Not many people would walk into a room full of smoke. I suppose a fireman would but he would have breathing apparatus. It has to be said though that smoke is an effective way of disguising the décor (or lack thereof) in Stereo. However, I doubt that was why it was done.
Anyway, with a mighty cascade of twisted surf guitar, Sara and the Snakes brought the grindhouse to this smoky basement. You have to wonder how you get that degree of sleaze and moral ambiguity from but one buzzed out surf guitar and some primal drums but as Sara Sidewinder blasts out the words to "Only Sometimes" like a petite Grace Slick, you have to stop wondering and start staring. And maybe fantasise a little. Red boots. Did I say red boots? There's something so right about red boots. Another of their songs was "Charlie Don't Surf". Charlie doesn't know what he is missing.
Inner Sight were a different kettle of fish entirely. They've got to be one of the best rehearsed bands that I've seen recently and they are undoubtedly the most singularly inoffensive indie rock band on the planet. That's pretty much all you need to know about them and, yes, they are apparently coming to a school near you. I know because they told me so.
The main event. There's a civilised even leisurely start to their set with cosy conviviality and back projections to enhance the artistic mood. But fear not, for although they are from Edinburgh, Isa and the Filthy Tongues know how to grind it up. The man Metcalfe, in undertaker garb, pumps up the reverb and uses his guitar to punctuate their songs with absolute precision and anguish while Isa wilfully stalks the stage with a distinctly appealing mix of sensuality and playfulness. She exudes attitude and commands your attention with her red lipstick visible all the way from the back of the hall. Their new songs (from the album Dark Passenger) seem more anthemic and less angry than their old songs but they crash right into your head all the same with all the impact of a sonic pile driver.
Two things to learn from tonight. Firstly, fringes are cute. Secondly, customers are reminded to always use the handrail and take care on the stairs. Better make it three things and add that I've got to stop falling for women that I see on stage.