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The Franceens

Having covered a few other bands at The Corporation Club (The Nightingales, Crumplehorns, Trust Fund...) I'm definitely beginning to see it as one of the few beacons of passionate, interesting live music left in Scarborough.

Hailing from my own hometown of Whitby, Dirty Pearls were the first band on the bill, kicking off the evening in a fine and fiery fashion - why ramp up slowly when you can come out all guns blazing?

Starting with their version of The Rolling Stones' 'Jumpin' Jack Flash', the band soon moved on to playing some of their own material, and I think that the fact I actually preferred this to the covers stands testament to how good the original songs were. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing them again when they've added even more original sounds to their repertoire.

For a group consisting of only three members, Dirty Pearls definitely made an excellent amount of noise (in the best possible sense), and really got the small but appreciative crowd going - not always an easy task as the first band on the bill.

The final song of their set was a rousing cover of Jet's all-too-famous 'Are You Gonna Be My Girl?', which they certainly succeeded in making their own.

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Following on in rapid succession were York's The Franceens, a local(ish) band that I am sorry to say I had never heard of before recently.

It'd be easy but a little reductive to describe their sound in terms of the bands they sort of reminded me of - The Gories, The Hives, The New Bomb Turks, The Dirtbombs - as that wouldn't quite manage to capture the frankly incredible levels of energy they brought to this gig.

Playing a loud, brash, crashing brand of punky garage rock that could easily have become boring but never did, The Franceens absolutely tore their way through both the set and the audience's eardrums, with guitar, bass and rums colliding to create an absolutely gorgeous cataclysm of sound.

For a live band, though, having good songs and a solid sound is only half the battle - you need to really grab the audience's attention and never let go if you want to be memorable. 'Memorable', actually, is probably to weak a word; I think it's fair to say that no one sat in the Corporation Club took their eyes from the stage for even a second of the band's performance.

Lead singer/guitarist Dan Oliver Gott was like a man possessed, rarely even bothering to stay on-stage - he was in the audience, on the audience, and up on tables on more than one occasion. I can also add him as the first person on my newly started list: 'Musicians I've seen play with a bin on their head' (the bin had a picture of a pug on it, if you're interested).

That wasn't the only moment of levity during their full-throttle rock'n'roll assault either, as The Franceens proved themselves to be consistently amusing and personable during mid-song chatter, discussing topics such as the irritation caused by new guitar strings and the 'risks' of living in that dirty dangerous metropolis of crime-ridden York...

All in all, I think the song which will stick with me most from the evening is 'Stone'. As a slice of punchy melodic garage rock, it was beyond compare, but it was Gott's spiel about the creation of the song beforehand that really made it resonate, as he explained his frustration felt at the people who say they love live music but do little to support it, preferring to just stay in of an evening watching Corrie or Strictly Britain Factor or whatever.

Those people definitely missed out, anyway - both The Franceens and Dirty Pearls were both outstanding examples of why live, local music matters, and why it's always worth supporting.

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