This was my first ever visit to the Cavern. And I’ve discovered that it is a brilliant music venue. In my home county of Kent, my experience of small pub sized venues/clubs is far too much smoke (I know that lots of people are addicted and can’t help it, but I still think smoking is the most stupid and annoying thing in the world – apart from people who have just smoked dope!) and a really awful sound. Well, the Cavern wasn’t that smoky and it had a really good sound. It was pretty tiny, but it was still really easy to see the bands from wherever you stood.

Devon’s own Robolint were really fun. They were a ska punk band, which is a style of music that demands really catchy material, but they delivered on that front. They had some really great stuff, but also had tons of little snappy bits of songs that got everyone bouncing. It really made me wish I knew the words. Not taking themselves too seriously, the band were constantly involved in insane banter with their friends in the crowd, which was really funny. They really got the crowd’s excitement levels up, and had all the kids skanking and bouncing about. Little more can be asked for from a support band. Top stuff.

Next up were the fantastic Sixty Stories, from Winnipeg in Canada. I don’t think anyone in the crowd knew their music, so the response was a little more muted. They were pretty damned amazing all the same though, despite the fact that their little keyboard packed up after one song. They play emo-pop, with some incredible guitar parts from lead singer Jo Snyder and great three part harmonies the stand out features. This is a really great and really enjoyable band that I whole-heartedly recommend, so why not check out their album, 'Anthem Red' on Smallman Records (distributed by Hopeless!)? I did, after this show, and was blown away.

After that it was the main feature. Atom was on stage with only a mike, a CD player and a guitar for company. It’s the oddest stage set up I’ve ever witnessed, but this was also one of the very best shows I’ve ever seen. He played the excellent 'I’m Downright Amazed At What I Can Destroy With Just A Hammer', the anthemic '(Lord, It’s Hard To Be Happy When You’re Not) Using The Metric System' and the adorable 'Does Anyone Else In This Room Want To Marry His Or Her Own Grandmother?'

There were some hilarious moments, and some good-natured heckling. A good example is the genius story explaining the song 'Shopping Spree'. Essentially Atom was in a bar with his friend Shawn-Na Na (the ‘older brother’ of Har Mar Superstar, by the way!) and they were watching a terrible cock rock band- the Dalai Llamas - who by some fluke managed to write this amazingly catchy song called 'Shopping Spree'. Then they played a bunch of rubbish songs, so Atom and Shawn started calling out for 'Shopping Spree'. The band (“at this point they didn’t realise that we were complete assholes!”) started going, “yeah they love us” and played it again. Atom and Shawn got up, danced and sang along. Then it ended, the band started playing some more horrible rock. After a while, it became apparent they had no more good songs. So they called out again, “SHOPPING SPREE! SHOPPING SPREE!” and the band were like, whatever, we’ll play it again. Again, Atom and Shawn went down the front, sang and danced along. It wasn’t until they’d played it five times that they realised Atom and Shawn were complete assholes!! Anyway, this led to a situation where Atom & Shawn both agreed to steal this song and release it as a split single. Gloriously, Atom’s version is an explanation of how this band the Dalai Llamas came to steal his song, 'Shopping Spree'. It’s a bit cheeky, but also brilliant. Of course, and I guess this always happens, the rest of the set was punctuated with regular calls for 'Shopping Spree'. All however are declined.

This was a perfect show. There was genuine musical originality and brilliance. There were sweet, heart-warming songs. There was hilarious banter. Intelligent issues were addressed in an intelligent way. And there was a whole load of people dancing, singing and having an amazing time. You really could ask for nothing more.












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Commenting On: Cavern, Exeter, 15/5/2003 - Atom and His Package, Sixty Stories and








ie London, England

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