An odd situation, this; a debut gig for a band I’ve seen five times already! Let me explain… current “live” faves and one of my “pet bands”, according to my dear lady wife, spiky power-popsters Get Inuit, were contacted by an Inuit throat singer expressing concern about the band appropriating the “Inuit” word in their band name in a derogatory manner. Things escalated and suddenly the band were in the middle of a twitter shitstorm, wrongly accused of racism, when it was only meant as a throwaway pun…”get into it”… “get inuit”,,, get it? The only sensible recourse was to change the damn thing, to something equally throwaway, hence it was now Indoor Pets I was preparing to see for the 6th time! Or is it the first…?
Confused? You will be…! Anyway, to try to regain some momentum potentially lost by this furore, and maintain their “live” edge honed on recent tour support slots with Ash and The Big Moon, the Kent boys decided to hit the road for an early 2018 tour. Thus it was that I hit the M4 to Bristol, circumnavigating the underbelly of the city to avoid the stupid new road layout, and pitched up about 8 directly outside. Drummer Rob was manning the merch stand, so we caught up on recent events before I took a wander upstairs to check out local openers Socket. A young trio, mining a similar C86 jangly powerpop groove to the headliners (and sporting their own floppy fringed, bespectacled Jamie lookalike in the bassist!), their strumalong stuff recalled a toughened-up Chesterfields, with a couple of later exceptions which were a bit Foo Fighters-lite rockier. Plenty of work required here, but a brisk and breezy set for openers, Mr. Specs announcing about this support slot, “we were coming to the show anyway – so we got in for free!”
More practised by far, though, were main support Gaffa Tape Sandy. Another trio, they laid down a couple of early strident bluesy rockers recalling The Subways, then went all Pixies on us, “Pink Neck/ Trainwreck” featuring some “Wave Of Mutilation”-alike loud/ quiet/loud dynamics, creepy bass from the female redhead bassist, and some nice atonal vocal interplay between her and the gregarious, confident guitarist/ main vocalist. Regretting the choice of woolly socks on a hot stage, he remarked, “it’s a different season in my shoes…” and similarly made light of some sweat-induced guitar tuning issues. I do appreciate a singer who sweats for his art, me…! “L’Appel Du Vide”, my set highlight, came across like a sleazy Tex Mex bar-room rocker, and generally this was an impressive, hard-rocking support slot, prompting me to pick up their CDs, to (as the bassist mentioned onstage) help wean them off their exclusively bread tour diet!
A break back at the car and a quick chat with the ubiquitous Jeff bumped us towards showtime, as the Indoor Pets boys set-up to the sound of children’s TV theme tunes over the PA (!), vocalist Jamie spotting me for a quick greeting before they were ready to go. Back on in short order in front of a 2/3rds full but appreciative Louisiana crowd, they burst into a ragged “Mean Heart”, thereafter segueing into the thrashy grunge “Electrify”, prompting a couple of guys to form a violent and manic slamming pit which, from my stage right spot down the front, I managed to steer clear of. Appreciate your enthusiasm, boys, not sure this tiny upstairs room is the right place for it…! “We’re a band called Indoor Pets and we’re brand new!” deadpanned a tongue-in-cheek Jamie before a slightly understated “Coping” ceded to a Wannadies-like newie, “Tread The Water”, bursting with big hooks and crunchy, heavy guitars.
Thankfully very little else has changed from their previous incarnation, as this performance displayed the usual Get Inuit hallmarks; ragged, youthful enthusiasm, kinetic energy, splendid helium vocals and harmonies, and even a curveball or two, in this case a thunderous demolition of Aretha Franklin’s soul classic “Say A Little Prayer”. “Teriyaki” was an off-kilter, hurtling delight, before Jamie reflected that, “it’s been a tricky few months for us,” the subsequent newie “So Soon” impressing with a Silver Sun harmonic opening leading to a seriously earworm hook, a Summer smash in the waiting, if there’s any justice…!
A frenzied mosh greeted closer “Pro Procrastinator” to close out a raw and deliriously thrashy performance. Chatted with the boys on the merch stand afterwards, all buoyed by the enthusiastic reception and gratified that thus far, the name change doesn’t appear to have stalled their momentum. Made my sweaty way home reflecting on this; Get Inuit may be dead, but long live Indoor Pets! An impressive debut!