Live Review: Little Comets at Bath Komedia

By Live4ever - Posted on 04 Nov 2019 at 7:41am

Little Comets live in Leeds. Oct 2019. (Scott Smith for Live4ever)

Little Comets live in Leeds. Oct 2019. (Scott Smith for Live4ever)

Some things transcend the passage of time, taste and fashion. Joyous, upbeat guitar led music is one of them.

Little Comets have been operating for over a decade now and it would be fair to say that, despite their successes, they’ve sadly never permeated the mainstream. It’s a crying shame but doesn’t seem to bother the band one iota, and on tonight’s showing it’s clear why: they have a staunchly loyal following, and it seems to be one that regenerates itself.

Surveying the audience, the majority of those in attendance tonight (November 1st) would’ve been in single figures when Little Comets’ debut album was released. In the natural order of things, these kids should be watching unsigned bands, not one that’s four albums in.

It’s even more remarkable that tonight’s gig is ostensibly to promote or celebrate said debut, In Search Of Elusive Little Comets, which has recently been re-recorded. Singer Rob Coles recounts the circumstances surrounding why from the stage, that being that their original label wouldn’t support a reissue on vinyl so the band took it upon themselves to record a new version, as live in the studio.

A large chunk of the set consists of tracks taken from that album, the crowd singing along with Coles’ passionate vocals on Joanna and the itchy Adultery amongst others, and then dancing along in sync to, well, Dancing Song.

Paradoxically, the chirpy optimism of the album has clearly stood the test of time and yet they’ve come a long way since then. A Bientot, lifted from 2017’s Worhead, features marauding drumming (although the drums sound mighty all night), dramatic vocals and Edge chiming guitar. Meanwhile, The Man Who Wrote Thriller, from the same album, manages to be both pensive and catchy. The Western Boy is intense, while Little Italy’s orchestral arrangement, or the overall chunkiness of Hunting, are good examples of their increasing maturity when contrasted to the despairing vocals and squealing guitar on Darling Alistair, or the charming restlessness of Jennifer.

The even newer material is yet another step on. M62 starts slowly with just vocals and soft guitar before the rest of the band comes for an onslaught. Likewise, Alive At All is more muscular and fully formed than on record. Both have been released in the last two years and bode well, but best of all is closer 3 Minute Faltz, as Coles removes guitar, takes to the piano and delivers some excellent wordplay before the track turns on its head with a fist pumping, unifying chorus. It’s brave to finish on a newer track given how well the earlier stuff has gone down, but Little Comets walk that tightrope between looking back and facing the future well.

You can’t move without seeing a smile, either from crowd or band. The five-some have the aura of people who know they have the best job in the world and are grateful for it.

A stark, potentially bleak and bitter winter is coming, yet Little Comets always give reason to be hopeful.

Richard Bowes

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