Thursday, September 13, 2007

Spanish I's Are Smiling

I'm From Barcelona, Carling Academy 2, Birmingham, Monday September 10 2007.

Maybe it's 'cos it's Monday, maybe it's 'cos your mardy mitherer is a misanthropist at heart, or maybe it's 'cos your late-running linkdumper's tragi-comic lack of organisational skills sees the last conceivably viable train streaked with the scrapings of the skin of his teeth, but your jaded jobsworth has definitely felt more up for a gig than tonight, despite our lingering love for last year's long-player 'Let Me Introduce My Friends'.

Wander into the venue in time to catch the last few numbers from Jeremy Warmsley but sadly we haven't warmed to his wannabe-Wainwright warblings any more than when we caught his show at Summer Sundae last month. It's all very technically proficient but leaves us colder than a frigid igloo, so it's lucky the half-empty venue means at least we can get served our beer much quicker than normal.

This might have just as much to do with the fact that many attending are clearly better prepared for the I'm From Barcelona live experience than your clueless correspondent, because from the moment the supernaturally splendid Swedes burst into 'Treehouse' on stage, the barrage of balloons and confetti released in the Academy is best enjoyed as 'hands-free' entertainment. Even a lithe leopard like your supple scribe struggles not to spill his beverage while flicking a balloon up with one foot and punching it into the air with his fist in a dizzying display of dexterity doomed to descend into dampness.

No such squibs on stage with your unusually curmudgeonly correspondent eventually bullied into bonhomie by the band's good-natured banter and stout-hearted harmonies. Ginger-bearded singer Emanuel Lundgren bemoans the fact that the Birmingham crowd are balloon-murderers but a look around at the grins and bouncing limbs of the crowd and it's clear that the burst vessels are more to do with the Academy's low roof than any murderous intent amongst the mild-mannered massive. Lundgren dedicates 'Oversleeping' to the next morning's hangover, there's a mirthful mosh to instant anthem 'We're From Barcelona' and an impromptu kazoo orchestra corralled on stage for the contagious 'Chicken Pox', all making for a memorable evening from initially less-than-promising circumstances.

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