bigger, brighter and packing more tunes than a hundred 'Millennium Compilations'.
Elastica enter full of smiles and talk to the crowd constantly, obviously showing that the rest has done them good. Annie Holland is back on the bass and keyboard player Mew is all fizz and bounce. Justine is still the focal point even without the famous boyfriend, still looking great in her 'I love NJ' T-shirt.
They kick off with the meaty guitar rift of 'How He Wrote Elastica Man', from their excellent '6 track EP', a bouncy and attention grabbing song. They then roar though old favourites 'Annie' and a brilliant as ever 'Line Up', which has one of the best choruses of the 1990's, before effortlessly slipping into one of their new songs 'Mad Dog'. All of the new tracks tonight are more of the same, catchy tunes and brilliant sing along choruses. They seem reluctant to commit to the new songs with only 6 of the 21 songs played being new, showing that they are crowd pleasers, although the new songs meld into the old ones so easily the crowd seem hardly to notice.
You can see that the band are really up for it as Justine blows a tube in her amp around '2:1', and Mew bouncing around like Tigger on a pogo stick. She seems to help Justine along a lot by taking some of the attention while the rest of the band plays along perfectly.
They play some more new songs, a cover of 'Da Da Da' and the excellent 'Your Arse, My Place' before ripping though the crowd pleasers, 'Stutter' and 'Waking Up', leaving the crowd dishevelled and wanting more.
The band open up the encore with 'My Sex' a spoken word piece that does have a likeness to 'Essex Dogs' by Blur, and the crunching rift of 'Connection'. Then things go farcical.
They get though half of the extremely rocky 'Paranoid' and stop. It looks like Dave is nervous about singing it and they almost go off rather abruptly until Justine gets them back on. Then they can't decide what to do until someone shouts out 'Vaseline'. "Okay, but only if you sing it", said Justine and then went and picked out one plucky (or blind drunk) punter to sing along to the tune that they have appeared not to have played since 1995. He performs amicably despite the fact that he only barely knew the words. They then successfully get through 'Paranoid' on the second attempt, with Mew wailing at the top of her lungs and then they leave us with something like quietness, even though there's music from the P.A. coming though and the din of the crowd is nestling in our ears.
So as your intrepid hack leaves the venue home the night sky is clear and crisp with the dawn of a new Millennium, where the dawn of the New Wave of The New Wave Of the New Wave is about commence.