The poster said POPE with a slightly smaller The Chords below it, so what to expect ?
Well I hoped for something that was going to be good, exciting and hopefully not looking back too much. Did I get what I wanted , well ….
The man on the moon is a pub venue, better than most i.e it has a good PA and a stage, it's small but is just the right place for getting a vibe going with a crowd. Not that you would get a big crowd, because there isn’t the room. Anyways, no support band but a disco only.
At the moment POPE want to be judged on their present output, but The Chords are always going to be hanging in the air. Now I think they did the right thing, the crowd wanted some Chords tunes and they were not disappointed, but if you are a Chords' fan you should be forward thinking anyways, and let them play new stuff, something that SLF should learn.
So what you got was basically the LP stripped down with the odd Chords' song thrown in. Song wise POPE are spot on, Chris’s lyrics are still as pissed off and bitter as ever, but he has never lost hope. ‘Friends’ opened the set and got us in the mood, ‘Quit’ followed, but the evening was kick-started with the first Chords' number ‘Now it’s Gone’ - it got the crowd going, me especially. With the song done everyone started to realise that they can still play and the ears were firmly pricked up and we were up for a good night.
The set continued with POPE songs interjected with Chords numbers. ‘Getting it’ , ‘Don’t You Ever Let It Get You Down’, ‘British Way Of Life’, ‘Another Day In England’ , ‘Something's Missing’, ‘Any Fool Knows’, and to end ‘Brave New world’.
All the songs are strong , some have heavier leanings than others in terms of influence from elsewhere, Brave New World’s bass line borrows from Heroes, by Bowie. Sounds wise the Guitar is as you would expect - high in the mix, drums are not as mad as you would expect from Buddy but still rocking, and then bass underpins it all, but not that boring dum dum that everyone plays now, but runs that compliment the songs. Enough techy stuff.
The crowd was entertained and wanted more. Two encores followed ‘World Between Us ‘ and what a large part of the crowd was waiting for - ‘Maybe Tomorrow’.
‘Maybe Tomorrow’ got everybody going mad and it is a song that pulls you that way. One slight criticism is that for Chris to sing it they have to alter the key, which means that some of the guitar kick gets lost. I have no solution for this other than someone kicking Chris in the balls before the start.
I think if POPE play enough and get the songs over there is no reason why they won't become as classic as the Chords numbers. And that’s were the problem for me is ? Where do POPE go with this? They need to be played on the radio or promoted some way.
As a band they can certainly play and have enough oomph to send anyone away happy. Chris can play that guitar and the rest are brill, especially Buddy's drumming. But in this modern world i.e. where MTV, the AMP or VH1 help break bands they need an image or at least a make over. They don’t have to be pin-ups but they do need something that brings them together. And I definitely don’t mean your standard MOD suits.
So should you buy the LP? Yes you bloody should. Should you go and see them play, yes you should because this knocks spots off a lot of younger bands, and before you are thinking, yeh I bet this is written by some old MOD, in the last month I have been to see ‘We are Scientist’, have tickets for the Editors and I am listening to more new music now then I ever did.
Anyways all praise to the POPE !
Unashamed Chords fan!