The Qwarks Are Not Your Fans. They May Be Your Friends (Live)


They said I would never leave this room gentle reader. They said this care, if you can call the grudging arse wiping and soapy food "care" was respite. But I had an offer. Ted and the hyper-articulate prodigy "Addermyre" were going to Brighton to see the Qwarks. I had been tracking the main band "Fragile Creatures" for some time and so agreed with them that I could travel under their care, rest in the apartment on the seafront, perhaps taking a stroll with the gulls and the pebbles for my constitution and slip into the gig to write a review unannounced.

And so it happened. But my designs were undone, for the best of reasons. It all started with some salmon coloured trousers and a drummer wearing his jumper to keep warm on stage. It started with a hypnotic beat. It started with a chat with the very nice lady selling inexpensive t-shirts by the Qwarks. Once it began, it had to end.

While Ted and Addermyre sought to act as a diplomatic mission to the colonies, I was able to exercise all my critical faculties. I made notes.

The Qwarks strode on stage like men on different missions. They each seem cut from different fabric and yet once they begin to play they weave together. Under ridiculously over-powerful flashing lights they began to reveal their music to a busy and happy crowd in small doses. Like Rock homeopathy if you will. The drummer and basserist capture an understanding that almost makes the audience jealous. Their faces a telegraph system of tics, nods and smiles. Complex and simple ideas live happily alongside each other and this is a rhythm section that devil himself would be proud to have behind him. 

The singer throws musical shapes over this skeleton. Combining reckless charisma with an almost nonchalant self-effacing modesty he plays. He plays the guitar and he plays with expectations. These songs swerve.

My favourite moments were the single that I reviewed recently, We Are Not Fans. A complex song that is all elbows and knees became this lithe athlete for three minutes. Some smiles were knowing. Some were guileless. The audience were right to cheer. This is pop royalty on a small stage.

The next moment was a flash. Gay Bar by Electric 6 is an incredibly risky choice. Simple to execute, but impossible to better, yet from the opening salvo of drums to the final screech they climbed a punk Everest. You should not try and cover this song. They did and they did it well.

Finally Seven Is A Crowd. It coils and uncoils. People start dancing and then stop puzzled. Puzzled people sway and twitch. Sublime musically and yet as simple as one drink too many.

So I had to leave. My veins thrummed and I will have to see  Fragile Creatures another day. And there will be another day, because although I am back in this room that smells of cheap donuts and hand sanitiser I know I can leave it, and I know it is worth it. I think Produkty will be playing again soon. I shall catch the show as they say.