Aural Sex + 3 Day Benda + Wiservice
Words & Pictures by Armchair Anarchist
The Registry is always rammed when ‘The Thursday Thing’ is on, no matter who is playing. The line up tonight is an interesting change from the usual rock/metal fare. First up are the appallingly-named but very skilful Aural Sex (who for some reason were billed as The OK Jazz Band on all the promo). They provide a set of big-band style covers, opening up with the theme from ‘2001’. The familiarity of the tunes gets a good response from the audience – ‘Ghostbusters’ has the whole room grinning – but someone should warn them against doing a version of ‘Oh When The Saints...’ in any other venue in Portsmouth! The vocals are a little under-rehearsed, but they more than make up for this with superb instrument skills, and a healthy dose of enthusiasm. It’s cheesier than rainbow braces, but the audience love it. Second slot goes to 3 Day Benda, old hands on the local scene. They have come a long way from their early days of being shouty ska-kids making a racket at the (now defunct) Horseshoe. It’s still ska-based, but with dynamics and song structure that put other pogo-bands to shame. The songs are bright and energetic, with punchy brass riffs over a fast and chunky throbbing rhythm section. The vocals are strong, even a little cocky, and the banter with the audience displays a confidence that also shines through the music. They make a great brash racket – good tunes for furious skanking, had there been the space to do so. It’s heavy and hard-hitting, but with a cheery anthemic feel that wins over a lot of the crowd. The band’s energy makes their set seem to fly past quickly, as if a bunch of horn-toting lunatics have ram-raided your ears and made off with your brain. Which leaves headliners Wiservice to soothe the audience’s soul, a taskfor which they are admirably equipped. Coming from very similar roots to Three Day Benda, they have followed a different path, ending up in the territory of dub reggae. Their sound is still informed by punk and metal, but the music is pure summer sunshine with a big fat joint. Tight drums and pass pin the whole thing down, while choppy guitar licks and lush brass swells fill in the middle. Front-man Weaver, despite the small space available, still manages to be in three places at once, all the while belting out lyrics and back-chatting to the front row. He and guitarist Ochs team up as usual for some beatbox-and-toasting, complete with turntablism, which gets heads nodding and feet tapping. By the end of the set, the whole room is bobbing on the spot. Their confidence and ability to connect to any audience is a thrill to watch. Wiservice could make a dead man dance, and will hopefully do so for a long time to come – in the current climate of indentikit ‘alternative’ bands, the scene needs some true individuals. Wiservice have the mojo, and they have it in spades.