Matt Grocott & The Shrives at Surya
A punk rock group who know exactly what they are, Matt Grocott & The Shrives need a certain type of crowd in a certain type of venue. On this particular evening at Surya, Kings Cross, they found neither.
The band began the night with Cadillac, using the simple 12-bar blues as their harmonic structure, but with plenty more cymbal smashing and frenetic strumming than the usual blues number. It was clear from the outset that these guys were slick – despite the apparent chaos on stage the beat was steady, and the occasional instances of sudden stop time were coordinated perfectly. Lead singer and guitarist Matt Grocott was the one running the show, his loveably unrefined voice pounding out some head-bopping vocals. Either side of him were his guitar side-kicks, the bass player sporting a genuine punk Mohican and the lead guitarist modeling himself unerringly closely on Brian May.
As the set continued, a lack of musical invention quickly became evident. The twangy off-beat set-up for songs like What Are You Takin and When Did You Get Home? was reminiscent of Madness’s Baggy Trousers on a hefty dose of cocaine; the fun was sapped out of the music by a constant wall of sound, and only once or twice were we treated to a brief breakdown in texture that hinted at a slightly lighter form of punk rock, perhaps in the vein of The Libertines. Wonderin provided one of the few moments of coherent vocal melody, leaving the remaining songs to simply sound too similar. It is clear why Turn Me On is their hit track, being perhaps the only song performed on the night with a sing-along chorus.
Overshadowing all of this, however, was the unencouraging environment in which Matt Grocott and his Shrives found themselves performing. Within a small audience in a dingy and tacky music area, only the front two or three attendees felt compelled to aggressively fling their limbs in various directions, and almost all embarrassedly declined the offer from Grocott to clap along to Kiss the Wind. Clearly a talented and confidently self-categorised group of musicians, Matt Grocott and The Shrives were left in the undesirable position of lacking captivating material while performing to a lifeless crowd.
For further information about Matt Grocott & The Shrives and future events visit here.
Watch the official video for When Did You Get Home? here: