Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Retro Spankees / Kate Goes / Anyone For Shark? / Finding Calcutta / Tom Peel @ The Rainbow, Digbeth Friday 27th June 2008

Urrrgggggghhhh...I have the mother, father, daughter and son of all hangovers. Here's a tip for you. Don't mix beer, red wine, cider, vodka and coke. Seriously. Not good. Happily I'm typing this with the soothing sounds of Tom Peel in me lugholes. It's actually making me feel better. Hmmm. Tom Peel cures hangovers. Remarkable. He is too. I sort of know Tom. Well, I've spoken to him a few times, shared the odd taxi...that sort of thing, but I'd never seen him perform until tonight. Folk blues for blue folks, witty ditties, ukes, drugs and rock n'roll...(well ukes anyway), he's one of those artists you just can't help falling for. Vocally he's got that angelic quality that you hear in Art Garfunkel's voice, delicate but strong at the same time. Some of the songs are fragile creatures too, drifting in and out like the gentle breeze on a Summer's day. Oh dear. I've gone all Mills and Boon on you. Next I'll be singing Danny Boy and calling you all 'my besht mate...'. Anyway, Tom Peel. Good chap. Dylan meets Adam Green and George Formby at a Nick Drake gig. With jam on top. Respect due to Bom (without his magic drumstick) too, who did a forward role mid set then 'played' the safety barriers with a beer bottle.

Next up...oh balls we've lost it. Oh. hang on. No. There it is. Yes, it's folk rocksters Finding Calcutta. I'm a bit of a old folkie (Steeleye Span anyone?) at heart so FC went down a storm with me. Nico and Sally's vocals work together brilliantly, there's some nice folky guitar breaks and uplifting choruses aplenty. There's a live recording of one of their best tracks Follow Me, from their last 444 Club show on that there myspace thingy.

Anyone For Shark? Oh yes. I'll have shark and chips please, with mushy peas and a pickled egg (pickled eggs...why? It's just so wrong...). The Shark are a real treat. Think a jazzier, funkier version of The Bees and you'll have a good idea of their sound. Some of the tracks bubble along nicely, lulling you gently into that kind of head nodding that people do when they're listening to jazz...then it all goes full on Bonzo Dog Doodah Band nuts. Try to nod along to that and you'd lose your frontal lobe. I can think of no better way to lose my facilities that nodding pieces of my brain away to Anyone For Shark? though, so it's all good. Why the hell aren't there more bands like Anyone For Shark? Feel the funk people...FEEEEEL THE FUNKKKKKKK!

After feeling the funk, let's all feel Kate Goes. Actually that sounds a bit iffy, but you know what I mean. Tonight Kate Goes...spotty. If you've not seen Kate Goes, shame on you. Unless you live somewhere far off and the trains are a bit shit. Or unless you're Robert Mugabe and you're a tool of the highest order. I'm always a bit stuck when it comes to describing the band. There really isn't anyone else like them. The closest I got last night was The Fiery Furnaces meets Sesame Street. They're the sweetest, nuttiest, cleverest, bestest, brightest, lightest, loveliest band in the whole wide world. Ever. Heartbeat is, as I've said a milion times before, a work of genuis. You're the mushy in my peas indeed. There aren't too many songs that I can listen to over and over again, but that's one of 'em.

Still with me? Good. Last up The Retro Spankees. I saw them years ago somewhere and I can't remember where...that's age for you...but I can remember loving 'em enough to buy a CD. Clever, angular indie pop of the kind that you normally have to go back 25 odd years to find. Check out Turf Not Tarmac. If choruses were people that one would be sectioned. Love it. Nice to see plenty of folk dancing away too (hard to resist when the Spankees are in full flow). In fact there were plenty of shapes being pulled all night. Those lovely Sugarstomp DJ's did a fine job of keeping the vibe going in between sets. Nice to catch up with Grandmaster Gareth (lead singer of possibly my favourite band ever Misty's Big Adventure) and fellow bloggers Pete Ashton and Frankie Ward as well (check out her I mean interview...with Kate Goes...damn this hangover). Another corker of a night. Good bands. Good people. Good times. (jeez I sound like an ad for a pizza chain...).

Before I go remember it's Modular electro superstars The Presets on Wednesday night. Glo sticks ahoy!

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