Goodbyes can be drawn out. None more so than the arrival of Martin Rossiter’s farewell London show. The ex-Gene frontman’s final curtain call was originally set to take place in June 2020, but it shifted date – and venue – more than once, before finally settling into its final resting place at the Kentish Town Forum in November 2021. At this point, larger gigs still haven’t made a full return following months of Covid related restrictions and cancellations so, understandably, for some, this night comes with a certain amount of unease. Fortunately, Rossiter quickly puts that right, firstly with a self-curated playlist in place of a traditional support band (his choice of tunes, heavily weighted to rarer Northern Soul bangers is excellent) and then the main event.
When Little Thief appeared at the Ramsgate Music Hall on a four band bill towards the end of 2019, they played to fewer than ten people. Regardless of the sparse crowd, they gave the kind of performance deserving of a packed house. With only a couple of digital singles behind them at that time, the set was a great showcase for things to come. For the few people smart enough to be there that night, memories were made watching Rhii Williams approaching the drums in a really rhythmic yet heavy fashion, while frontman Charlie Fitzgerald cranked out fuzzy riffs as if his life depended on it. There was no doubt that Little Thief were destined for future greatness.
After Carter USM called it a day in the late nineties, James “Jim Bob” Morrison and Les “Fruitbat” Carter went their separate ways. Jim formed the short-lived Jim’s Super Stereoworld before embarking on a dual career as a solo artist and writer of novels, and Fruity formed Abdoujaparov, an indie rock band with punky undertones. Having parted on amicable terms, the USM men actually shared stages together just a couple of years later with their respective new outfits, on a double header tour that pulled in the fans. Looking back, it was an interesting time for both performers looking to forge new paths. At the 2001 gigs, Jim seemed uninspired, often delivering music that sounded like a shadow of his former punning self. For Les, the opposite seemed true and opportunity to explore new musical ideas with different people seemed to invigorate him. With energetic live performances and a very matey stage presence, Abdoujaparov were definitely going to be a band that the old Carter fans would take to their hearts.
Salad were one of the most underrated indie bands of the nineties. With one foot in the noisy indie camp – leading to more than one support slot with Carter USM – and the other within the Britpop family, their quirky lyrical concerns and melodic vocal phrases gave them the potential to be huge. Although the band never really rose above cult status, those who liked them absolutely adored them.
Blending power pop with gentle satire, Irish band Ha Ha Ha pay a backhanded tribute to The Queen on their current single ‘The Betty Windsor Show’ and couple their whimsical thoughts with a fun new video clip.