Friday, 30 October 2009

A preview of upcoming reviews!

I have been conspicuous by my absence from OTSD Towers in the last 6 weeks or so, as so many new albums by bands that I love have been released that I was forced to beat a retreat to a darkened room, in order to gorge myself silly on the feast of sounds newly arrived on the Poddage.
The outcome of this enforced blogging sabbatical is that I am fully satiated and so choc-full of opinion about these new albums that I will soon be regaling you with bite-size reviews of long-player efforts by the following;
The Longcut
Nine Black Alps
A Place To Bury Strangers
The Twilight Sad
I Concur
The year's nearly up as well (where did that go then?), so it's time to start thinking about the subjects for our year end polls, I reckon...

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Album - My Gold Mask

Most of the reviews I do for albums are pretty much out of date and have been blogged to death before they land here. But to my knowledge this band is pretty brand new to the UK so you are all cutting edge now. ( ok - thanks to a USA based blog which regularly publishes brilliant new stuff). On top of that, anyone paying any sort of attention will have noticed that I've stopped reviewing albums that are just ok. So its effectively Awesome or Arctic Monkeys from now on.

Fortunately this is Awesome and the good news is you can download the whole thing for about £3.70. You get to choose its worth, which is cool. If you are even tighter than that and want to ruin music for future generations you could just steal the free stuff, be careful though, one too many free download and the tectonic plates collide at high speed and that's you lithosphered right out of here.

Yes it's one of those two person bands where the girl drums and sings live and the bloke musics about the place. On record they share the instruments a bit more and for reassurance its nothing like the Ting Tings. There are certainly some Siouxsie and the Banshees influences but the guitar playing makes it a lot heavier in parts and it doesn't really sound like anyone else. Ten times better and more interesting than Big Pink and you can dance to it.

Link to buy the album or just listen to it.

Its a big thumbs up from me as I think they push the boundaries a bit, but for those who can't be bothered with the whole album thing just download this one for free and hold on tight.

Green Day - O2 Arena London

So I had a few preconceptions about this gig, it was at The Dome which as everyone knows is cursed, next it's a bloody huge hall with 20,000 capacity. The band are definitely past their sell buy date and their last album is a bit iffy. And I get to go in the seats and not on the pitch for what is essentially a pop punk jump around concert.

On the positive side, I have good people with me and alcohol is encouraged.

As support bands go this lot were the worst I've seen in many a year, imagine The New York Dolls with a very degenerative mind disorder and no songs.......never mind. Bloody awful is enough.

The intro music from 21st Century Breakdown starts, the lights dim and the city backdrop appears behind the huge stage. It's about 8.15pm and they are scheduled to play till 10.50pm, this is going to be a long night....or so I thought. The sound quality in the arena is astonishing, it really shouldn't be that good, for a start 20,000 people should have some effect on it.

Green Day were up and running, quite literally crisscrossing the stage to start with and then Billie Joe just legged it into the crowd and halfway into the stadium guitar in hand....and still playing. OK we've seen it before but not at the start of the concert. From this moment onwards everyone was smiling and crucially everyone was included. Playing an inclusive punk rock gig to 20,000 people is some trick to pull off.

Yes they used all the tricks in the book

Big wavy hands
Big clap alongs
Audience members on stage singing songs and then stage diving
Shooting a child
Fireworks and Flames
Really loud bangs
Cover versions
A gun which delivered T Shirts to all areas of the arena.
More audience people on stage
Moshpit creation
Drumsticks a go-go

but most of all the music worked. The dull latest album took on a whole new life and filled the stadium it seemed designed may well be a different kettle of fish at Leeds Festival on a windy evening but that didn't matter tonight. The hits were thrown in at regular intervals as if to keep everyone on their toes.

These vids from the night are amazing quality too.

Know your enemy with crowd surfer at the end oh and BJ goes walkabout again.

We danced, we sang and we waved our arms in the air with the best of them. A three song encore and then back on to finish with a one man 'Good Riddance' (time of your life).

Over two and a half hours and breakneck pace...fantastic

Apparently 'it was always going to be THAT good dad!!'

Monday, 26 October 2009

'Well you ARE going to be good after 21 years dad!'

My daughter Rosie had that exclamation mark in her tone as she delivered the above comment, clearly incredulous at my ability to doubt Green Day before the gig.

By way of background which isn't available on Wiki, my younger daughter loves guitar driven punk pop and pretty much no other music is welcome in her ears. One consequence of her narrow music taste is that bands reappear on the conveyor belt at regular intervals.....'cuddly toy' style for the old folk.

And as a further consequence; in early October I'm the oldest person in the Academy 3 at Manchester University to witness 'Hey Monday' and three other bands. Rosie and her other munchkin friend wisely ditched me within seconds of entering the venue and headed of for the barrier. As this was a total of 10 yards in front of me at the back of the hall I happily propped up the bar and opened my scout style 'be prepared' copy of 'Song's that Saved Your Life'.

At £8 for 4 bands or in my case £8 for a cosy spot of drinking they would have to be really bad to get a poor value badge.

Stereo Skyline appeared ' We're from New York' and then bounced around like Busted talking to the munchkins much like Charlie Clown would at a kids party. (I think the average age must have been 15). At one point I really thought they were playing musical statues, turned out to be a dramatic pause for effect style song. Daughter, friend and a host of new found bouncy friends played in the 3 yards wide 6 people deep moshpit. I'm using this term very loosely here and for real moshpit culture please refer to earlier blogs.

Out of Site were up next 'We're from Buckinghamshire' well it got my attention, where in Buckinghamshire is so bad to mention that you'd use the county name? They had a song call 'When we were young' maybe it was about series 1 of X Factor.

'Every Avenue' were up next, now this was going to be fun. They were the punk pop equivalent of Mud. i.e. every other band has 4 brickies and a pretty boy except for Mud who were 5 brickies.

Other than being stoned, sleazy and shockingly bad at what they do, they had full parental approval.

I'd seen Hey Monday supporting some other American pop combo previously so at least I knew they can play and they make a bit of an effort to entertain. Cassadee had learned to sing too and is good enough a front woman to whip the bouncy castle kids into frenzy. They played the 'hazy shade of winter' rip off song I like and then the blow the candles out was never going to work with mobiles.

It was the last night of the tour so all 4 bands played a cover version of their dad’s favourite Blink 182 tune and risked crowd surfing. It was spontaneous fun and high risk mayhem with the lack of strength and depth to the crowd. I put my book marker in and clapped along.

Rosie and her tiny friends absolutely loved it and as an introduction to indie punk pop bands playing pubs it was perfect. Only 3 years till driving lessons phew.

And so to the other end of the scale Green Day at the O2.

Pets at Home

The final remaining goldfish expired last week, so my daughter and I popped into Pets At Home on Saturday morning to pick up a couple of new ones.

“We’d like some goldfish please”

“No problem, does your tank have a filter” said the bloke with the little net in his hand.

Well, I didn’t know that there were different types of goldfish. Some for bowls and others suitable for tanks with filtration systems. We got the last lot at the fair, just before Soph had put an air rifle pellet into the pikey’s leg on the shooting gallery. Hopefully ours had been bowl fish rather than filter fish.

“No.” I answered unsuspectingly, “they are for a bowl”

“Sorry, I can’t sell you any” he retorted, “it’s company policy not to sell fish unless they are going to a tank with a filtration system.

“Oh, FFS” I thought, but wisely kept to myself. Two options then. Find a different assistant and give the correct answer or buy a tank with a filtration system. I went for the latter, it looks quite smart and when you added in the plants and rocks it set me back nearly a hundred quid. Went home and we set it up.

The instructions on the tank said you had to leave it twenty four hours before you put the fish in, so we returned to Pets at Home yesterday. This time I was ready for them.

“We’d like some goldfish please”

“No problem, does your tank have a filter” said a woman who would have had a net in her hand if I hadn’t collared her whilst she was fiddling with the gerbils.

I was a little worried that I might panic and blow it, but we’d been practicing in the car on the way over and I confidently confirmed that our tank did indeed have a filtration system.

“Excellent” she replied as I breathed a sigh of relief.

“And how long has the tank been set up for?”

I hadn’t been expecting this, but I knew the answer as I’d read the instruction booklet.

“Just over 24 hours”, I replied, with emphasis on the ‘just over’ bit.

“Sorry”, she said, “but we only sell our goldfish to homes where the tanks have been set up for at least a week.”

“Oh FFS!!” Only this time I didn’t just think it. Well I wasn’t going to go home empty handed again, so we had to tactically withdraw for ten minutes and pretend to look at the dog kennels until a different assistant appeared.

And so, for the third time…“We’d like some goldfish please”

“No problem, does your tank have a filter” replied a different woman who was just as well versed in company policy as her colleagues.

“Of course” I responded, trying to give the impression that I would be horrified at the prospect of anyone keeping a goldfish in anything less than the Killer Whale pool at Seaworld.

“Excellent” she replied, sticking to the script.

“And how long has the tank been set up for?”

“Just over a week”, I replied, a certain smug expression firmly on my chops.

“That’s fine”, she said, “what are you after?”

I pointed to a tank containing some really small goldfish. Not much bigger than whitebait really, although I kept that thought to myself as well. I was fairly confident by then that they would have a policy about dusting them in flour and deep frying them.

“We’ll have one of the orange ones please, one of the yellow ones and one of those see-through ones.”

“I’m afraid I can only sell you one at a time. You would need to come back in a week if you want a second one.”

It was my daughters turn for the FFS this time. I was beyond being surprised. If she had told me that I would have the fish transported by air ambulance I wouldn’t have batted an eyelid by now. I know when I’m beaten.

She took all my details on a form, stopping just short of getting a magistrate to verify my identity and we took the orange fish, no longer than an inch long, to the checkout where I paid the £1.22 necessary. I could probably have adopted a child with less fuss.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Mutant Exhibition - One Foot in the Grove

It's Saturday night, we're in London and the world is our lobster, 'right, lets go and see some mutants under the railway arches'.

The first saving grace is that it's in Ladbroke Grove which is a really cool and no longer trendy area of town, you can get seats in restaurants and there are no queues at the bars. It also has a bit of an edgy feel, the kind of streets you're not allowed down as a tourist.

The second is that the living art exhibition we've come to see has been put together by the folk responsible for Trash City at Glastonbury which at least prepared me for the freaks, the flames and the vaudeville. The huge metallic sculptures straight from the set of Mad Max were there as expected, but the bonus was the 'shed' of modern art. (I almost described it as contemporary then but I honestly have no idea what that word means).

Robots pole dancing is a weird concept in itself,

but extreme 1984 style cots next to them would have messed with my head had I not already taken tequila as a precaution.

The Mutant parade / performance started and in those well used words 'it was a health and safety nightmare' but great street art. High powered flame throwers, fire breathing horses and scantily clad women as likely to trip up and breath fire on you as they were to dance shadows on the walls.

I'm outside on a warm evening with lots of pals, a bar and music, it was always going to be fun. Couple this with street theatre, high jump girls and head mess art and all for £2 you can't really go wrong. If you're at a loose end in London in the next week you should nip down there. Santo's mexican restaurant opposite is pretty cool too.

And if all else fails, just score some drugs.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Album - The Young Republic - Balletesque

The Young Republic are peerless, I can't think of one band that's released an Indie Folk Classical Blues Album. It's the broadest combination of big music I've ever heard. Just when your mind settles on a convenient reference, the whole box you were constructing gets ripped apart.

As an album Balletesque is an astonishing work, the variations in style and noise levels are held together by songwriting that few other bands match. The band members are in the main classically trained so of course they can play their instruments but the knack of complementing each other and creating space in amongst some very complex music is almost unique.

It's really difficult to reference to other bands and the nearest I can offer is the feel of 'This is the Sea' by The Waterboys when they were absolutely at the top of their game. 'Bows in Your Arms' rears like Medicine Bow or Be My Enemy, The Alchemist is massive and the classical compositions are possibly where Mike Scott was imagining the music. (But it sounds nothing like The Waterboys)

I'm pretty sure this isn't going to be to everyones taste as it's as unfamiliar as it is traditional, and its never going to be a sing a long Killers style album. The lyrics are more obtuse and the chorus' less repetitive than much of the formulaic and dull white boys play guitar music of the last 3 years. I have my doubts as to whether people spend time listening to albums from start to finish anymore, and as there is no obvious single I'm not sure this album is going to launch The Young Republic into the hearts of the nation. I just hope it sells enough to keep the band together so that we can be treated to more songs of this nature.

And in the end it's always the songs that matter, other than a 10 second intro to the album every song has the potential to be memorable and memories are priceless.

It's still Bloody Brilliant

Buy it here now and get a free EP exclusive to Rough Trade

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Guest Review - LAIBACH

I read a few reviews on your website and I thought I can do that as well even if I am just a German Girl. Well, hardly a girl anymore and maybe not such an expert as you all. So therefore I would like to ask you not to be so strict with me, if I have some mistakes in my spelling or writing etc…..

Some reviews inspired me to expand my music taste and I would like to introduce to you one of the most bizarre Slovenian avant-garde music group. Maybe you like it or you hate it. I have to say I hated them the first time I listened to their songs as they sounded a bit disturbed, but then I started to listen to their lyrics and read about the band history. Therefore

some important details about Laibach before listening to them;

The current band members:

  • Milan Fras - vocals
  • Ivan Novak - lights and projection
  • Mina Špiler or Boris Benko or Jadranka Juras - vocals, synthesizer
  • Janez Gabrič - drums
  • Luka Jamnik - synthesizer
  • Primož Hladnik - (member of Slovenian group Silence) synthesizer
  • Eva Breznikar - (member of Slovenian group Make Up 2) vocals, percussion
  • Nataša Regovec - (former member of Slovenian pop group Make Up 2) vocals, percussion
  • Damjan Bizilj - synthesizer

Music and influence :

Some early Laibach albums were pure industrial, with hard industrial percussions, heavy rhythms, and roaring vocals. Later in the mid-80s, the Laibach sound became more richly layered with samples from classical music including from Gustav Holst’s The Planets. The band began their tradition of cover songs in 1987 with the album Opus Dei, where their sound was changed again.

Some early material by Laibach and later neoclassical releases by the band — such as 1990's Macbeth release — were influential on certain artists within the martial music genre.

Also you can find a Wagnerian influence as you might hear in some of their songs such us "Sympathy for the Devil (Time for a Change)".

If you start thinking now they are extreme right wing, because they took some music material of Richard Wagner, you are on the wrong track.

They do not talk so much about themselves or their political attitude, you have to find out and analyse for yourself what you think what they are! One thing is sure, they are neither right nor left – as Laibach said in an interview:

"We are fascists as much as Hitler was a painter" .

It is up to you to decide for yourself what they actually are. You can discuss it with your friends having a bottle of red wine or cider, but you will have a different conservation with cider as with red wine- my experience.

Their most famous or popular song was “Life is Life” in German “Leben heißt Leben” covered from a lot of “ I would like to be famous and to be on Tele” people. These covers are all for beer tent packed with a lot of drunk people who cannot sit or stand straight anymore and if you say excuse me, could you please mind yourself here, they say “ Uh, can`t you see I am dancing” – and the next minute you see this fantastic dancer in the last corner getting rid off his beer having probably his last dance. Anyway do not like beer tents too many people and they start getting smelly after two hours sitting and drinking – no thanks.

So I think, that is enough information, if you really like them or you like to know more about them, then visit their official website

Here some song links (hopefully they work, otherwise you have to search for them yourself on youtube or not)

( this link could work or not, but to me it looks like not – well, have a try)

(last one and the most historical one of all as it was the song for „Der Mauerfall” West and East Germany 9.November 1989)

I like constructive critic, but I am not accepting nonsense comment by “anonymous” .

Album - The Young Republic - Balletesque

It's Bloody Brilliant

Oh how easy it is to fall to peer pressure. Right, if you want some detailed analysis try here. I'll post my slightly less detailed opinions later.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Album - Noah and the Whale - First Days of Spring

I'm not sure how this happened as under any normal circumstances I would have this lot filed under hippies and relegated them to EOTR sunday morning recovery music. Actually this may be a lot closer to the truth than I'd considered.

My normal cider and friends filter at EOTR festival last year held up quite well and I remember a distinct ' not bad if you like that sort of thing comment'. Their Big Chill appearance was special though, to overcome the poor sound quality at the back I found myself 15 yards from the front really enjoying them. It turns out a lot of the tunes played were from the upcoming album.

Cider and friends filter back in place at Leeds festival I saw 20 minutes and dismissed my previous experience as a one off never to be repeated......then I listened to the album. I've always been a sucker for a violin (I was going to write fiddle there, but it seemed all wrong) since The Pogues or The Waterboys so chucking in whole orchestras of them was always going to get approval.

The album is really uplifting and even if few of the tracks would make Muse look like they are a bit short of kitchen sinks I really like it. I'll been voted out of the jingly jangly guitar appreciation society if I carry on like this, still I can always sit and stroke a fake beard at Green Man festival with Andy I suppose.

I thought the cover was him being bludgeoned by a monkey with a baseball bat. Turns out it's not half that exciting.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

God Ain't Jive

I was too young to see Mott the Hoople the last time they played together in 1974. Well, not necessarily too young, but at nine years of age I was more interested in playing football or cowboys and indians. I was 12 or 13 before I started getting into music. My Mam, noticing that I had started buying LP’s, bought me one at a jumble sale for 10p. She didn’t buy it because she thought I would like Mott the Hoople, as she had no idea who they were. She bought it simply because it was a record and she knew that I had started buying them for myself. It was The Hoople, the one with the girl with the big hair on the cover, the one with Roll Away The Stone on and the one made after the original guitarist and keyboard bloke had moved on. I loved it. Thanks, Mam.

That LP was the last one for the singer too and not long afterwards he moved on and Mott The Hoople were effectively finished. The drummer and bassist persisted for a while as Mott and then British Lions but without their original singer they slipped off the radar.

A few months after I got that LP, I saw a book in Woolworths with a photo of that singer, Ian Hunter, on the front, all curly hair and the ever present sunglasses. At that early teenage stage in my life my usual Woolworths literary preference was for books about Hells Angels, partly for the violence but mainly for the much more explicit descriptions of sex than you got in the likes of James Bond. For years I thought that wiping oil off your hands onto your jeans was more than sufficient foreplay. There wasn’t much sex in Ian Hunters book, but Diary of a Rock and Roll Star was as much of a delight to me as the jumble sale LP had been.

Hunter had kept a travel diary of their tour to America in late ’72, describing in detail the gigs, the travelling and just what it was like to be in a band on tour. He met the stars like Keith Moon and Frank Zappa, he sneaked into Graceland in an unsuccessful attempt to see Elvis but was thrilled to come away with a leaf from his drive, he described his visits to pawn shops in search of old guitars and amps and he told us all about the people that he met whilst travelling and playing the gigs, headlining in small venues, supporting in the bigger ones. It was travel writing in the way I’ve grown to love. Go somewhere and write down what you see and what it makes you think about. No donkey’s, fridges or contrived restrictions to ‘give it an angle’. I’m digressing here and, anyway, I’ve done this rant before. The bottom line is that if the LP had left any doubts, the book had got me hooked.

I started buying Ian Hunter solo LP’s and loved them. I bought one by Bad Company too, because the original Mott the Hoople guitarist Mick Ralphs had joined them after he left Mott, but I wasn’t too impressed. The other band members didn’t really have solo careers worth mentioning and for years it was Hunter who kept my interest.

There was often talk of a Mott the Hoople reunion, most of the band were on good terms with at least some of the others and Mick Ralphs had toured with Ian Hunter a few years back, playing a few Mott songs amongst the Hunter solo stuff. But getting all five back together seemed unlikely. Hunter isn’t one for looking backwards; it’s the current record that catches his attention. Mick Ralphs had gone on to far greater success with Bad Company than Mott the Hoople ever enjoyed. Verden Allen, the keyboard player had played in a few bands but hadn’t been successful, Buffin the drummer had become a Radio 1 Producer and hadn’t picked up his sticks for nearly thirty years. Pete Watts, the bassist, had given up on music altogether, sold all his gear and opened an antique shop. If occasionally a couple of them might have been interested, then the other three never were.

Last year, Verden was talking to Ian at one of Ian’s solo gigs and the subject came up. Verden pointed out that if they didn’t do it soon, then they never would. It’s like lots of things in life, it’s often enough to know that you could do it if you wanted to. Its only when the prospect looks like being taken away from you, that you get that metaphorical silver platform boot up the arse. I suppose I should have mentioned that Hunter is now seventy and the rest of the band are in their mid sixties. This seemed to finally strike a chord with Hunter and he agreed to ask Mick Ralphs. Mick was up for it. He had recently done some Bad Company reunion gigs and was possibly appreciating the benefits of spending some time with your old mates. And I suppose there’s not much on telly these days is there? Verden managed to rope in Pete and Buff and it was on. Forty years after they first got together and thirty five years after they split they would do two nights at the Hammersmith Apollo. The tickets sold out within a day and a third night was added, then a fourth and fifth. A couple of warm up gigs were then scheduled for Monmouth which is close to where four of the band live.

I missed the first Monmouth gig, I’d already got my flight booked back to Teesside that evening and I had stuff to do. Why on Earth I’d deemed anything more important I can’t comprehend now, but anyway I didn’t get there. Apparently it went really well. Buff didn’t show though, it had been announced beforehand that due to ill health he wouldn’t be able to play the full shows, but he would do what he could and Martin Chambers of The Pretenders would fill in for the bits that he couldn’t.

Saturday morning I set off for Monmouth. A clever bit of scheduling by either the Football League or Mott the Hoople meant that I could take in the Boro game at Coventry beforehand. It was one of those rare days where the Boro game wasn’t the focus of my attention though. I listened to Mott live recordings on the way down, hardly able to wait until that evening. The Boro game distracted me for 90 minutes, culminating in us throwing away a certain victory by conceding two goals in the last twelve minutes. I was pissed off for half an hour or so, but it didn’t really matter, I had important things to do.

I arrived in Monmouth about half an hour before the gig was due to start, dumped my gear in an out of town travel lodge and got a taxi to the gig, which was taking place in a former school gym that had been converted into a 400 seater theatre. I was in row 4, about 5 yards from the stage. Buffin was absent again, in hospital with a nosebleed, so Martin Chambers was filling in on the drums once more. When Ian sang the opening line to the first song, Hymn for the Dudes, the hairs stood up on the back of my neck. They went straight into Rock and Roll Queen, a song that was surely a bigger influence on Oasis than The Beatles ever were, before playing Lou Reed’s Sweet Jane. The band all looked as if they were absolutely loving it, Pete Watts especially, as he peered into the crowd from the front of the stage.

They had an acoustic break about a third of the way through where they all sat down for Original Mixed Up Kid and I Wish I was Your Mother, before eventually finishing off with the hits and encoring with the even bigger hits. They brought it to a close with the singalong Saturday Gigs, by which time the crowd had finally got to their feet after spending the rest of the gig bobbing up and down in their seats in that strange seated dancing thing that looks more like they are dying for a piss than anything else.

At the end, a lack of taxis meant I went straight back to my hotel rather than risking a five mile walk later on. I didn’t mind though. I hadn’t ever expected to see Mott play live, so it was such a weird feeling. A bit like when you find yourself temporarily transported back to your youth by the smell of the assembly hall floor or a visit to some longer forgotten holiday destination. There would be a bit more re-living to come as well, with five gigs scheduled for the following week at Hammersmith.

Thanks again, Mam.


Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Slow Club - Live in Leeds

Thats as in playing Live in Leeds as opposed to The Who who do in fact have a dormer bungalow just off Hyde Park. (Leeds not London)

Even in my own self appointed ‘expert on anything’ world I’ll admit I’m no Gok Wan, never the less, I’ve recently become conscious of making a few snap judgments on people based upon their clothing. It’s not even people I’m meeting, just randoms. It may have been subconsciously brought on by reading Mike Scotts opinions on the ubiquitous look of the 15 year to 55 year age group. The summary was scruffy, uninspired and dull…..actually, my favourite look.

And so back to judgements, lets start with UG Boots, I’ve already concluded that the type of person who wears these is ‘not my sort’ . Whereas, I’ve got people who wear hoodies now as good anti fashion people who may be a bit WAY but are no doubt good for a pint or two.

I like all hats and everyone who wears them and I hate the whole football top thing, unless of course its on the players, although even here I think I’d make them wear a shirt and tie if they are on the bench.. Oh yes and the point of this

Brudenel Social club is like a Rupert Bear convention when we arrive, I really like checked shirts. I go all the way back to Big Country and 80’s student life, Andy has always worn his with panache! how could I not like them. This place was more like a moving multicoloured Cluedo board though, I was so tempted to go for the Colonel Mustard in the toilet with the lead piping gag but it may have been misconstrued.

Tonight would be my first time seeing Slow Club and as Pam had offered to take me out and drive me home for my birthday I was all set for a happy time. £2.15 a pint for Strongbow was also going to assist. Thankfully we arrived early enough to bag a seat although the whole student sitting on the floor thing would have suited me just fine.

After a fairly non descript local band, we were treated to a fragile and sultry set from Cate Le Bon. Cate sounds like Nico doing a take on deliberate French accent, well she did until she spoke and then she was clearly Welsh. I sussed this in the middle of the Welsh language song she was singing…..told you the drinks were cheap. Much touted, recently I liked her enough to buy a CD. I know, ‘how many sultry singer songwriters does the world need?’ but I loved her fragility and her humour.

I’d watched Slow Club on Youtube, live performances and videos, on the basis of this I bought the album and loved it well 9/13ths of it. I had high expectations.

From the moment they started the gig unannounced in the middle of the audience I knew I was going to love it. Everything about Slow Club live is wonderful, the between song banter, the audience inclusion, ‘get on stage and dance to this one or we’ll look like prats’ to the snappier versions of the songs. Pam was sober and loved them, I was happyish and really loved them, people sang, people danced, people laughed, everyone smiled. They played all the songs I knew and a few more, then they hit the 11pm curfew. No worries…lets all head outside to the smoking area………and carry on.

I can’t recommend them too highly. They are playing Crewe next week and the first time anything mildly interesting happens in Crewe and I’m out of the country. Must see at any festival next year chaps.

Oh yeah, they disappear in a woosh of smoke at the end too