Thursday, April 30, 2009

Fancy a Margarita?

Pooh. It's raining. Who stole the sun? No matter, I have the cure, musically speaking at least. The Anomalies new single 'Margarita' is a slice of summer sun, guaranteed to get you dancing around in your pants and slapping on the Factor 50...granted you might contract Piggy Flu but what the hey?! If you're going to go out, go out dancing. Kicking off (appropriately enough...if you believe the media we're all going to DIE!!!! Aggghhhhh) with the sound of sirens it quickly settles in to the kind of skanking monster that the magnificent Madness used to do so well. In fact, listening to the lyrics there's a little of My Girl in there too. As with most of the stuff from The Anomalies classic debut album, Free Soup Social, it's a little bit nuts, but all the more loveable for it. Word is that Zane Lowe (who now just reminds me of an extra from Flight Of The Conchords) has latched on to the band, joining a clutch of other musical tastemakers. Their time cometh...

'Margarita' is out on 1st June on Beyond Music....but why not just buy the album instead...or download it (legally of course) or whatever you crazy kids do these days.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Elvis Costello & The Brodsky Quartet @ The Symphony Hall, Friday 24th April 2009

Pictures courtesy of DRW-images

Elvis is alive and well and appearing in the Symphony Hall, obviously not THAT Elvis…the other one…Mr Costello, although one of the door staff did have a bit of a grey quiff…so you never know.

I’m a bit of an Elvis Costello fan, more so of his early work (Pump It Up Oliver’s Army, Watching The Detectives, I Can’t Stand Up for Falling Down…wonderful, wonderful new wave stuff). I dabbled in some of his later material, Good Year For The Roses, Pills and Soap, but I’ve not really kept up with much of his recent output though.

Tonight then was a splendid opportunity to catch up with Elvis MMIX, backed by long standing collaborators The Brodsky Quartet in the rather sumptuous surroundings of Birmingham’s Symphony Hall. On paper this billing could be a bit of a dog’s dinner. New Wave artist (yes I know he’s so much more than that but, in my head I’m still hearing Pump It Up) meets chamber music. But, if anyone can make it work, it’s Elvis. A quick glance through his CV reveals the odd classical album, some blues and jazz stuff, ballet (scoring…not performing), the Rugrats movie and a guest appearance on the last Fall Out Boy album. Elvis leaves no genre unturned (in fact you can probably expect a Death Metal album sometime soon).

Listening to the opening number, ‘Accidents Will Happen’ it struck me that tonight was the musical equivalent of welding the front of a Golf GTi to the back of a Rolls Royce. Both are fine vehicles in their own right, but together there’s something just a bit strange about it all. Bold certainly. Enjoyable, definitely. But, yep, just a little odd. Elvis himself is a talented vocalist and, time after time tonight you got the sense that he was pushing that voice as far as it would go, often moving away from the microphone altogether and going ‘au natural’. Happily the acoustics in The Symphony Hall made these moments some of the most memorable.

Then you’ve got the rich, lush sweeping strings of The Brodsky Quartet. A group that’s been around (in one form or another) even longer than Elvis (they formed in 1972). As far as classical music goes I’m probably like your average Joe in the street. I know my Brahms from my elbow and that’s about it. But tonight the Brods stirred something deep within and often the juxtaposition of the very old and the relatively new worked really well, against all the odds. As the evening wore on I (and I sense Elvis too) settled in to it all. The set borrowed heavily (and understandably) from the Elvis and Brodsky collaboration, 1993’s ‘Juliet Letters’, but we had a few new songs too. At least one of which, the splendid, ‘Down Among The Wines And Spirits’ is set to appear on forthcoming album 'The Secret, The Profane and The Sugarcane'.

The highlight for me though was a moving reworking of Shipbuilding (covered so memorably by the wheeled god himself, Mr Robert Wyatt). Written about the Falklands war it’s sheer poetry and, although nothing could come close to Wyatt’s version, Elvis’ new interpretation still hit the spot. I also enjoyed being reminded of just how good his anti-Thatcher anthem ‘Pills and Soap’ (released under the name The Imposter during 1983’s election campaign) is. Not heard it for years, but it has to be one of his best and tonight’s arrangement was one of the most successful of the evening.
Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis IS alive and well…

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Virgins / Amazing Baby / Chew Lips @ The Rainbow, Tuesday 21st April 2009

Picture courtesy of Drw-Images

According to the news before I left home for this gig the sun is starting to go out (well it's getting 'quiet'...I didn't realise it was ever noisy, but then I'm a little deaf). On top of that all the bees are dying off and gangs of crack addicted Magpies (I made up the crack bit...although the one in my garden is using those bits of tin foil for something) are taking over the world. So, given that we're all soon going to be plunged into a dark, cold, unpollinated planet ruled by giant Magpies we might as well go out to a decent soundtrack. Tonight's threesome wouldn't be a bad choice.

First up Chew Lips (NB: chewing your lips can be dangerous...always consult your Doctor before embarking on a change of diet). Lead Lip, Tigs I think she's called (awwww...that's real cute), has a surpisingly powerful live voice for a pop act. I mean real powerful. I could almost hear her belting out some torch songs in 1920's Berlin. Musically they're (in their words) 'electro drone''s a pretty accurate description with a soundtrack that comes off a little like an 80's arcade game. Put the two together and it works really well, perhaps that's why they've had a single released by 'cooler than a polar bear's testicles' French label Kitsune. All in all, Chewriffic.

Next up Amazing Baby, who I think split the audience a little. I, being relentlessly positive about pretty much any band with a pulse, rather liked their Ziggy era Bowie glam rock / Stooges blend. In fact, when I shut my eyes whilst listening to Pump Your Brakes, I could almost smell Dame David himself...hmmmm glittery. Have a listen for yourself....that 'baaaaaaby oh oh oh oh oh' bit is pure Bowie. If you're gonna take inspiration from anyone, take it from the best. Some brilliant fret wanking and poodle hair rock moments in a classy (and rather loud...especially 6 inches from the speaker) set.
Finally, the spirit of The Strokes is strong in this one Luke, it's The Virgins (all of whom actually ARE virgins...yeah riiiiiight). Shades of Hall and Oates (but, once again, that could just be me) and (for anyone under the age of 60), Hot Hot Heat and the 1990's (the band...not the decade) too. In other words a bit of 70's disco, 80's electro and good old rock n'roll. Some bands are just cool and The Virgins fit neatly into that box. They're smooth too. On more than one occasion we were told that we were 'one of the coolest audiences around'. Of course this is just patter but, hey, a girl will take her ego boosts wherever she can find 'em. There were plenty of set highlights but I really enjoyed Rich Girls (one of their standoutiest tracks...all high vocals, funky bass and New Yawk 'tude) and, as an encore, an inspired take on Squeeze's Up The Junction (with most of the right words). Teen Lovers was pretty awesome too...I'm listening to it right now in can check this out and a stack of their other tracks on their rather splendid MySpace page. Go on, lose your virginity...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Bombay Bicycle Club / Tantrums / Black Market Empire @ The Rainbow, Saturday 18th April

Saturday! It’s the new Friday! Which is the old Thursday…which…of course…as any fule kno…gave way to Tuesday. I don’t go out much on Saturday nights, too much vomit, aggro and scantily clad middle age women wobbling down Broad Street trying to find their shoes/a shag/some dignity (delete as applicable) and 'lads' looking for someone to stab/beat up/shag (sometimes all that order). I’m generally asleep by 5pm, dribbling into the remains of a large G & T with the gentle sounds of a Starsky & Hutch DVD on repeat in the background.. But hell, I’m young (okay, that’s not strictly true), I have my health (well, a pulse) and the spirit of rock and/or roll is a-calling me. First up, ‘ere, fancy some silk stockings darlin’, two bob a pair’…yes, it’s Black Market Empire.

Something of a new band (I think they formed this year - although clearly they're all experienced players) they’ve got a Coral / La’s sort of feel. The early days of a band can be a case of finding your feet and gelling together, something that only gigging like billy o (not the Billy O obviously…although I’m sure Mr Ocean has done more than his fair share over the years) can really achieve, but they already seemed surprisingly tight and are well worth catching if you get the chance.

Next up, prepare to scweam and scweam until you’re sick…it’s Tantrums. Music to skateboard…then stroke your beard by. If you don’t have a beard then you should grow one. Especially if you’re a lady. Beard’s are the new Monday dontcha know. None of Tantrums have beards. They do have a clutch of jumpy up and down grungy thrashy psychy pop thrills though. I also discovered during the course of the evening that they used to be called Mayday…a band who impressed me last time I saw them too. Check out The Choke and you won’t be disappointed.

Bombay Bicycle Club, one of many thousands of bands I keep meaning to check out but never do (too busy listening to Bucks Fizz probably…the Land Of Make Believe…let’s rock) are another of those perfectly formed Artrocker bands. That’s not a criticism by the way. Oh how much better the world would be if this clever, jerky pop made it through to the masses. They’re an energetic bunch too (the band , not the masses…they’re too busy watching Britain’s Got Excema and suing the police/the banks/each other), a twisting mass of teenage hormones, guitar strings and floppy hair. Current single ‘Always Like This’ comes off like Antony & The Johnsons having an orgy with Foals (now there’s a You Tube clip I’d love to see). Then they go a bit more Interpol on something like Evening Morning. Skittering guitars, tremulous vocals, a lead singer who looks like Jeffrey Lewis…what’s not to like? I loved the mini stage invasions towards the end of the show. First one young girl (this was a 14+ gig…very plus in my case) got onto the stage and did that slightly self conscious foot shuffling, arm swinging thing that teens do (come to think of it I still do that), then another joined her…then one more…then a bouncer the size of Cardiff pointed them back onto the dancefloor and off they all shuffled. Maybe that’s all they needed to do at the G20 thingy eh? Personally I’d shoot all the protesters and be done with it. What a great way to cut down the dole queue, public expenditure and sales of those bloody whistles that people blow down your ear at pretty much every public event. Anyway, if you like your music a bit Foals-y…a bit Vampire Weekend-y…a touch Orange Juice-y now I come to think about it…and nothing at all like Bucks Fizz…Bombay Bicycle Club’ll ring your bell.

PS: Get yourself down to The Rainbow on Tuesday and catch hotter than a cross bun (topical? moi) New Yawk scensters The Virgins!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Resins to be cheerful - Part 2

Lordy the gods of Hip Hop are raining down upon us with great generosity at the mo. No sooner had I discovered Homecut’s ‘No Freedom Without Sacrifice’ (see the review below) I’m bitten (musically speaking) by Resin Dogs’ Home. Like Homecut’s release there’s a jazzy vibe going on here, albeit with a harder more beat laden, Latin, shake your funky ass kind of edge (I’m sure the thought of me shaking my ass – funky or otherwise is enough to put you off your tea – but my ass took on a life of its own listening to this album). I could give you a beat by beat dissection of the album, I could spout on about the P-Funk or witter on about the kennel full of DJ’s MC’s and musicians stirred into the mix, but you don’t want to keep listening to me though do you? Here, through the miracle of the internet, is a video of the album’s opener, the J5-tastic ‘Coming With The Sound’ ass is twitching just thinking about it.

Resin Dogs’ More is out on Hydrofunk (and this is one hell of a mutha funkin' release) Records on 1st June. Keep your eyes peeled for festival dates too!

A Homecut above the rest...

Hip hop and jazz. That’s a pretty neat combination. Take Birmingham’s very own Soweto Kinch. His ‘A Day in the Life of B19’ album (featuring guest vocals from Moira Stuart…yes…that Moira Stuart) blended the two and landed him a MOBO for his troubles. Now, three years after that genre splicing masterpiece we’ve got Homecut’s ‘No Freedom Without Sacrifice’ (which spookily enough features none other than Mr Kinch himself on one of the tracks - ‘I Don’t Even Know’ -together with the lovely Corinne Bailey Rae).

If there’s any justice in the world it’s an album that’ll be making the shortlist of more than one music award ceremony. Original, witty, ambitious…it’s the result of three years of collaborations, experimentations and, more than likely, lots of other words ending in -ations. This album demands repeat playing. There’s a whole bunch of stuff going on in there – lyrically and musically, taking in sex, lies and Shepherd’s pies (seriously) set against a glorious landscape of Jazz, Gospel, Soul and Funk. Reference points? Loads…everything from Marvin Gaye to Miles Davis, PM Dawn to Spearhead (check out ‘Innovators’…can’t you just hear Michael Franti covering this?) and DJ Shadow.

You can feel the energy buzzing through the studio. Harmony (one of many album highlights) in particular has that live feel. The tale of growing up mixed race oozes positivity and, for my money, it’s the kind of message that too often gets ignored. We have ‘black’ and we have ‘white’ but mixed race…surely the ultimate example of harmony between the two…is almost always sidelined. Cultural debate aside (although an album like this brings out the thinker in you) if you have even a passing interest in jazz, soul, hip hop…fuck it…music even...‘No Freedom Without Sacrifice’ is an essential purchase. Whilst you’re at it I’d stick a fiver on it featuring in next years Mercury Music Awards too…

Homecut’s ‘No Freedom Without Sacrifice’ is out on First World Records on 18th May.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Bat For Lashes / School Of Seven Bells / Caroline Weeks @ The Town Hall, Sunday 12th April 2009

You've been reading my witterings for years now (I know, it seems like decades...but it's only years). So what better (other than me shutting the hell up and going off to join a Buddist retreat) than a fresh voice, a new other words someone who actually does a proper job of reviewing gigs. It is with great pleasure therefore that I announce the first ever guest reviewer (and photographer) for The Hearing Aid, ladies and gentlemen Mr Andy Watson!

This is the first time I’ve been to a gig at the Town Hall, and I hope it’s not the last as the sound in the old building was far better than most of the venues in Birmingham, First up was Caroline Weeks (Aka Ginger Lee in Bat For Lashes). Unfortunately I arrived at the venue with only 3 songs of her set remaining, but what I got from those 3 songs is a feeling of long lost summers, her voice sounded beautiful echoing from the walls of the Town Hall like a female Nick Drake (that would be Nicola Drake then – The Baron), and a stunning cover of The Drowning Man by The Cure helped close what I’m guessing was a beautiful set.

Next up, all the way from Brooklyn New York was School of Seven Bells, featuring Benjamin Curtis (Secret Machines) and identical twins Alejandra and Claudia Deheza (On! Air! Library). For their 30min set they played songs from their debut release Alpinisms. These tracks- a dreamy blend of rock/folk and dance beats - had the crowd moving within seconds and I enjoyed it almost as much as Bat for Lashes. From the dreaminess of "My Cabal" to the dancey "Wired For Light" this band ticks all the boxes. I can’t wait to see them again at THE RAINBOW on the 15th May.

And then it was time for Bat For Lashes. I’ve not been so excited to see a singer live since seeing Bjork for the first time last year. There are a few similarities between both artists as they both use a non mainstream pop formula that, on paper, you wouldn’t think would work but in reality it’s AWESOME, with new CD "Two Suns" battling its way into the top 10 a great follow up to the mercury nominated Fur and Gold. 29 year old Natasha Khan’s Bat For Lashes is great on CD but live all the sounds filled the town hall, delighting the senses and really bringing the music to life. The crowed were so respectful and silent on the quieter songs like Tahiti (performed with Caroline Weeks on harpsichord) that Natasha asked if there was anyone out there. This was followed by a stunning piano only version of 1st single of Two Suns’ Daniel. The set was filled with songs from both albums and the encore of " What’s a Girl To Do" and " Two Planets" left the crowd still wanting more. Natasha didn’t let them down saying "I only have one other song I can play!!!" and burst into a full band version of Daniel that had everyone on their feet. I have to say that, after seeing soul queen Joss Stone earlier this year, Natasha Khan’s vocals are up there with the very best. I’m just glad I got to see her in such a great setting at the Town Hall, before she jets into the superstardom that has to be her future!!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Gemma Quarterman / The Haiku / Small Blue Fish / The Great Plain @ The Island Bar, Tuesday 14th April 2009

First time at the Island Bar (I know, I don't get out much) and my first Acoustic Brew UK night too. It looks like the Brewsters have been doing this kind of thing for a while, I know they were pretty active at the Atticus Bar (RIP) in Bearwood. The basic deal is get to see a bunch of 'acoustic' artists (up to 5 in one night) for the grand price of...bugger all. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Sweet FA. That sounds like a bit of a bargain to me. You'll find the nights at the Island Bar on Tuesdays, Katie Fitzgeralds (in Stourbridge) on Wednesdays and at The Dog (in Bearwood) on other random places here and there. I have no idea how anyone makes any money out of this but gawd bless 'em for going to the trouble of putting on so much live music.

Speaking of which tonight saw a pretty wide range of styles, kicking off with some nice two part male harmonies courtesy of The Great Plain, the new age tinged folk of Small Blue Fish and the new wave flavoured folk stomp (think XTC, Wonderstuff territory) of The Haiku. Some really good stuff in there - the danger with an 'acoustic' night is that one act can blur into the next...but tonight's bill neatly sidestepped that with a wonderfully diverse line up that shows the Brewsters, as well as being damn generous souls, know what they're doing.

It was the last act of the night (for us at least...sadly we had to miss the final band - February March - due to transport related issues) that was the big draw for me though. I've followed Gemma Quarterman's career for a while now and I've seldom seem such huge leaps in confidence, songwriting and the sheer joy that she clearly gets from performing now. Each time I see her that voice is just that bit better, the show that little bit more polished and the set list more varied. Gemma's voice is becoming really individual, a bluesy belter one second, as smooth as the Cadbury's Caramel bunny the next. Lyrically there's some seriously emotional stuff going on. Relationships (and their ups and downs) have formed the central theme for some of the best music ever made and Gemma's material ('Crosses' and 'Do You' in particular), for me, stands up there with the likes of John Martyn's 'May You Never'. That's high praise, but well deserved. It seems that I'm not the only one who's hooked either. Gemma's recently featured in probably the only music magazine that really matters these days, Artrocker, (they used one of my pictures...mad fools), been flown over for a radio slot in Budapest and is heading out to Noo Yawk for some gigs in the summer. There's a rumour of a signing too so, hopefully, the word will spread even faster over the coming months. I've long argued that she deserves a slot in a 'big' venue (The Town or Symphony Halls would be perfect) - hopefully with a label behind her this might happen. But, for now, you've got the chance to witness her close up and personal. I'd make the most of it if I were you...

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Frankmusik - Better Off As Two

To celebrate the 'whatever it is that Easter's supposed to celebrate' (Easts?) here's my gift to you...the lovely and not at all egg like Frankmusik with his new single Better Off As Two. Why not buy a copy for one you love in lieu of an egg? Except it's not out until April 13th so that puts the knackers on that's electropoptastic and makes me feel 13 again.

Hoppy Easter!

Monday, April 06, 2009

It's eliminatory my dear What's On...

Stop Press! (oh...they already have). News reaches me (by me picking up a copy) that What's On, for over 30 years a guide to what's on (see what they did there?) in Birmingham, is no more. This is sad. What am I going to read on the toilet now? How will people find out what's going on at Rick's? What about the brothels of Brum...oh sorry...'escort' services...what will they do? To be serious for a moment, only a moment mind you, despite the fact that many of us live in an online world, a lot of folk don't. What's On was also a handy 'jack of all trades', a light and easy read covering food, gigs, art exhibitions, brothels etc.
It seems that some of the content will be absorbed into the Evening Mail but that ain't free and it's a bugger to read on the loo. Is this the beginning of the printed media apocalypse that's sweeping the States? Could be. I see a bit of a 7 inch vinyl scenario here - the printed media all but vanishes only for people to realise that it's actually pretty bloody good for some stuff. Like reading on the loo. Or in the bath. Or for covering your head in the event of a heavy shower. Or for sitting on when the grass is try doing that with your i-phone. Anyway, I may be in the minority, but I'll be sad to see What's On go. The creative scene in Brum (and it's accessibility by a wide demographic) will be just that little bit poorer as a result.

RIP - the last ever issue of 'What's On'.

PS: The monthly Midlands title appears to be carrying on for now...

Friday, April 03, 2009

The Anomalies / Old School Tie / The Suit @ The Rainbow, Friday 3rd April 2009

Ahhhh spring has sprung, the clocks have gone forward and, despite the fact that's it's only about 10 degrees above freezing, some folk are wandering around like it's the south of France. You've got to love our sense of optimism eh? The first (or indeed any) hint of sunshine and it's off with the fleece and on with the shades and aftersun. Watch those nipples though kids...there's nothing worse than nipple chafing. Banishing talk of nipples, for now at least, first up The Suit. Not knowing anything about the band before tonight I was standing there watching 'em thinking that there's a touch of The Specials going on here (have a listen to the music on Cockspara). Lo, I now discover that they're from Cov too. There's other influences too. Portishead for one. The band features two rappers and a female vocalist who, at times, has a hint of the 'head's Beth...almost operatic in places. Ska, Trip Hop, Rap and Opera. You don't get that from many bands. There's dozens of 'em on stage too (well 8 at least) but they all seem to play a vital part in the overall sound. It's impressive stuff...even more so when you consider that the band (in its current form) is just 9 months old - that's how long it takes to make a baby (see...informative and don't get this in NME eh?).

Next, Old School Tie. None of whom are old, go to school or wear ties as far as I can see. I'll be informing my local Trading Standards officer...maybe even Watchdog...or that annoying gimp who rides around on a motorbike with a Portugese bloke. What can I say about OST that I've not said before? Tonight they were right on top of their game, perhaps less 'wigging out' (apart from the last number...which was wiggier than Tina Turner in a wig factory...on International Wig Day) than at some of the gigs I've seen...more focussed maybe...but packing a greater punch than most bands could dream of. Balaeric beats, African rhythms, ruddy great walls of dub, plinky plonky it around the world in 80 genres and you won't be too far from the mark. I've said it once (probably to myself, but that's down to my failing mental health) and I'll say it again...but you can see OST on a stage at Glasto as the sun goes down. Not the John Peel stage...or the Jazz World stage...but the biggie. The Pyramid. They'd floor the place. Are you listening Mr Eavis? (NB: If OST do get a slot on the Pyramid Stage can I have two free tickets please? Ta.). Oh, before I go, whilst God's Electric Super Scene remains a bowel movingly great track it wasn't even the set highlight tonight. There were many. That is a very...very...VERY good sign for the future. By the way I can recommend the blog on their MySpace page too. Hilarious.

Finally it's the godfathers of Herefordshire hip hop The Anomalies! Promoting must have album, 'Free Soup Social', 2009 is the year they'll break big. I'll stake my hat on it. Bamboo Beats, Employee Of The Month, Kid Riot and (turning out to be a set highlight)'s just great, fun, party party music. Listen to the lyrics too. Witty, wistful and many other words beginning with w (what am I...a freekin' dictionary?) The Anomalies deserve to be right up there with your Puff Diddlies, 50 Pence and that bloke who riped off Dead or Alive. I want to hear kids adopting West Country accents. I dream of a world where the flat cap takes over from the baseball variety. Cider will become the new 'gin and juice'...people, I have a dream. Once more the set ended with the brain blowing freestyle (where the band invite the audience to suggest three things to rap about...they then ask the audience to pass items onto the stage that they also integrate into the they're handed stuff...darn clever) and a bouncy cover of Fatboy's Funk Soul Brother. They're simply 'phanomalie' good...

Thursday, April 02, 2009

It's all going Hammer & Tongs...

Coming hot on the heels of their recent single the Drumattic Twins are set to release new album Hammer & Tongs on the 1st June. Being a sneaky so and so I've had an advance listen and it' the kids would say...a belter. Kicking off with Don't Be So Drummattic (you remember...the one that sounded like it featured Jonny 5 from Short Circuit) the album takes in influences as diverse as the Middle East (Broken Planet) and Old Skool Euro house (the suitably titled Back To The Old School). Glow sticks ahoy. Any got any Veras? Sorted...etc...etc.

It's amazing how evocative all of that stuff still is. Without wishing to sound like a boring bastard the early days of what is generally lumped together as 'dance music' were incredibly exciting. Granted a lot of what followed become predicable and formulaic but the Drumattic Twins (who were Shades of Rhythm in a former life) have a knack for recapturing that feel good vibe. Away from the old skool influences the Twins aren't afraid to mix things up a bit though. The most experimental track on the album, Antique Vinyl (which almost sounds like an album on its own...there's so much going on in there) starts off all funky before breaking down into a strings backed female vocal number that's strangely moving. Shades of Gavin Bryars Jesus Blood. It's a surprising ending to a surprising album that sounds familiar but fresh all at the same time...which ain't an easy trick to pull. It's Hammer time...

Hammer & Tongs is out on June 1st on Finger Lickin' Records.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Gary Go/VV Brown/Elviin @ The Glee Club, Birmingham, Tuesday 31st March 2009

Despite having dined below the Glee Club at the Dragon Bar (a Wetherspoon's pub know how tight I am) we managed to miss the first number of the first act, Elviin. I blame the cider. We caught most of the set though, very pleasant it was too. I especially enjoyed his song about having sex outdoors (it was called Worth Getting Arrested For...I think...or it might have been Whoops I've Got My John Thomas Caught in My's the cider again), it had shades of Marvin Gaye to it (that 'Ooooooooh' bit is pure Sexual Healing), a man who probably enjoyed one or two al fresco nookie sessions in his time.

Next up, and the star of the show for me, V V Brown. V V is another one of those 'tipped for big things in 2009' kind of people. Blending an easy on the ear but soulful vocal with a pinch of doo wop and a lovin' spoonful of great pop (doo pop that'll be then) she rattled through what seemed like 100 songs in about 40 minutes. Not for VV the long drawn out guitar solos. Oh no. Get in. Verse. Chorus. Versus. Chorus. NEXT! That's the secret of great pop. Don't dick around. Going back to young Elviin it's like shagging in public. Hang around and you'll get your knob caught in your zip...metaphorically speaking. She's a loveable bundle of musical loveliness and could well produce a debut album that outwines the Winehouse. Cracking...without the crack. Check out 'Leave' (a one woman Pipettes), 'Crying Blood' (50's pop heaven) and 'Everybody' for a crash course in VV and look out for the album in June (of course they'll be no record shops to buy it from by then, but you can always download it from the interweb or listen to it over and over again for nowt on Spotify).

Joint headliner Gary Go has recently landed the Take That tour, so he'll soon be playing to tens of thousands of moist panted 30 something ladies reliving their moist panted teen years. There were a few moist panted ladies 30 something ladies there last night...and three younger ladies (I have no details on the moisture content of their pants) at the front who seemed to know every word to every song Gary warbled. Impressive. Gary looks a little like a cross beween Elvis Costello and Buddy Holly. That's not a bad musical analogy either, at least in terms of his ability to knock off a catchy tune (Wonderful is...well...just as the title suggests). Vocally there's touch of the James Blunt (shudders) in there, but unlike the Blunt there's a lot more more ooomph. Hook laden, piano driven pop. Pure and simple. He's a likeable performer too, but I get the sense that there's more of an acidic side to him than we're currently seeing and, like Costello, you can see Gary Go moving off into more high brow stuff when he gets bored with this pop star malarky.
Next gig The Anomalies, this Friday (the 3rd) at The Rainbow! Yes...Hearing Aid faves The Anomalies! You are coming aren't you? Oh goody. Mine's a cider.