"If you're drinking Southern Comfort, you're coming with us. If you're on the Red Bull, you're going to be disappointed." Richard Catherall of Gappy Tooth Industries is explaining how this week's Gappy Tooth night is going to become more chilled-out as it progresses.
Mind you, it isn't difficult to be more chilled out than David K Frampton. His experimental electronica cranks the intensity up to 11 within seconds of his getting on stage, and it just gets louder and dirtier from there. Animated artwork from Collective Era provides some much-needed light and shade, but really the performance is just one man and his frenzied bellowing. He gathers an intensely appreciative mini-crowd, but when he pauses mid-set and says "I'm not finished", a voice from behind me yells "We are!"
Toupe are a sorbet to cleanse the palate, which is a polite way of saying they're very silly, interspersing songs with jokes and dodgy hip-hop covers. Bassist Grant keeps the one-liners coming, although he gets fed up with the surprisingly muted response to his banter and by the end of the show is reduced to making Inspector Morse jokes in an attempt to find something an Oxford crowd will react to. By popular vote their music is declared to be "smut-funk".
The Mile High Young Team have a lot to follow, but they're relaxed and assured. The set is a mixture of new material and songs from the Distance Between Them EP. Newie "Becalmed" is a cracker, lyrical sea metaphors melding perfectly with the ocean-like rhythms. (As an aside, I've never understood why a band so lyrically linked to water is called the Mile High Young Team.)
It's a set that sees the band on top form, despite the absence of their cellist. The chemistry between the six members on stage translates into a lovely, chilled-out experience for the rest of us in the room.
It seems that the guy from Gappy Tooth was right: the night did get more chilled out as it went on. The atmosphere at the Wheatsheaf suggests that most people took the Southern Comfort option and came right along with it.