The Twang – The Wardrobe, Leeds

Now, I’m gunna level with you. I’ve never seen The Twang live before. Never really listened to ’em either. I’ve heard ’em, but was never that arsed. They just passed me by. There was so much good stuff knocking about at that time when they came out that they were given a pass in my house, well, apart from when Mrs. Tangerine would push one or two of their songs under my nose, or, latterly, during our many “Yoobtoob wars”*. Then I’d go “Oh yeah, they’re great love, thanks. Now go and make me a sandwich there’s a good girl**. Without ever really being blown away. To me, The Twang were just generic indie fodder, the second best thing to come out of Birmingham after the BBC afternoon TV show ‘Doctors’. Out of interest to no one, I’ve appeared on ‘Doctors’ a few times. The first time I played a builder who got his arm chopped off in an accident and the second time, well, the second time I played a chap who ‘fell over’ in his bathroom and ‘landed’ on his roll-on deodorant. I think it was meant as a lighthearted storyline, an “and finally” bit to add some gentle humour amidst all the car crashes, dismemberment and death. Anyway, I don’t have to tell you where the roll-on deodorant ended up now do I? Do I? Well, I will anyway. Up my arse. His arse. The character I playeds, arse. Oh I played him alright. Yep. Played him real good. Anyway, they managed to pulled it out without too much damage, other than to my embarrassment. His embarrassment. The character I playeds embarrassment. I was off work a while though, the wound got infected. I mean he was off work…the character I played was off work. Okay…okay okay, you’ve laboured the point enough there Mr. Pelican. Basically I ended up in hospikle because I pushed some deodorant too far up my anus when ‘experimenting’ with my sexuality. Okay. Happy now? Anyway it wasn’t even my arse actually, it was someone else’s arse. My mate told me about it cos she worked on the 999 switchboard numbers line and told me someone phoned in and told her, on her first shift, that he’d “accidentally” pushed it up his arse. I told her to “fuck off” and said that it was just made-up bollocks. She insisted it was true and then told me that her next call was from a 5 year old girl who’d just watched her dad have what appeared to be a heart attack so I thought fuck me, that’s a bit of a tonal shift there innit, she simply can’t be lying. 

I think the message I take from that is sometimes you’ve got to believe certain things, even though they sound like absolutely, completely, bollocks. 

So, from Birmingham. The Twang. Ya see, even writing that I nearly put “The Enemy’. I always got the two mixed up. Landfill indie. Plodding indie journeymen. 

Or so I thought…

Anyway, the last minute tickets went on sale*** and I thought, eye eye, why not treat the wife, she’s a wonderful girl. So I did. And so, dolled up as best as our minimum wage allows, we jumped on the bus and made the long, long trip to The Wardrobe, Leeds. A gloriously old-skool venue I’ve not visited in many a moon, tucked away at the arse-end of the city, away from the credit card debt,  the glitz and the carnage. Actually the last time we were in The Wardrobe was a trip to see the wonderful quartet ‘The Palms’, a burn brightly Barnsley star who shone brilliantly for a while then faded into normal life and cover bands. They were very good those Palm boys. Classed as ‘Alternative & Punk’ by the iTunes categorical department. But today’s exciting event, it’s the alternative bloody Twang. 

Now, when we arrived, the ‘vibe’ was low key, chilled even. Not what we expected. Mrs. Tangerine had warned me that t’Twang gigs can get lively, with lots of moshing, jumping up and down, bumping into people and as such she suggested that we’d get both A. Lager soaked and 3. Elbowed in the kisser, so I wore my old-skool piss-soaked Converse, some shit jeans and an old band T-Shirt (Public Enemy circa 1990) but we were informed by the security dudes and dudettes on the door that it was “an acoustic gig tonight”. “What?” Oooh boy we were absolutely hopping mad!!! “An anna’fucking’coo’stick gig, you’re fucking kidding!?!!”. “Yep. Acoustic”, security replied, almost in harmony. So as we waited for our tickets to start to refuse to be all downloadable onto my phone an’ shit (all of a sudden my iPhone turned into a ZX81 (a shit computer from years ago for younger readers)) and suddenly use what appeared to be a dial-up modem to get online. It literally (but not actually) took forever. 

“Giz a minute mate, it’s downloading mate. Yeah but there’s people in the queue mate. Yeah but it’s downloading mate, FFS. Fucking acoustic gig, chuff me et cetera.”

Anyway after an age, the ‘e-tickets’ downloaded, and we got in****. Fucking “e-tickets”. Anyway, as warned, there were chairs. A sure sign of acousticosity. Fuck me, Mrs Tangerine WILL be disappointed, she wanted full on carnival and mayhem. So we take our “fucking seats, Jesus”. 

I buy some drinks then go for a piss, and sure enough, several ‘Twangers’ are gathered by the latrines, all Leeds F.C casuals too, kitted out in wonderfully colourful and probably expensive coats and trainers from ‘Oi Polloi’. I slowly and discreetly remove my MUFC enamel pin badge and slip it in to my pocket, whilst, with my other hand, I tightly grab hold of my zombie knife, just in case. 

“Fucking acoustic set, what the fuck is this blud?” I holler, to no one in particular.

“You’re not fucking kidding brethren” they reply, in sweet harmony, a bit like a street corner gospel choir. “Fucking shit” they continue.

At that point, those hearty universal replies and harmonies made me feel like Arthur Scargill (before the financial issues) or Hugo Chávez, the legendary leader of Venezuela. I was leading a revolt, a unification of the working man, right here, live, in the men’s toilets. For a moment I imagined myself being carried aloft by the massed ranks of Twangers and Twangettes, leading the chants and working class anthems, “What do we want, no acoustic, when do we want it…NOW!!!” I’m a working class hero, I’m John Lennon, if only for a few minutes.

Suddenly I was brought back into my real reality by a revolter’s piss cascading down the back of my jeans. “Sorry mate”, the pisser said, embarrassed. “No bother cuz”, I reply. Crestfallen, I return to my seat.

Anyway fuck it, let’s Twang. Albeit acoustically. 

First song, ‘Barney Rubble’. Now even stripped down to 3 acoustic guitars and a tabla, or whatever exotic instrument it is, this song is a banger. And the crowd, stood on chairs, were in high Twang heaven. It’s gunna be difficult to keep a lid on this crowd, cos this crowd want to mosh, and mosh good. This song is wonderful though innit. If you’ve never heard it, do, and if you have, listen to it again. It’s a dollop of reverie, a sprinkle of loss and vague memories about some lass who packed you in when you were 17 cos she said you were immature and my hair was shit, the stupid hairy old slag. 

Where was I? So the band are digging it acoustic styleee. After a couple of songs they ask the football lads to sit and chill, which they do, but they’re up again the minute the next song kicks in anyway. It’s all good natured though, no one’s gunna get battered. Apart from the couple in front. Fuck me, I mean, I know they’re Twangers and we know they’ve travelled far, cos they told us, but get a fucking room please. Tongues down throats, hands down pants. Now I know I’m a sexy man, women just ‘dig’ me yeah, and sure, I dig women too, but fuck off. Not at a gig. The bloke actually had a hard on. I know because I checked. With my hand. Not a semi, a full on stonker. I mean, fair play to him after twelve White Russians but Jesus. This gig is just fucking nuts. As the song goes, “Hoolies to the left of me, fuckers to the right, here’s The Twang,”

It Feels Like, Amsterdam and We’re A Crowd fly by in anthemic QuickTime, the crowd are singing, hugging, the silly cunts in front are now rimming and felching, but the football vibe has gone and it’s chilled as fuck. But good chilled, like you’ve had a nice doobie, not Leeds wine bar chilled. And the between song chit chat is warm, friendly, appreciative. The band (Phil Etheridge, Jon Watkin, Ash Sheehan and Stu Hartland (I hope I’ve got the line-up right)) speaking about surviving as a working band during all the lockdown bollocks, unable to perform the usual gigs of carnage and madness, so their only other option was releasing an acoustic album, digging it, and doing an acoustic tour. Simple as that. 

The bangers continue. Wide Awake, its lad energy stripped away but the lyrics still pepper the crowd, and the crowd spit the lyrics right back. Got Me Sussed is another crowd favourite and this minimalist, light take adds to it’s weight. “What’s it abart?” I ask Mrs. Pelican. “It’s abart a bird giving it that”. You see, I would’ve never have known this if I’d have gone with my twattishness. Two Lovers flies by. Although I watched the video later and it winds me up, one arsehole stringing another arsehole along, as they do, but the song is tickety-boo and double good. 

Anyway, I could go on, and I have. Just to say, 15 songs and effervescent chat has just flown by in a blink, pure indie/punk songs sang in an acoustic styleee and not one bit of plodding flabbiness, apart from those two fucking fuckers who, by now, are absolutely baluxed in the corner making feeble attempts at inebriated fornication covered in ale and probably their own piss. Not a pretty sight, although I’m sure there’s a category somewhere on Pornhub for that special niche stuff. Probably filed between Golden Showers and Scat. But each to their own eh. 

I must say I feel ashamed that I ever slept on The Twang. Well, maybe ashamed is a bit strong. Disappointed maybe. Mind you, even disappointed is making it sound a bit dramatic innit, like I’ve been caught nicking from me mam’s purse or summet. I mean, I felt ashamed when my dad caught me wanking. But if I’m honest, thinking about it weeks later, I don’t know why I felt ashamed, they were his twat mags. What was I supposed to do? If owt, he should’ve hid them better and he should’ve been the one who felt ashamed, not me. 

Maybe he did, maybe he just never said…

So, this gig has the good energy of an open mic in your local, the easy, mellow vibe after the lunatic fringe with the drum machine doing his own version of Firestarter. Cos that didn’t go well***** 

It’s been a beautiful gig. It was just so very simple. Four blokes on stage singing great songs with no pyrotechnics or big balloons. And I love balloons. It was perfect. It was random and chaotic with singalongs and chanters, huge smiles on faces and big-bellied banters, brown paper packages tied up with strings, these are a few of my favourite things et cetera.

So Mr. Pelican sir, may I ask what is your opinion of the The Twang boys now then? Yes you may, and, well, my reply is this. I must say that I’ve been a fool. My arrogance led me astray. I choked on my hutzpah sandwich. There I was in my Red Wing boots stroking my shit fucking beard, smoking my roll-ups thinking I’m it. It’s just indie innit, fodder for the masses. In’deeeeee. And there’s no rush, cos for every Twang they’ll be another Northern Uproar along in five minutes. What a smug twat. I should listen to Mrs. Tangerine more. She said they were ace and she was right Goddamnit and I was wrong but I’m now a convert, a born-again Twangian and now I’m going to stalk The fucking Twang hard, injunction style. They had to work hard to get it, but they’ve won my love. 

Mrs. T isn’t always right though. There was the time when we were on holiday when she said that she didn’t need to check the water depth before she dived in “cos it looks deep enough”. And now, years later, no matter how hard she tries, she can never find an outfit to go with that fucking calliper boot.

*Yoobtoob wars is basically Mrs. Tangerine and I drinking a chilled, delicious Malibu and pineapple, whilst squeezed tightly in a hot bath, listening to algorithm free music on our respective digital devices. It isn’t war, it’s love. 

**Made up bollocks. She would literally (but not actually) have my gonads in a jar if I even suggested such a ridiculous thing.

***Scarlet Mist, the best ‘ethical’ resale ticket service there is.

****Christ knows, I cannae be arsed to check what shite this relates to.

*****I’m breaking the 4th wall here but there was no ‘lunatic with a drum machine…’. That was just a plot device, a contrivance if you will, cunningly devised to suggest that I was the lunatic singing ‘Firestarter’ on an open mic night. Stupid shit that just didn’t happen. I have sang ‘Firestarter’ before, many, many times, the last time with a friend on the Isle of Skye, serenading a load of old bearded jocks in a working men’s club. We were lucky not to be beaten up by the ginger-haired sweaty socks in attendance. Apparently we were being offensive. 

Anyway, from the bottom of my heart, I am Pelican Tangerine and I say that they’ll never take our freedom!