Just the feeling of an empty place deteriorating

There’s something funny going on here – I can’t believe it’s already more than a week since I last posted, and a week since the Rifles came to Gloucester. Honestly, you turn your back, and it’s Sunday already…

Anyway, last weekend saw the visit of East London’s the Rifles to our modest little province, and to be honest, I was gagging for it. Hadn’t seen any music for, well, ages, and having persuaded my friend Tom to join with me, I was looking forward to a good night.

We arrived too late to see much of the first band, local chaps Peppermint Hunting Lodge. I’m generally in favour of bands who manage to incorporate names of sweets into their names – visions of eccentric, quirky Psychedelia spring to mind – so I was disappointed to have missed them, but friends tell me that this wasn’t really what they were about and that they weren’t really up to much…

Next on were a group calling themselves Operator Six, who despite coming down from the frozen North (Bradford) seemed to bring a load of fans with them, and fortunately their own video camera man. They played a series of tight, energetic songs that suggested a lot of self-confidence and a certain knowingness. They didn’t really look like a support band. I really liked them to be honest, and I was pleased to see that there are a number of their tracks available as singles on Emusic. I shall be taking those…

I say “fortunately” because I recorded a few of their songs and all of the Rifles set, but I can only think I put my mic jack in the wrong hole in my IRiver… Anyway, cack-handedness means I have nothing. A real shame.

But, “fortunately”, on YouTube someone has posted two songs from the set. Here we go.

The Rifles

Unfortunately, a search for Rifles and Gloucester on YouTube only brings a few happy memories of the Cherry and Whites at Ashton Gate, which although always worth a watch is not what we’re here for. It does bring me onto the name, though. I don’t think it really does them any favours, to be honest. More than one person that I tried to persuade to come along with me thought that they were a Jam tribute band, and the general vibe about the Rifles seems to be that they are unashamed Weller acolytes. But, to be fair, everyone is these days, why tie yourself down like that?

Whatever, they also played a great set, cranking out a succession of strong, choppy mod-ish pop songs that were high on energy and full of sing-along choruses. There were also some cracking cost-effective guitar breaks that I really liked from Lucas Crowther. I always reckon the sight of glasses flying across the hall is generally a good sign for a gig (plastic glasses, you understand, mostly drained), and such was the evening. And at the front, well it was all kicking off, as they say.

I think originally, the tour was arranged to promote The Rifles second album, but it looks like that’s not ready yet, although there is an EP you get previews of in exchange for your email address, here. The pace dropped a little with the acoustic part of their set – “Spend a Lifetime” and “Narrow Minded Social Club” – and a few of their new songs, but listening to them now, I reckon the new album’s going to be worth hearing.

You probably all know and own a copy of their first album, so there’s not much point in posting anything from it. but there are also a couple of downloads from older stuff available online, including the title track of “No Love Lost”, which somehow didn’t make the cut, though for the life of me I can’t see why – it’s a belter…

No Love Lost


Anyway, as I said, no recordings, but here’s my favourite song, Local Boy, which was the final song in a rousing encore, and is kind of appropriate as we come up to Remembrance Day…

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