The Gossip / Jai-Alai Savant - Night & Day Manchester - 18.7.06

"Scarlett Johannson Why Don't You Love Me" sung by men who look like they should be presenting Shroom TV's spin off of Sesame Street. Exhibit Number 1: A big fozzy black bear of a man in a splendid white suit of Daz White proportions who has a passion for roots reggae and the Clash. Exhibit B: A funk wielding bass brother who loves Motown and Gloria Gaynor. Together they are the rather unfortunately named The Jai-Alai Savant which must go down in history as the most difficult band name to remember in the world ever. But there's an authenticity like the Clash and The Specials and they make the Dead 60s sound like the Ordinary Boys. If Gnarls Barkley decided to raid the back catalogue of Trojan as well as Motown then this is what the future fusion of music would sound like.

If you think The Gossip are an overnight sensation than you better rewrite that theory. Three albums into their career the band have a loyal following in the underground queercore scene only for "Listen Up" to accidentally be the indie floorfiller for the summer. Their core audience is made up of "fags and hags" in the "gayest city ever" and whether you call the Gossip queercore or riot grrl depends on your own musical stance, but Designer Magazine prefers to simply call them a great rock and roll band steeped in the blues but raised on disco, it creates a Jon Spencer Blues explosion meets the Slits eruption of ever increasing returns.

By the end of tonight's set it's all a blur. Like all the best nights the adrenaline and energy takes over you dance like you've never danced before and wake up the next morning thinking f**k I don't know what that was, but it was probably the best night of my life. The Gossip really are that good and marrying so many genre's from the soulful vocals of Beth Ditto to the downright dirty guitar riffs of Brace Paine with these huge undeniable euphoric pop tunes that make the likes of the Rapture and the new rave movement seem like a damp squid.

By the time "Listen Up" is played the venue is in a frenzy not just for that one track because with the set nearing a close they realize there's another 15 or so tracks that are equally as good as their recent single and with a lengthy back catalogue to explore as well as forthcoming new album you get the feeling that many hear tonight will become as obsessed as the hard-core
devotees down the front.

Alex McCann
Photos: Katie Wynne

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