Monday, May 29, 2006

Emmy: It's A Viral Thing

Tilly And The Wall/Semi-Finalists/Emmy The Great, Bar Academy, Birmingham, Tuesday May 16 2006.

By the time Dead Kenny gets to the venue self-confessed singer-songwanker Emmy The Great is already past the halfway mark of her folk-punk set. Not much time, then, to make a decision on her songs (although what we hear sounds fine) but time enough for your correspondent to fall instantly in love (tumultous tummy somersaults an' all) with Emmy herself. But what's with the audience - impressively turned-out and good-looking, yes, but sitting down cross-legged like they're about to break into 'kumbaya' or summat? If you want a picnic several nearby parks are available, but this is a rock gig, so stand up, push up, and wig out, or else take up knitting, clueless!

Spend the next few minutes daydreaming of a blissful future where Dead Kenny lives the rest of his years in a secluded cottage, serenaded to sleep each night by Emmy in front of a glowing logfire, before real life intervenes once more in the shape of Semi-Finalists an energetic trio here to promote their recently-released (and really rather good) self-titled debut album. Short people, though, have no reason to play a half-packed Bar Academy if they want to be seen by anybody other than the first four rows, although your correspondent manages to bob and weave sufficiently to get glimpses of our protagonists as they deliver an engaging performance of their pretty prog rock dynamics embellished with a hint of shoegazing fairy dust (shoeglazing, anyone?). They finish with a slow-burning cover of Whitney Houston's 'I Wanna Dance With Somebody' by which time there's no shortage of takers. Show highlight? The ginormous guitar break that gatecrashes halfway through 'Show The Way' (Parallax View made this Single Of The Week way back in November, because, verily, we doth know our shit).

Next up are Tilly And The Wall, 5 Canadians, 3 Girls, 2 Guys, 1 barrel-load of good songs. TATW's USP is that instead of the old-skool larks of having a drummer they provide percussion via one of the girls tap-dancing front-stage. Sounds like hard work but she's sensibly prepared with a Flashdance get-up including wristbands and leotard for the pressure-cooker environment of the Bar Academy which leads the band to describe Birmingham as 'officially the hottest city on the planet'. The problems don't end there, as the female singers constantly find themselves asking for more vocals (these girls like to hear the sound of their own voices, alright). Things soon settle down well enough, though, for a set which resembles the sound of The Arcade Fire if they let their hair down a little, the final flourish provided by a triumphant rendition of new single 'Nights Of The Living Dead' which sees the crowd chanting along to 'I Want To Fuck It Up!' like suitably electrified zombies.

Which just leaves time for Dead Kenny to embarrass himself further by drooling over Emmy The Great some more by the merch stand. Establish embarrassing amount of eye contact straight away, but just before words start to form, nerves fail and your correspondent runs away into the night, flapping and giggling like a salmon caught up in a helium stream. Will just have to send that marriage proposal by email. That'll be OK, won't it?


Blogger Dead Kenny said...

Some photos of Emmy can be found here and here. But paws off: she's mine, muthafuckas!

2:29 PM  

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