The Others
@ Leeds Cockpit

It’s a lot quieter in the Cockpit small room tonight than last year’s sweat-bath. That was their second visit and a celebration of the joys of friendly moshing amongst friends. It was a world where the first album had sold well, festival gigs had gone down great and Dominic had sobered up. There was a magnetism that made boys, girls, everyone want to touch him and a belief in himself that fostered the behaviour. He spent much of the gig leant forward on the supporting hands of his adoring fans.

That was then and tonight after an indifferently received album and a year of record company troubles, The Others face a room full of expectation but lacking the spark of fire. The band spent spring fighting for a new record company deal, despite exceeding expectations with the first and the summer recording the album instead of building word of mouth on the festival circuit. In the speedy world of 2006, guerrilla gigging is just so last year, dahling! Dom still keeps up the personal contact with the fans on his red-hot and busy mobile phone but that fanbase has moved onto whatever is hot this year.

Last November the band bravely played a set of mostly new songs to a crowd expecting the old and they lapped it up. Tonight they play more or less the same set – four old faves and ten off the new album. The band pump it up and the crowd is ready for action but the first few crowd surfing attempts go wobbly – there just aren’t enough people in the moshpit. The rest are standing back, watching (including a lass who I remember being knocked out last year when she bit her lip open). One lad climbs the speakers but loses his bottle when he sees too many gaps to jump into. Some attempt some friendly shoving but it is a tame affair. Dominic seems to have had his magnetism rubbed off and, despite his lanky raffish charms, the wave of mutual adoration between band and singer is not established. Old songs mostly stand out for their big tag-lines (Stan Bowles’ “QPR, nineteen seventy-four”). New songs have less chorus and seem to be a wall of (tuneful) noise for Dom to declaim over. Lackey, the first oldy, is affected by the same rot and passes by uneventfully.

Johnny tries to look Robert Smith cool and sulky on bass while the guitar poses and the drums sweat. Half an hour later we are well into the set and an extended Probate (how rock and roll is that title?) riffs and chugs. It goes down well, thanks to having a slogan chorus like the old stuff. For The Poor occasions the first and only short and well behaved stage invasion before the gig ends after 50 minutes.

I’d spent a month really looking forward to this gig and what I saw was a ‘difficult second album’ gig, one spiralling into the sad obscurity of faded fun. The two gigs I saw last year were truly memorable events and I’d like to see The Others win back that excitement but I don’t know how they’ll do that. Perhaps by not choosing support bands like Dustin’s Bar Mitzvah who would blow any act off the stage with their repertoire of Jimmy White’s On Crack Again, Get Your Mood On and a punked up Total Eclipse Of The Heart (yup, the Bonny Tyler song).

Ross McGibbon