Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Gig Review Ketchup - Winter's Tales

Kate Goes/Anarchist Cookbook/Eat Yrself Pretty/Sonic Delays, Island Bar, Birmingham, Friday January 22, 2010.
Falling And Laughing presents: Kidnapper Bell/Theatre Of The Absurd/Cast and Crew, The Victoria, Birmingham, Saturday February 6 2010.
The Scholars/Chapel Club, The Flapper, Birmingham, Saturday February 13 2010.
Los Campesinos!, The Rainbow, Birmingham, Monday March 1 2010.
Blood Red Shoes, Academy 3, Birmingham, Tuesday March 2 2010.
Spotlight Kid/Sea Fields/This/Broadcast, The Victoria, Birmingham, Saturday March 13 2010.
The Autumn Store presents: The School/Pagan Wanderer Lu/Falling And Laughing, The Victoria, Birmingham, Saturday March 20 2010.
Emma Pollock/Josh Pyke, Hare & Hounds, Birmingham, Sunday March 21 2010.
The Failures Union/Joyous/Bronze Medals, Alchemy Bar, Wolverhampton, Monday March 29 2010.
The Besnard Lakes/Wolf People/Mr Bones & The Dreamers, Hare & Hounds, Birmingham, Tuesday March 30 2010.


2010's gigging started off promisingly with some random, drunk, but undeniably rather attractive blonde punter cajoling your at-this-point-sober altruist into conversation at the top of the Island Bar stairs. But if a more literal icebreaker was needed the cocktail barman provided it by smashing ice shards over your shaken-but-not-stirred so-and-so as he applied a big hammer to a large bag of the stuff. The icicles work in shifting Kate Goes from bar to stage, who provide their usual brand of rather entertaining singalonga-folk-punk thang before becoming Kate Went. Anarchist Cookbook are perhaps still in the process of sorting out all their ingredients (post-punk, emo, stadium rock) rather than providing us with the finished product just yet, but a few technical difficulties aside, they certainly whetted our appetites. Also on the bill were Eat Yrself Pretty (not quite as interesting as their name, but they tried hard) and The Sonic Delays (had to leave after a coupla songs to catch my train, so jury out). Oh, and almost forgot, regular PV commenter Russ L was also in attendance, having not got in somewhere else.

A couple of weeks later, Cast And Crew (a bit of a misnomer for a solo act) are already on when your hustling hack bustled into the Victoria, but we found the act a pleasing 'extra' to the evening's entertainment. Theatre Of The Absurd was meant to be a group thang but just the singer turned up, and without being particularly theatrical or absurd, proved perfectly watchable fare nevertheless. Dunc Autumn Store's band Falling And Laughing provided the missing link between The Wedding Present and contemporary indie-pop, with drummer Darrell providing inspiration and perspiration with a sweatchart to monitor his gland secretions while pounding the skins. Kidnapper Bell stole the show, however, with some rousing, anthemic indie-rock of undeniably commercial proportion.

One week on, and a double-bill of gloom-pop courtesy of The Scholars and Chapel Club at The Flapper proved suitably intriguing, without either band quite nailing it. Works in progress, then, quite apt given their erudite nomenclatures. March brought us new shows by old favourites Los Campesinos! and Blood Red Shoes: we're still not overly convinced by LC!'s 'Romance Is Boring' album but this was possibly their most impressive live performance yet, and we heartily approved of the comely new keyboard player, while your boisterous blogger probably annoyed all around him by singing along to BRS' brilliant 'Colours Fade' but, ah never mind, it'll all come out with the wash...

A triple-bill of shoegaze stuff courtesy of Sound of Confusion at The Victoria saw openers This/Broadcast deliver a taut, powerful but melodic set that swept away the disappointing Sea Fields and stayed in the memory longer than Spotlight Kid's engaging headline turn.

The following weekend belonged to the ladies, your drooling diarist totally spoiled by a one-two of Liz Hunt from The School and former Delgado Emma Pollock. A packed Victoria saw more Falling And Laughing (sans sweat chart, this time) and an impressive solo turn from Pagan Wanderer Lu before The School provided plenty of shimmy and shine in bringing wonderful new album 'Loveless Unbeliever' to life on stage, 'Can't Understand' comprehensibly standing out amongst the newer choons. We managed to snag an advanced copy of said album from Liz herself after the show, unsealed, signed, and delivered with a kiss (OK we're not too proud to admit we had to pester a bit for the latter).

Thanks to some navigational nous from the aforementioned Russ L your enthusiastic explorer made his way for the first time to the Hare & Hounds in deepest Moseley, lured in by the siren call of Emma Pollock with whom we managed to brush shoulders and wag chins after a brave and beautiful performance of the stunning selection of songs she presents on her criminally overlooked second album 'The Law Of Large Numbers', in the afterglow of which we even warmed to Aussie troubadour Josh Pyke's Radio 2-style acoustic anthems.

We just about managed to make it alive to the Alchemy Bar in Wolverhampton for an Out Of Step gig promotion, after being approached by several ne'er-do-wells on the short approach from train station to venue. Bronze Medals sounded tuneful and promising enough maybe to go for gold sooner or later, while Joyous were bouncy and big-beat but somehow left us feeling a little deflated, although touring US band The Failures Union notched things up several levels with a tight, powerful set of heavy, harmonising bar-blues indie-rock, like The Hold Steady on Human Growth Hormones, or something. Join up now.

Was back at the Hare & Hounds by the end of March to witness long-time faves The Besnard Lakes for the first time in the flesh, a flagship event also marked by being on the receiving end of a quite wonderful smile from self-styled professional smiler Rachel Marclar Plant on the door. The support was so-so: locals Mr Bones And The Dreamers charmed and irritated in equal measure, while Wolf People went down well with the crowd, but were a bit too conventional blues-rawk for your hard-to-please hack.

The Besnard Lakes though, were something else: all crazy hair, ridiculous amounts of dry ice, some fantastic guitar playing, and of course those gorgeous harmonies, all brewed nicely into an intoxicating evening's entertainment. Which is by way of our excuse for being the loudest bellower in cajoling the guitarist from out of the gents and join in with the encore. We'll hand out ear plugs next time, promise.

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Anonymous Russ L said...

I've been waiting for this.

Only seven months to go and you're up to date!

9:12 AM  

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