Saturday, August 01, 2009

Cornershop @ The O2 Academy, Friday 31st July 2009

Many people will know Cornershop for just one thing. That song. The Norm Cook remix of their ‘Brimful of Asha’ track was a ‘smash hit’ when such things still (just about) mattered…ahhh 1997…those far away days. This is a real shame. The ‘shop’s been producing original material for getting on for 20 years now and are proud holders of The Baron’s great lost album award for their last long player, Handcream For a Generation – a glorious mash up of funk, soul, 70’s rock, disco, reggae, indie and Indian influences (it even featured a certain Noel Gallagher on sitar…but we can forgive them that). If you’ve not heard it (and I’m guessing most people won’t have) make it your mission in life to check it out. Like I say it is, in my humble opinion, a classic. That was some 7 years ago though. Since then the ‘shop’s been boarded up, save for a couple of low key single releases. But now they’re back, back, BACK and touring (albeit a very low key kinda tour) to support their new album ‘Judy Sucks a Lemon for Breakfast’ (which seems to follow on from their lost classic, being heavy on samples and mixing up all kinds of good stuff).

Shop keeper Tjinder’s probably my kind of age, a child of the 70’s, that age of beige, flares, strikes, 3 TV channels (yes, really kids), Morecombe & Wise…sepia tinged happy days. He’s constantly referencing the 70’s too, Ford Cortina’s, Rocky, beat up Datsun’s, disco, Marc Bolan, Solid State Radios, cassette tapes (one of the few things I’m really glad to see the back of) and tonight’s set had the warm glow of that decade running through it. Tjinder looked pretty 70’s, sporting a fine pair of sideburns and a 70’s style brown cowboy style shirt and the band played their part by featuring a Hammond organ (or what sounded like one), some bongos and THE instrument of the early 70’s…the sitar! Someone even sparked up a phat one towards the end of the gig. Far out man. Anyway, I’m waffling again. The one concern I had before tonight was how the band would manage to translate the sampledelic sounds of ‘Handcream’ and ‘Judy’ to the live arena. Any concerns were rapidly dismissed with opener Heavy Soup. Using only a little pre-recorded stuff the band bought the track to life brilliantly before moving on to the 70’s glam stomp of ‘Lessons Learned From Rocky I to III’. ‘Sleep On The Left Side’ followed before a brace of their new tracks ‘The Roll Off Characteristics Of History In The Making’ and the Rolling Stones-ish ‘Who Fingered Rock n’Roll’ (see the video wot I has gone and kindly pasted up for you) which prove the ‘shop’s well and truly open for business. We had a couple of covers too. The first, a straight-ish run through of ‘The Mighty Quinn’, the second a sitar infused Indian version of ‘Norwegian Wood’. Bliss. Pure bliss. Of course they played ‘Brimful of Asha’ in its original (pre Norman Cook) version. Everyone really does need a bosom for a pillow you know. Wise words. People have formed whole religions on less than that. I can see it now - The Bosomists. People who pay homage to the mighty breast, seeking salvation at the nipple of enlightenment. Ahem…anyway…they finished off (in fine 70’s style) with a 20 odd minute version of Jullander Shere as the air filled with the delicious aroma of the ‘erb (much to the sitar player’s delight). The whole gig was a treat from start to finish. Cornershop are nothing short of a national musical treasure and the sooner they become your musical bosom (I just can’t leave breasts alone today can I? No change there then…) your life will be a whole lot better.

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