(Update: so apparently TWB have just announced another gig, which is lovely for them, albeit rendering this already hurried and somewhat flaky post a bit redundant)
I have never seen Two Wounded Birds before. I have however heard their songs on 6music and enjoy very much their sound and immediacy – sitting somewheres between the Ramones, Frankie Valli and Dick Dale. When an invitation to see them a few weeks ago arrived I said yes right away.
Last night though, at The Lexington, something wasn’t quite right from the off. Stephanie, who’d bought me the ticket, informed me at the start it was a new bassist and guitarist, following a recent breakdown within the band, however expectations were still high and we took up our place in front of the stage.
Instead, despite me not having seen them before, something really appeared quite wrong. The new bassist looked out of place amongst the leather and black jeans of the others – looking (and dressed) like the brunette from Bros. The new guitarist like Brad Willis just out of rehab. Neither were very good – certainly compared to frontman and drummer. And it seemed from the outset the former knew this too. At the very least this wasn’t the band he wanted it to be and he couldn’t hide it.
The first few songs all had elements of the influences identified above but were slow and highlighted little conviction, together with a strange detachment between the band themselves and between them with the songs. The Ramonesy bit was there but less the frantic punkness and more Joey doing ‘Baby I Love You’, drunk, after a bad break-up. I thought to myself early on that something was hinting it could be this band’s last gig – yet less triumphant send-off and more irretrievable breakdown.
All of a sudden though things picked up. Three songs that brought the whole place, band and crowd to life – a burst of energy and enthusiasm channelled right through the spine of lead singer and drummer. This was super punk-pop. It was also all they could manage though – one last effort of spirit, soul and being delaying the inevitable. Before introducing the next song the singer announced it was their last ever gig and things slowed down again – him maybe relieved to get it off his chest, the crowd in turn a little numbed but suddenly getting what was wrong.
I witnessed something incredibly sad yesterday, which I’ve never seen before – the live demise of a very talented band. Steffo was a bit teary by the end, having seen them so much better so many other times. I think your men singing and drumming will be back soon either with this band or another – I hope so anyway and good luck to them. They deserve it.