“Thanks for coming down. Or coming up. Whichever way you’re coming”
On Friday The Maitlands seemed like three different bands colliding. Ste on guitar plays fast and hard, buzz-bombing Clash-like. Frontman Carl has the charm and wit of Nigel from Half Man Half Biscuit. And then there’s Jonty on drums. I was impressed last time I saw them, but he was a demon here (Mike from The Lucid Dream congratulated him on the size of his testicles after the gig). Jonty has escaped from a power trio’s Transit Van somewhere. Logically, a punk band with a rock hero drummer and a laid back 6 foot 6 quipster on vocals shouldn’t work. The fact that they sound tight and unified is as impressive as it is puzzling. But then, when did a Manchester band ever let logic get in the way of a good time?
The set is brisk and swerves from poppy to heavy, a shirtless Jonty falling off his stool at one point. The highlight was ‘A Few Choice Words’ which ended the set, splattered all over with cowbell (more cowbell!). Partway between Gang Of Four and a burning oil rig.
If there was one drawback it was the sound. Jonty was awesome but the drums were so loud in the mix Carl was struggling to make himself heard, like a lecturer competing with a cement mixer (albeit a perfectly timed, top-of-the-range cement mixer). A shame considering he is one of the few singers around actually worth listening to.
This band is not mithered about looking good, but whether the crowd is having fun. The crowd, (nice and large) did, thanks.