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Live review
Oppenheimer, Dudley Corporation, Not Squares
Several years ago two respected men of the local scene met and joined together by love of loud noise to form an immensely popular little combo.  These men promptly escaped from the locality and escaped to stardom and US tours. Today they are still wanted for flagrant abuse of air-horns in an urban environment and survive as great entertainment. If you have a party needing going, if you fancy something a little bit bonkers, and if you can't find the Flaming Lips phone number, maybe you can see... Oppenheimer.

However, before they start pitying us fools, we've got two other bands to entertain us on a Friday night. Not Squares are very quickly carving a name for themselves locally, and start off with a more adventurous take on the popular contemporary art-math-rock thing, kinda like Foals stumbling out of the Washington State forests after three days without sleep. 'One Of Us (One Time)' marries the frantic paranoid edge of this, with the beats and yelps, with the slightly twee keyboard stylings of CSS bringing a dance hint to it, conjuring up the idea of the current live Go! Team's experiments into Sonic Youth-esque indie-rock or even early Rapture. Following a slight clothing malfunction, the 'Yeah Song' gives license for some crowd interaction as one of the band decides to get up close and personal with the "retreating-for-their-own-safety" audience. They may not be squares, but their edges are sharp enough to cut us.

Dudley Corporation are an interesting one. They take their influences from both sides of the Atlantic, mixing the 1980s American alternative scene (such as Husker Du and Sonic Youth) with 1990s onwards UK (recalling Radiohead and contemporary staccato rhythmed punk-funk math-rock) in their intelligent combination of melody and art. Yet, there's something not quite there, for all the promise being shown by this tight three piece, their flitting about hasn't quite resulted in an amalgamation of their interesting influences, leaving them as a little too art for the rockers, a little too late for the grunge scene, and a little too heavy for the indie-art kids. Their potentially heady brew isn't quite simmering yet, but it's getting there.

Go Team Oppenheimer. Seriously, it rolls off the tongue doesn't it?  Possibly somewhere there is a range of combining children's toys and TV series waiting to be made. Anyway, this follows their initial technical difficulties, leading to the two man core of the band having to restart the gig. 'Stephen McAuley For President' is beefier than in their recent festival appearances (due to being indoors probably), with the big drums doing the business before they show off their intriguing lit-up guitar (probably last seen in some 1980s hair-metal video) and ask for admiration for their funky backdrop - allegedly hand-crafted over two weeks with a bottle of Tippex. 'Ok Let's Take This Outside' features their trademark air-horn, much to the delight of the crowd, who are more delighted when they decide to buck the system and hand out free copies of their new 7-inch. Joined by their extra members to form Team Oppenheimer, 'Take The Whole Midrange and Boost It' is great generation X slacker Beck, while 'I Don't Care...' is dedicated to their support acts and includes the surreal sight of giant foam footballs bouncing around the place (and accompanying rude story). 'The Never-Never' features Matt from The Bronx looking mysteriously like a megaphone with his name on, but they assure that it's him - perhaps he's been unwell or something. Branching into politics they inform us that the Assembly has required us to clap along to their songs, while they threaten us with confetti cannons. Still, it's hard not to love it when a band comes together.

William Johnston

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Gig Details
Venue: Stiff Kitten
Location: Belfast
Date: 3/10/2008

+ Oppenheimer on ATL TV

Line Up
Dudley Corpotation
Not Squares

Related Links
+ Stiff Kitten
+ Oppenheimer
+ Dudley Corporation
+ Not Squares (myspace)