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Headliners: The Colours
Hats off to Fez Club gig
By Linda Serck
It was never going to be the most cheery of gigs - the penultimate concert before the Fez Club closes to become a dance club. One Dollar Peep Show, Heartwear Process, White Sunday and The Colours give the venue their fond farewell.
23.01.08 | Fez Club | Reading
It's hard not to walk into the Fez Club tonight and look long and hard at what will soon be ripped out to become an 'upmarket' dance club.
It's the penultimate gig - a local bands night called Valediction - so committing to memory a rack of guitars and drum kit on stage, the dark mirrored walls, the north African interior - is pretty much all you can do before it swaps continents and transforms into Sakura - Japanese for Cherry Blossom - with a Japanese restaurant downstairs.
One Dollar Peep Show
The Fez, like Alleycats before it, is the hallowed beer-besmirched turf of live music. And ridding Reading of a vital music venue is not just embittering me, but the majority of local music crowd - plenty of whom are here with a collective grimace tonight.
So it's not your usual buzz in the crowd, then.
One Dollar Peep Show do their best with the girls in the band dancing and harmonising and the guitarist doubling over to squeeze maximum crunch in his guitar - but the smattering of people who've turned up early fail to get into the spirit of a live gig.
Heartwear Process's sordid underground tales and jerky rhythms slithers serpentine-like round our ears.
It feels like the band, primarily performing in the dark (are Fez cutting down on spotlights?), are bringing the League Of Gentleman show to town.
Dedicating a song to the infamous black pillar on stage, and ending with Humble Pie, a heart-wrenching monologue inspired by Nabokov's Lolita - it's a darkly vaudevillian gig that has the right amount of doom and portent for a night like this.
Supplying the torpedo is White Sunday - delivering a thunderblast of indie rock with fireworks circling nearby, it's a potent cracker of Kasabian-esque turbo-charged grit streamlined with the band's own fluidity.
The mood on the meter swings to rock 'n' roll defiance in the face of closure.
For the band it's a nostalgia fest, telling the audience they first played at the Fez in 2004, savouring the final chance to wig out on the stage.
Headliners The Colours may have lost a guitarist and slimmed down to a three-piece, but the band haven't blunted any of their booming indie pop edge.
They open with my personal favourite Bad Light - which comes with burgeoning looped samples and a cracking dance beat. It sets the scene for a maturely vibrant final local band performance at the Fez.
So hats off to all four bands tonight. James Blunt may have been playing at nearby Rivermead but that was no threat to the local band gig here, which has packed out the place.
It's bands such as these that should make Reading proud to have a music scene - albeit one that is losing a vital landmark.
However it's inevitable that the atmosphere would be one of closure.
No bristling talent and cracking performances can quite lift the fug of finality looming over us all.
More about the closure of the Fez Club here:
last updated: 24/01/2008 at 14:10
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