Die Shellsuit, Die!

An Alternative Music Magazine

Leeds Cockpit - 08/05/2008

Jonah Matranga

This being the Cockpit, and me living in Hull, naturally I managed to miss the opening band.

No matter how hard I try I never seem to be able to get there in time, although being detained at work till gone six and thus not leaving Hull till after seven probably didn’t help matters. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt, and assume they were awesome.

The next band, Attention, were ok. They featured three members of Gratitude (One of Jonah’s old bands) and sounded pretty much like Gratitude without Jonah. Kind of like the 90s never finished. The thing with bands that sound like what is essentially a bygone era is that they’re never as good as the best bands of said era, and since that’s what you remember anything else seems redundant. Kind of like making a new Jaws film, except instead of Roy Schneider you’ve got Leonardo DiCaprio, and instead of a shark you’ve got a really big starfish.

Next up the main man Jonah came on stage and played a few acoustic numbers. This is the format his solo tours have been taking recently, and I have to say it wasn’t quite as sparkling as some of the solo sets I’ve seen - usually there’s a good mix of songs, but the few he played were all gentler numbers, and the acoustic set missed the inclusion of some of the more powerful emotional songs. There was a good reason for this however.

The main event of the night was when the three members of Gratitude from the earlier band joined Jonah on stage to play a selection of songs from Jonah’s previous bands, including Gratitude themselves, Far and New End Original. The forty minutes or so that they were on stage made up for any small inadequacies that had come before and then some. Mr Matranga has an enormous back catalogue, and it was great to hear a good selection of lesser-known tracks, as well as the popular ones that everyone had come to hear (Hostage and Mother Mary being two highlights of a wonderful set). It was kind of like seeing four bands all rolled into one, and I suspect it might be a one off tour which makes it all the more special.

Listen: www.myspace.com/jonahmatranga & www.myspace.com/attention