i usually wait until the skinny have published my reviews before sticking them up here, but since its been a coupla weeks since the mill's first birthday gig i thought i'd jump the gun this time lest it be be made dated and redundant... here're my thoughts:
The Mill’s anniversary shindig gets off to a disappointing start when it transpires that illness has spirited away Jill O’Sullivan from Sparrow and the Workhop’s voice and forced the band to cancel. Complimentary beer courtesy of the sponsors comforts the disappointed while a compilation of past acts to grace the Mill’s stages is screened. The, er, mixed parade of luminaries makes you grateful for the calibre of acts booked tonight: while the organisers’ fortnightly efforts to curate a decent line-up, gratis, have yielded their fair share of stinkers (it’s easy to forget how many god-awful scarf-clad guy-linered bands exist), tonight they’ve pushed the boat out with two of Scotland’s most celebrated rising stars.
Before that, surviving support act Some Young Pedro flaunt their Pavementy chops like a de-spazzed Cap’n Jazz. Abrasive hooks coupled with a willingness to wander down less tuneful cul-de-sacs draw favourable comparisons to Fugazi, and they easily coax chatterers stage-ward.
We Were Promised Jetpacks then proceed to reap the rewards, with vast choruses (Quiet Little Voices remains their finest four minutes) and their ever-growing assuredness harvesting the audience’s affections. While the majority of their set is plucked from debut These Four Walls, one impressive new song pushes their sound into more turbulent territory, before a closing Short Bursts firmly places their seal on the evening.
…which is bad news for tonight’s nominal headliners. The noticeably-thinner crowd is more a testament to the preceding act’s popularity than a criticism of Broken Records, the po-faced dramatists demonstrating their talents with dependable intensity. Only an over-reliance on worn tricks (epic crescendos tend to raise fewer goosebumps on their fifth or sixth outing) prevent them equalling the night’s earlier triumphs. Still, it’s a rousing end to the Mill’s first year; let’s hope for similarly generous birthday celebrations in 2010.