Mousetival 2018 Review

Mousetival 2018 Review

This was my first time at the Georgian Theatre, Stockton-on-Tees and I was promptly blow away by the venue. Most importantly however, I was there for a very special day of music organised by the wonderful band Mouses, an event I was sad to have missed last year.

We were promised a surprise if we came down early, so I scurried out of my house to be there in time to reveal the mystery. What could it be? I did have wild speculations flying around in my head but I certainly didn’t expect to see Fakies, a tribute set pixies set. Comprised of Mouses and two other mysterious gentlemen that I thought would be in bands the rest of the day but nope. If you know who these guys were, please let me know: answers on a postcard or in the comments...
That aside they were an openly barely rehearsed, charmingly chaotic act and I blooming love the pixies, so they did the material justice.

Slurs remind me of a grungy Martha, embracing the feedback and the noise and just writing really good songs. Powerhouse drumming, thumping basslines and noisy guitars, they were clearly on a high playing for their biggest crowd to date. Anyone who wasn’t previously a Slurs fan in that room, is now! Check out ‘Ordinary Man’ for a good taste of what to expect.

The Noise and the Naive make me very happy indeed. This was my third time seeing the band this year, and for just two people they make the most noise. If you compare them to the likes of Deap Valley, or The Pearl Harts, or any other female punk blues outfit they will blow ‘em out the water. I reckon they’d even give The White Stripes a run for their money. The new material is just incredible, and I like to think Manta Ray is particularly special for me. My surname is Reay, get it, Manta Reay… 

 The Noise and the Naive (Photography by the author)

The Noise and the Naive (Photography by the author)

"I hope you aren't ashamed of me" lead singer Vince states before launching into Swine Tax’s new single ‘Never Ending’. Ashamed of you Mr Swine tax? You just played a set of post punk bangers that wouldn't sound out of place on a Wedding Present, The Fall or Pavement LP. Tearing up the stage with loud guitar, thundering bass and drums that remind me I need to start playing again. That drum kit was also shown no mercy, ending on what can only be described as an apocalyptic post punk avalanche. You’ve got to see this band live, that is an order…

 Swine Tax (Photography by the author)

Swine Tax (Photography by the author)

Nim Chimpsky move me in all the right ways, leaving me boogieing to their bedroom poppy punk. The lo-fi organs/loops, the distorted guitars and lyrics from the heart all come together to make something very special. And, as a treat, they covered one of the all time emo classics ‘Teenage Dirtbag’ by Wheatus, a song we all know the words to.
The members swapped roles quite a lot within the set but the dancing never stoped, check out the Groove is in the Heart inspired track ‘I Robot, You Jane’ to see what I mean. That bass will get your ass moving.

If you get a chance to see Dressed Like Wolves, do it because they’re absolutely mega.
At their most stripped back end they sound like Sunderland’s own The Lake Poets but at their most danceable there is a sneaking Bombay Bicycle Club influence with a lot more fuzz. My first memory of this outfit was when it was just a one man show, singer songwriter Rick Dobbing, but now they’re here with a full band and I get to hear them all over again. 

Ghost Guilt are almost a completely different band from when I saw them in April. They are brimming with confidence, as opposed to the coy outfit I saw in a Newcastle basement. They are still tight however, and still making the raw power pop punk rock sound that I love ‘em for.

Hey James? Yes Spotlight music reader. What's a milk crime? Putting a straw in it and snorting it through your nose, pouring it on your head for no reason. And if you multiply that crime by two to make it crimes you get a superb band from Leeds who just played Mousetival this weekend… In short, they were great with a spot on brand of angular power pop and songs about hanging out and vegan food. 

Pet Crow are in another league, gee whizz. I was made aware of these incredible people after having them recommended by the lead singer of Ghost Signals, and I loved the record he showed me, but seeing them live is a game changer. My arms hurt from just watching the drummer. There's elements of the Jesus and Mary Chain at their most noisy, Sonic Youth at their most dreamy and Riot Grrl at it's most political. it's just incredible. Honestly I am left speechless…

Cowtown make me wanna party. Their angular grooves shine out to me. Out goes the bass guitar, in with the bass synth, making these unique stylings more present.
The songs are dangerously repetitive, such as the likes of ‘Monotone Face’, but not in a way that makes the boring. Instead they are undeniably catchy, hook you in with ease.
They came all the way from Leeds and I am so glad they made the journey because they brightened up my day…

Mouses on home turf are incredible. Even after many hours of great bands I still somehow found the energy to dance, pogo and sing along to this dynamic duo. They also played a great number of new songs making me super excited for their upcoming new releases, but in short they’re still as political and still as emotionally raw and loud as they have always been. During the mid show calm down and an emotional ballad, the band welcomed the crowd to sit on the stage in a beautiful and unforgettable moment. Despite the set being interrupted by technical difficulties and a "dickhead" in the crowd, Mouses owned their set in style.

 Mouses (Photography by the author)

Mouses (Photography by the author)

They put together a whole day of music off my own back and it's been a blast. Steven and Nathan you are incredible and Hana too, thank you for an amazing day.

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