Forest Fire @ The Westgarth, Middlesbrough 9th September 2010


Tucked away in the middle of Forest Fire’s Survival album is the track Promise. It is exactly two minutes of pure Velvet Underground – taut, chugging electric guitar in an otherwise loose and largely acoustic set of songs. Tonight, the song, a single repeated chord hammered out for over ten minutes, pushes on from the Velvets into Spacemen 3 or Deerhunter territory. This one song neatly sums up the transformation of the band in a live setting.

Gone are the acoustic guitars, the slightly ramshackle feel and the sense of space in their music. Live, Forest Fire are anything but loose and ramshackle. Nathan Delffs, picture Ben Stiller playing Freddie Mercury in generously applied pink eye shadow, plays lead guitar in a manner which matches his stare – unswerving, unrelenting and unblinking. It’s Delffs who adds the tightness and intensity to the band’s live dynamic.

Lead singer Mark Thresher stands in stark contrast to Delffs. Wrapped up in a child’s anorak with what looks suspiciously like a self-administered bowl-cut hairstyle, oversize spectacles and a moustache with a centre parting, he is unlikely frontman material. Quick-witted and with charm to spare however, he pulls it off easily and his slightly strangled vocals transfer perfectly from the record to the stage.

Last year Survival found its way into Rough Trade Shops’ Top 10 albums of the year. You’d be hard pressed to find ten bands to shunt them out of a list of Top Ten Bands To See Live in 2010. Compelling stuff.

A big thank-you to Jon for this review. As you may know Jon runs thesuitcaseorchestra site. Check it out. Another great night from The Kids are Solid Gold. They have some great events lined up. See their site for full details. Woodenbox with a fistfull of Fivers, Cattle & Cane, Erland & The Carnival and Lau to name a few. AND a few extra special shows which I’m not even allowed to tell you about yet!!!!! Keep your eyes peeled.





By peter on September 13, 2010

Check out all the pics

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