4th September 2020
An unusual tiny and intimate gig, by private invite only - a very special evening. Covid-19 has more or less put the music industry live playing scene on hold in most countries, so gigs at the moment are a real treat. It is made even more special as the band have invited us into a unique insight into their own world - their new rehearsal rooms.
The building is old, certainly around 150 years old, and was part of an old mill. It’s fair to say it’s looking its age, but the building is all the better for that. From the entrance hall to the basement toilets (which have a vibe of an abandoned asylums mortuary) - it for me is a perfect venue. The rehearsal room itself, where the gig is held is quite large, certainly large enough for the small assembled crowd to social distance from each other. The room is shared by two bands, FIERY BISCUITS having the other half of the room, but not in attendance this evening. It’s a tall room, no ceiling with exposed beams and glass roof windows - tidily decorated it is a complete contrast to the rest of the building - almost swish.
This band first came to my attention a few of years ago. A guitar driven band, formed in 2014, they can be described as having a dark wave post punk sound. Often likened to the GANG OF FOUR and THE BUZZCOCKS. A four-piece band, formed by Steve Whitfield and consists of Steve on Guitar, Poss (vocals and guitar), Mike Addy (bass) and Bruno Almeida (drums). With a good repertoire of songs to choose from, and a heritage of playing popular festivals and supporting names such as THE SKIDS, THE UNDERTONES, RICHIE RAMONE, CHAMELEONS VOX, PENETRATION and THE MEMBRANES. https://www.klammer.co.uk / https://www.facebook.com/klammerband
Music & Performance
Tonight was to mainly showcase the bands new material, ready for a future release as an album. However the first set was older familiar material, to warm the band up, and of course the excited assembled attendees - myself included. I sensed the band were also itching to play live and had missed being in front of listeners. Certainly I felt well over due some live music, and felt very privileged - especially when fed and watered for the evening with snacks and a fridge of beer. The band really made us all feel very welcome, and they certainly appreciate their fans.
The opening track, a great choice, was ‘Coast to Coast‘ - a track which has followed me around as my business trading name is the same - it always manages to raise a smile from me. If the band were feeling rusty they certainly didn’t show it, classic KLAMMER playing classic KLAMMER tracks. Poss is in the mood for a performance with great solid vocals and the band are surprisingly tight after a break. Lighting and sound both surprised me for this kind of live performance - both were surprisingly acceptable - the lighting in particular completely surprised me for a rehearsal room. The momentum continued as they blasted through the well-known tracks - I particular loved ‘Highlife‘, ‘Production‘, ‘A Long Cold‘ and ‘Modern God‘. If this was the appetiser for the main course, I was energised and raring to go! A brief break as the band did their best to mingle in a social distanced way, and it was time for the new material.
Set two was a trip into the unknown, they hadn’t shared any details with me on the direction of the new material - was it the KLAMMER I know and love? Or had they pushed the boundaries? As the first chords hit my ears I am pleased to tell you the KLAMMER sound and vibe is still intact! However after listening to the twelve new tracks, still in a (late) stage of development, its plain to hear that the band have shifted into new territory without leaving the KLAMMER sound behind. It’s still got the raw edge and the energy that they have managed to drag kicking and screaming alongside them - but somehow sounds more “grown up”. I’ve tried, in my head to think of explanatory descriptions without polluting their new tracks. By this I mean without making it sound like “easy listening“, which it’s far, far from! If I use phrases like “grown up“, “smoother“, “rounded“ it will certainly have most KLAMMER fans running for the hills (and never getting an invite from the band ever again).
However it’s clear to hear the band have not only managed to present the rawness, the excitement their fans expect, but to wrap it up with more atmosphere and a deeper soundscape - I think it would be very fair to say there is a leaning towards a more traditional goth presence in their overall musical presentation. Poss has added another strengthening edge to the bands development - his singing has reached new highs - quite literally. Speaking to Steve after the gig he gave a much better description of the bands overall revised style than I could have ever thought of - he described the progression in their sound as “adding more space”. So, in a nutshell, going by this live performance, the next album will more than please KLAMMER’s fan base, but also open new doors to a crossover audience. As always, highly recommended for those who hanker for the meatier sounds of GANG OF FOUR, THE BUZZCOCKS and XTC, but now worth an explore for those who appreciate a little more depth with their raw edginess.
01. Coast to Coast
02. No Memory
06. Spiral Girl
08. A Long Cold
09. Modern God
01. I Really Want to Believe
02. Pass the Test
03. I wish I could Bring You Back
04. The Insider
05. A New Direction
06. Limbic Pastime
10. An Edited Life
11. The Day Before Yesterday
12. Progress (or the lack of)
(Please be aware some of the titles in set 2 are still working titles, and may change in the future)
Total: 8.4 / 10
All Pictures by Kevin Stevens