Wednesday, November 14, 2007

School Daze

The Loves/The School/Richard Burke, The Autumn Store @ Island Bar, Suffolk St., Birmingham, Saturday November 3 2007, 9pm.

Various sources advertise the start of tonight's show as 7, 8 or 9pm, so take middle for diddle and head straight to the venue for 8, only to find out have an hour to kill before the bands start. Your stymied scribe opts for a pint of Guinness downstairs and browses the kindly-supplied latest issue of Fused Magazine in one of the window seats to kill some time.

Curiosity finally gets the better of your inquisitive idiot as he heads upstairs about 8.40pm to see what's going on. This is a one-off venue for The Autumn Store nights, which are normally held at the nearby Sunflower Lounge, and it's perhaps best described as a smaller, airier version of Bar Academy with additional boutique trimmings of cake and balloons provided by the promoters giving it the feel of an inclusive private party.

Richard Burke gets things started with a solo acoustic set, although a little help from his friends is needed at various intervals. Richard needs some technical support here and there for the surprising number of glitches for an acoustic set, one of his mates steps in to supply between-song banter, while approximately half of the numbers are written by other people. What Richard does provide himself however is a charming singing voice and a distinctive guitar sound, so things still get off to a promising start.

Head Schoolma'am Liz also supplies keyboard and vox for The Loves, but tonight's jam in the sandwich provides substantial enough fare to be considered worthy of a main course in future. Wishing to sound pretentious your boastful blogger's been into The School since their early demos first appeared on MitherSpace, but it's reassuring to see them perform their pop nuggets in just as charming and beguiling manner as we'd anticipated.

How you react to them may depend on how you feel about the fact that what looks like a toy xylophone is the most prominent instrument stage-front. And yet no manner of self-effacing humour, twee stylings and humility can disguise the fact that Liz's songs are expertly crafted gems set to glisten for many Christmas Futures to come. You'd be mad fool to consider yourself too cool for The School who've recently signed to Elefant Records and look set to reveal their playground mysteries to the wider world come 2008.

The Loves are long enough in the tooth to have done Peel sessions in the past, and offer an artier, edgier indiepop sound with much more obvious rock attitude on display than the support acts. Sadly, however, your time-poor troublemaker has to miss a goodly portion of their set to dash for the last train home, so unfortunately it's a case of The Loves' labours lost upon me...

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home