Monday, August 28, 2006

The Grates / The Hot Puppies Birmingham Bar Academy 27th August

The Hot Puppies. Think late 70's new wave mixed with a little classic Jarvis Cocker and more than a dash of Marianne Faithful. Oh, they've got a theramin too! Bloody good live band with Becky (lead vocals) and Beth (keyboard/backing vocals/theramin) working particularly well together on harmonies. Hot puppies too...

I'd heard The Grates a few months ago on ye olde listening post at ye even older HMV and fell in love with them straight away. 19 20 20 out Yeahs anything the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (a band that they've been compared with) have ever Yeahed. But could they be just as (bad journo trick ahoy) grate live? Well, this has to go down as one of the best gigs I've ever been yes in a word. Lead singer Patience has clearly done a deal with the devil. How anyone can dance none stop and sing like a beautiful banshee at the same time is beyond me. The energy this woman has is amazing (amazing grate...huh...that's much better). Covering most of the tracks from their debut album this Aussie trio deserve to be the biggest band in the world! Ever! Godamn it they're good...just listen...see. If music be the food of love, I'll have Sukkafish and Chips please (this is an album reference, I've not gone mad).

Jeffrey Lewis / NY Howl / Faceometer Jug of Ale 24th August 2006

The Jug of Ale delivered yet another healthy dose of Anti Folk with a bill that opened with the oddly named Faceometer. I'd not seen Mr Ometer (or Will Tattersdill as he is also known) before and know very little about him but he proved most entertaining. At times he appears to be mixing folk with sci fi but does it in a way that avoids any nerdy stuff. Vocally he's like Dylan who can sing (ooh cutting) and is yet another folk influenced artist who deserves to be heard. Now! Have a listen or else.

Next up were New York Howl a newish (formed last year in New York) band fronted by the Geldolfian Andrew Katz (pictured to the left). More jazzy/soully (not really a word that is it?) than Anti Folk they possess a truly awesome sax player who looks like he's been nicked from the E Street Band. In my mind they sum up New York better than a million Strokes (the band not the medical condition...good grief that would be nasty). Judge fer yerself motherfudders.

Finally the man himself...Mrrrrrrrrrrr Jefffffffffffffreyyyyy 'Anti Folk Godhead' Lewwwwissss. As understated as cheese on toast, but just as satisfying, Jeff was on his own tonight after touring with his bro and band earlier in the year. So we got to experience the full stripped back charm of 'Creeping Brain', 'The History of Communism in China' and 'The Red Hand' replete with paper based video. This man is a star. I've said it once and I'll say it again. This man is a star (there, told you I would). If you haven't fallen for him yet, today's the day.

Cud Birmingham Academy 2 16th August 2006

90's indie, don't you just love it? Well, judging by the gathering of men of a certain (ahem) age, quite a few of us do. For the uninitiated, Cud were / are a classic indie band from Leeds packed full of funky toons and a vocalist who sounded a little bit like Barry White's younger (and funkier) brother. Like most great bands they were pretty much ignored back in the day and scored a few low chart placings at a time when faceless dance acts were getting to number one with 'We're all going to Ibiza A Yabba Dabba Doo'. However they inspired a mighty loyal fanbase and copies of their finest work 'Leggy Mambo' kept fetching silly money on ebay, indicating that it 'Cud' be time for a comeback (yes I know, I'm sorry, I can't help it).

A brief national tour was arranged et's like 1991 all over again. And it really was. For a band that's been away well over a decade they seemed pretty damn fresh and full of spunk (in a good way, not in a Tory MP caught in the back of a black cab with a rent boy kind of way). The nearly hits were duly delivered (with the exception of the mighty Through The Roof) and the crowd got hot and sweaty (nothing to do with the dancing, that's just what middle age men do).

Whether we'll see any new material from them is a moo-t point...(see you've missed this haven't you?).

That didn't last long....

Well, after a very brief retirement The Hearing Aid is BACK! BACK!! BACK!!!

I guess I just enjoyed posting random rubbish about music a little too much and hey...there are only 6,487,432 other music blogs out there...oh wait, make that 6,487, 6,487,435...oh balls.

Anywho, we've got a lot to catch up on so it's time for gig round up (just imagine some funky music at this point...a bit like John Craven's Newsround or maybe the theme from Starsky and Hutch...hmmm yes that's better...or maybe a mix of the two...John Craven and Hutch...oh good grief).