Sunday, January 03, 2016

Present and incorrect


Pixel Fix are, as one of my companions for the evening Rob quite rightly suggests, "a band you'd hate if they were popular". Not that they don't make a pretty good fist of being irritating even though they're local unknowns playing in front of a handful of people: an apparent Libertines influence, a bassist who seems to have learnt his style and moves from Level 42, the sort of youthfulness that can instantly grate on an embittered reviewer in his mid-thirties. The last song, replete with nicely chiming guitars, is decent enough, though.

The chalkboard outside the venue announces that tonight's headliners are called "The Errors". A clever joke? I'll give them the benefit of the doubt.

It's just over two years since Errors were last in town. Given that, once again, they're playing upstairs at the Jericho and, once again, their nominal frontman is wearing a Prince T-shirt, we're entitled to feel a sense of deja vu and to wonder what exactly has changed in the intervening period. Well, the venue's been tarted up, while the band have lost a member and put out another album, Have Some Faith In Magic, but ultimately little else. Errors remain Holy Fuck on a shoestring budget, their songs retaining similarities with fellow Glaswegians Arab Strap's rudimentary electronica, and only partially satisfying as a result.

If I was to attempt to pinpoint the issue, it would be to suggest (perhaps unusually for me) that they pare back the guitars and focus more closely on the electronics and on getting feet moving rather than merely heads nodding. It's also worth noting, though, that they're not helped by circumstances, the Jericho's usually reliable sound man struggling to get the volume of the drums at the right level.

Nevertheless, there's a general atmosphere of bonhomie and conviviality between band and crowd, not least because many of Oxford's Scottish exiles have been drawn to the Jericho by the prospect of some of their own passing through. One such exile, my other companion Niall, is surprised to discover that the tour manager manning the merchandising stall is his neighbour from home. It's a small world all right. And that, in a nutshell, is Errors' current problem.

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