Wednesday, November 12, 2008

That's The Last Time We Use The Phrase 'Honest, Guv'

Goldfrapp/Eugene McGuinness, Civic Hall, Wolverhampton, Saturday October 25 2008, 8pm.
Fleet Foxes, Space2, Custard Factory, Digbeth, Birmingham, Friday October 31 2008, 9pm.
Aurora Plastic Monster/StRANGEtIME/The Sweethearts/Sweet Talk, 444 Club downstairs at The Sunflower Lounge, off Queensway, Birmingham, Saturday November 8 2008, 8.30pm.
Neon Neon/Yo! Majesty, Glee Club, Hurst Street, Birmingham, Monday November 10 2008, 8.30pm.

Apologies for the recent gap in Parallax View transmission. To get things back started here's a whistlestop runthrough of a few gigs we've been to recently. Starting with Goldfrapp in Wolves, who were supported by Eugene McGuinness who was as personable as his songs were unremarkable, an adequate stopgap mebbe for folk awaiting the new Jeremy Warmsley album, but what's that? There's a new Jeremy Warmsley out? Ah well, Eugene, there's always reality TV. A less modest return is reaped by headliners Goldfrapp, ostensibly here to promote the lovely 'Seventh Tree' collection but mostly getting more reward live from the squelchier dance numbers from their glam stomping mid-period, although 'Caravan Girl' from their latest also travels exceptionally well.

Hallowe'en saw your feeble freak looking pale and ghastly, but we'd left our mask at home, we were just feeling ever so faint from the deadly combination of heavy coat, hot lights and a packed crowd. Bottled water and some fresh air at the back restored our spirits, along with a performance from Fleet Foxes that manage to move less through energy than through a certain transcendence. Overall, they're a bit more jammy, noodly and loquacious compared to their recorded output, but when things click they're genuinely spellbinding.

A week later, a hastily-rearranged line-up sees frequent Parallax View picks StRANGEtIME in lively, rattling form despite arriving with a cymbal short of a drumkit and brandishing some intriguing new songs. Also on the bill were Norwegian rock trio Aurora Plastic Monster who were bold, bruising and Brit-baiting, and The Sweethearts, who perhaps put more effort in their make-up and clothing than in finding genuine musical inspiration. In contrast, local teenagers Sweet Talk were raw and revelatory, with lead singer Amelia proving compulsively watchable working through her range between sex-kitten purr and death-rattle roar, providing perhaps the missing link between Poly Styrene and Courtney Love on songs like 'Pin-Up Girl'.

Two days later, Yo! Majesty nearly have us call the bar staff to get ready with the defribilators when their electronic bass threatens to jumpstart our hearts into the next lifetime. The energy doesn't let up throughout a breakneck set in which they realise their stated intention to get the crowd sweaty and stinky, giving due props to President Elect Obama and exhorting the crowd of anoraked geeks to 'Fuck Dat Shit' to surprisingly little resistance. If they'd have rocked our boat any more we'd have been overboard and swallowing fish.

Main act Neon Neon were relatively sedate, with Gruff Rhys' laconic charm and deadpan placard prompts for 'Applause' easing the audience through a near-chronological rendition of brilliant retro-futurist concept album 'Stainless Style'. Back-projected images of Raquel Welch and cameos from Har Mar Superstar and Yo! Majesty add some kinetic propulsion to the kitsch, with 'Sweat Shop' perhaps working best of all on the night.

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Blogger Ben said...

Can imagine singer-songwritery types being good at the Glee Club, but Neon Neon?!

2:13 AM  
Blogger Dead Kenny said...

Well, to be fair, the seats were taken out, an increasingly common occurence at Glee these days, so Neon Neon were less incongruous. There can't have been many acts played there quite as raucous as Yo! Majesty though...

12:22 AM  

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