Friday, April 02, 2010

Autumn Stored Up

Moseley Folk Festival, Moseley Park, Birmingham, Friday September 4 2009.
StrangeTime/Shana Tova, The Flapper, Birmingham, Saturday September 12 2009.
The Lemonheads, Irish Centre, Birmingham, Tuesday September 15 2009.
LoveLikeFire/Deluka, The Flapper, Birmingham, Sunday September 20 2009.
Autumn Store Disco Night, Island Bar, Birmingham, Friday September 25 2009.
Golden Silvers/Local Natives/Yes Giantess, Civic Hall Bar, Wolverhampton, Saturday October 10 2009.
StrangeTime/The Black And Reds/Bird Eats Baby, Island Bar, Birmingham, Saturday October 31 2009.
Autumn Store presents The Lovely Eggs/July Days/David Leach, The Victoria, Birmingham, Friday November 13 2009.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs, o2 Academy, Birmingham, Wednesday December 9 2009.
Guttersnipe, The Station, Horsehay, Telford, Saturday December 12 2009.

OK, this should prove to be a breakneck digest of the above gigs, really and truly just for the sake of completeness and to give due props where they're deserved, in turn allowing Parallax View to kickstart the 2010 gig reviewing proper.

We'll be none more digest than the Friday night of the Moseley Folk Festival which is now over six months ago. This was your cautious correspondent's first time in the lovely setting of Moseley Park, and while your eclectic eejit is by no means a diehard folkie, the ambience was rather to our tastes, helped by some decent-ish weather for the most part, some really nice real ale, and some good company from Dunc Autumn Store and his many cohorts, including properly meeting some peops such as AttaGrrl fanzine editor/club promoter Claire G and knitwear entrepeneur-cum-singersongwriter David Leach for the first time. Memories of all the acts are now a little vague but we do remember admiring the threads (and in particular, the shoes) of the guy who goes under the name Theatre of the Absurd, as well as his violent aversion to being compared to Neil Young. Pete Green also put in a predictably entertaining set in the same tent, 'Hey Mr Beeching' the outstanding track.

Outdoors, even a surprise shower couldn't dampen our enthusiasm for Rose Elinor Dougall, the ex-Pipette we'd caught live only a month or so back at Indietracks, so little more to add to a similar set other than to muse she seemed much more confident with her material second time around. Sadly had to miss the aforementioned David Leach set to get a rare chance to see the one and only Frida Hyvonen on the main stage (lest ye forget, her 'Silence Is Wild' album later emerged as Parallax View's Album Of The Year). She was as charming and eccentric as you might expect, given stoic support from two female musicians, one of whom tap-danced at one point if we recall correctly. Frida conceded that 'Dirty Dancing' posed more questions than answers, and promised to discuss it in great detail with anyone who wanted to accompany her for the rest of the festival (needless to say your flabbergasted fuckwit got trampled on in the rush). Elsewhere, The Pastels/Tenniscoats reminded us here and there of Yo La Tengo, and Saint Etienne (who curated the outdoor bills for this opening night of the fest) did a live run-through of their recently re-issued album 'Foxbase Alpha' which was all very pop-tastically nice and slightly surreal at the same time. The night concluded with a lift from Dunc and Deb to Island Bar where your dazed dunderhead lounged around with Ian A, Peter J and Claire G to a backdrop of late 70s/early 80s disco. Don't think we've heard Bowie's 'Let's Dance' played in a proper club for a long time, definitely a nostalgic double-take for these elderly lugholes.

But wait a minute, this is supposed to be a breakneck digest, things are going really badly here and not at all to timescale! So let's remedy things byrushingthroughthenextlotwithoutevenbreathingoranypunctuationatall. Well, mebbe not, but you get the picture, so (deep breath), due to the usual fuck-ups missed most of StrangeTime's gig at The Flapper but what we did see/hear was rather good, didn't really *get* the very popular Shana Tova, but our opinion was clearly in the minority on that one. Also got quite late to The Lemonheads gig at the Irish Centre, so didn't see any supports, but the gig was excellent with Evan Dando & co. in no-nonsense mood that saw little in way of banter between rapidfire selections from their impressive back catalogue, and even finding time for 'All My Life' from Dando's neglected solo masterpiece 'Baby I'm Bored'. Despite the occasional temper tantrum here and there from the singer, musically they were on the money all night, and easily justified the hefty ticket cost.

Got there on time to see LoveLikeFire at The Flapper, but due to other problems no-one seemed to get the bottom of, they only got on stage a hour-and-a-half later than they were expecting, which meant your bemused blogger had to leave halfway through! Support band Deluka put in a polished performance, but the highlight of a curtailed evening's entertainment was that LLF had time to practice 'Delusion', our favourite track from their Dot-to-Dot show which we'd discussed with them earlier, so they could shoehorn it into the set (oh, and also that your charmed correspondent got to plant a smacker on one of Ann Yu's delectable cheekbones, funny how we remember that bit, right?).

The Autumn Store held a disco night the following Friday, which was rather fun and gave yours truly the opportunity to consolidate some acquaintances from the Moseley Folk Fest, as well as bend the ear of the Waldo Jeffers singer, and sing and dance along rather too boisterously once more to The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart's 'Young Adult Friction'. Couple of weeks later, we went to one of those NME Radar Tour thingies at the Civic Hall Bar in Wolves. We enjoyed nodding our heads to the squelchy electro-funk-pop of Yes Giantess, were left slightly cold (True Romance aside) by Golden Silvers' all-too-accurate take on bored-sounding 80s electropop, so in the absence of a sicknote-pulling Marina and the Diamonds it was left to Local Natives to provide the real (he)art to the night's performances, starting with a truly fabulous 'World News' and remaining equally essential throughout the all-too-short set.

Hallowe'en ball at Island Bar beckoned next, with your costume-challenged chunterer turning up as a scary blogger type (the more things change the more they stay the same, eh, reader?). StrangeTime were in fine spiky fettle and we were also really intrigued by Bird Eats Baby (and only partially because we fancied the drummer) while The Black and Reds finished things happily with some properly exciting blues rock which ended with some virtuoso drumming amongst the crowd (we'll draw a veil there as things were getting very vague at this point).

Couple of weeks later and an Autumn Store presentation finally gave us the chance to see David Leach live. Well, we say *see* but due to our naivete concerning The Victoria layout, we find ourselves in a disadvantaged spot where in truth we can only hear him. But we were sufficiently intrigued to buy a CD off the fine fellow anyway, complete with a hand-knitted woollen pouch to boot. In terms of view, things fared only slightly better with The July Days, having somehow got ourselves into a spot where all we could see of the stage was the girl singer's left breast (not like us to complain, we know, but...). Sonically, they were entertaining, but most impressive when they *weren't* trying to be Birmingham's answer to Los Campesinos! At least we did get ourselves into a decent place to see The Lovely Eggs (unlike at Indietracks, where we espied them through a church window) where we sang along quite loudly to their catchy, loveable choons from their really rather excellent 'If You Were Fruit' album.

Our first time at the all-new o2 Academy on Bristol Street to see Yeah Yeah Yeahs was helped along by meeting up with our old blogging compadre and international poker superstar Phill. Our first impressions of the new venue: better stage positioning, better lighting, better sound quality, slightly easier to get served, overall we approve. Although it of course helps when the band is on such fine form and Karen O and her YYYs certainly put on a show worthy of a venue-christening, bringing the qualities of third album 'It's Blitz!' sharply into focus just in time for the End Of Year lists.

Finally, a brief mention for local punk band Guttersnipe who played a storming set of covers upstairs in one of our local boozers a couple of weeks before Xmas, their versions of The Stranglers' 'Something's Gotta Change' and Dead Boys' 'Sonic Reducer' particularly sticking in the mind. It was a riot, in the best possible sense of the term.

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