Thursday, February 25, 2010

Gigs. Gigs. Gigs. This is a post about gigs.

There's a bucket full of great gigs on in Birmingham next week (w/c 1st March) and, although I'm normally too darn lazy to do such a thing, here's my personal pick:

Monday 1st March - Los Campesinos / Swanton Bombs / Islet @ The Rainbow, Digbeth (Los Campesinos play ace perky indie pop...and some equally ace miserable stuff as well. Music to dance and slit your throat to. Now that's value. Backing comes from the hotly tipped and rather mysterious Islet)

Tuesday 2nd March - Heaven 17 @ Leamington Spa (performing all of their classic album Penthouse & Pavement...lack of finances, a failure to blag a guestlist reviewer's place and logistical considerations make this one look so close and yet so far. Maybe they'll come to Brum next time?).

Wednesday 3rd March - Girls / Spectrals / Circus Town @ The Hare & Hounds (San Fran fuzz pop from former 'Children of God' cult member).

Thursday 4th March - The Miserable Rich / Dan Whitehouse @ The Glee Club (The Miserable Rich are, quite possibly, my favourite band in the WORLD right now. Go and see them and find out why...I'll be the one in the front row, rocking backwards and forwards gently).

Friday 5th March - The XX @ Academy (Boy meets girl. Boy sings to girl. It's a new wave boy / girl thing).

Saturday 6th March - Nick Harper @ The Hare & Hounds (acoustic legend - and son of Roy - keeps it real).

There's probably a whole heap more gigs next week, for some reason everyone seems to come out of the woodwork in March, but that's enough for any chap (or chappette) to cope with. Enjoy.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

First Aid Kit / Goodnight Lenin / Jodie and the Jet Plane @ The Rainbow, Digbeth, Monday 22nd February 2010

Goodnight Lenin...make that Greatnight Lenin...

Isn’t it Summer yet? You know I really don’t mind a bit of Winter...log fires, hot toddys, newsreaders wetting themselves with excitement at all the chaos that a list dusting of snow seems to cause...but this one seems to be going on foreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeever. Enough I say. I’m taking a leaf out of that nice Mr Billy Bragg’s book and holding back my taxes until the Government puts a cap on minimum temperatures (not that I really pay taxes at the moment...being only semi-employed and all that). Perhaps our lovely PM, ‘Basher’ Brown, could bully the weather into getting warmer in between giving that Cameron fellow a well deserved ‘wedgie’?

First up Jodie and the Jet Plane, a five piece with a nice line in soaring (I guess that’s where the Jet Plane bit comes in) vocals and emotive lyrics who, in places, reminded me a little of All About Eve (floaty folky rocky 80’s band who sang songs about stuffing flowers in their hair, sitting by harbours and being ‘ocean waves’ happens, right?). Tonight was a acoustic set (judging by their MySpace tracks the full Jet Plane experience normally rocks out a lot more) but the power of one of their best tracks ‘He’ll Never Be Right’ shone through, Jodie’s impressive tonsils giving it full throttle in the chorus while the rest of the band created what musos would call gentle ‘sonic soundscapes’.

Next up...Goodnight Lenin. Good golly Miss Molly, I really rate this lot. Seriously. Putting aside civic pride (they’re from Birmingham) the Lenin are rapidly developing into something truly special. That they’ve only been at it for under a year (although most/all of the band were in another group/groups before) is nothing short of miraculous. Further honing their fine vocal harmonies that so impressed me last time I saw them and continuing to draw their influences from Simon and Garfunkel, Dylan, CSNY and The Band, some of their self penned songs already sound like classics. And no, I’m not going off on one again...just listen to ‘Crook In The Creek’, and ‘Wenceslas Square’ on their MySpace thingy and judge for yourself. The crowd lapped it up and even the headline act - standing right at the front of the audience - seemed in awe of the performance. There was a nice moment when one of the band tried to deliver a little preprepared speech in Swedish to the headliners...not an easy trick to pull off...he almost made it too, although I’m guessing Swedish wasn’t on his school curriculum. The whole set was nothing short of a foot stomping triumph and you’d be well advised to go and see them up close and personal while you still have the chance.

Headliners First Aid Kit are a pair of teenage Swedish sisters (steady now) - Klara & Johanna Söderberg - who, like Goodnight Lenin, have turned their backs on Gangster Rap, Crunk, Death Metal and Acid Speed Thrash Garage in favour of a more folky route. And, just like Goodnight Lenin, they’ve got this harmony business well and truly licked. There’s a real Country and Western tinge to a lot of their stuff (is Country big in Sweden?), they almost do that yodelling thing in places and sing about sitting around on porches (not something I imagine you’d get much of a chance to do in Malmo...without losing your extremities that is). Touring to promote their rather fine new album ‘The Big Black and The Blue’ they delivered a belting version of its finest track ‘I Met Up With The King’ together with a career spanning (admittedly it’s a fairly new career) set including ‘Tangerine’ and a spine tingling unplugged version of ‘Ghost Town’ delivered sans microphones by the girls standing side by side before an audience so quiet you could hear a coyote’s heartbeat. In amongst the self penned stuff we had a couple of covers too. Both Fleet Foxes ‘Tiger Mountain Peasant Song’ and Gram Parsons ‘Still Feeling Blue’ got an airing, with the Gram track (Gram’s clearly a massive influence on them) preceded by the girls imploring the audience to check him out. I’d second that, just make sure you check out First Aid Kit too. As they put it on their MySpace page ‘We aim for the hearts, not the charts’. I’d call tonight a direct hit.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Hot Chip / Casiokids / Grosvenor @ The O2 Academy Birmingham, Saturday 20th February 2010

If there’s one thing that’s guaranteed to warm the cockles (and other body parts for that matter) on a cold, cold February evening it’s some quality electro pop...and it doesn’t get much better than Hot Chip. Creators of some of the catchiest electro classics of the past few years (step forward ‘Over and Over’ and ‘Ready for the Floor’) 2010 sees them celebrate their tenth anniversary (good grief...tempus fugit) with the release of their rather fine new album ‘One Life Stand’.

First up though – and a bit of a nice surprise this (as I hadn’t seen him/them billed) – Grosvenor. Fronted by a certain Rob Smoughton (who later cropped up as Hot Chip’s drummer) Grosvenor are a homage to the great late 70’s / early 80’s sounds of bands like Steely Dan, Supertramp and Hall & Oates. In other words the kind of spotlessly polished gloriously glossy pop that indie and lad rock was supposed to have killed off. Unashamedly retro – and all the more fabulous for it – I can’t remember enjoying an opening act quite so much for ages. Coming onstage to a shout of “Eric Clapton” from one of the audience (to be fair Rob does bear a passing resemblance to slowhand himself), the Grosvenor machine delivered a good half a dozen soulful pop classics in the making from Nightmoves (with its slowed down Supertramp ‘Dreamer-esque’ intro) through to the 80’s Europop tinged ‘Drive Your Car’. Yes, I’m a closet MOR pop whore and proud of it. Grosvenor may be square but, as Huey and the boys put it (I’m really not doing my reputation much good here am I eh?), “it’s hip to be square”. Slip on a white suit, roll up your sleeves, pour yourself a Babycham and stick Grosvenor on. If it don’t make you feel a million dollars I’ll eat my Filofax.

Next up, all the way from Norway, it’s Casiokids. Taking the brave (but quite right) decision to sing in their native Norwegian tongue added an exotic, slightly other worldly feel to their set. It also gave me the chance to interpret what they were singing in my own way. So (in my head at least) I heard a song about the difficulties of parking a Sherman tank in supermarket car parks and a lovely little ditty about licking salt off your lover’s eyebrows. As well as singing in Norwegian they favour (as the name implies) old skool technology, cheap (nowadays at least) and trashy keyboards together with the instrument du jour, the cow bell...several cow bells in fact...I counted at least six...all played with the kind of youthful exuberance of a bunch of 8 year olds with ADHD. Brilliant.

That just left Hot Chip then. If they’d only ever released ‘Over and Over’ that would be enough reason to go and see them, but they’ve got a hard drive stuffed full of clever, catchy pop hits and tonight’s set saw them stream a fair few. Sure, they may look like a group of Science teachers on a field trip but the Academy was full of trendy young things gagging for their Chip fix. The set kicked off with early single ‘And I Was a Boy From School’, in many ways the archetypal Chip track, dancey enough to nod your head to but with enough lyrical content to get the old noggin thinking as well. From there on in it was one Chip classic after another, including, as you’d expect, a fair smattering from arguably their best album so far, the newbie, ‘One Life Stand’. There was the Giorgio Moroder-tastic ‘Thieves in the Night’, the touchingly sombre ‘Brothers’ (sung by fellow Chip vocalist Rob) and the steel drum infused ‘One Life Stand’ itself - a worthy addition to the Chips legacy, right up there with ‘Over and Over’ and ‘Ready for the Floor’ for sheer catchiness. Funky electro, dirty synths, sweet breaks and Alexis angelic voice...pure magic. In fact throughout the set Alexis’ soft and gentle vocal provided a delicious counterpoint to the beats and bleeps – something very human in the midst of all this technology – which makes the Chip that rare beast (these days at least), a band that’s as good to listen as it is to dance to. There was plenty of bopping going on around me as well. Predictably ‘Over and Over’ got the biggest bop of the night going but, for a good hour and half, a several hundred heads nodded away furiously like that Churchill dog. Oh yesyesyesyes. As someone who grew up with the sounds of the Human League, Heaven 17, Soft Cell and Blancmange on his Walkman it’s gratifying to see that a band like Hot Chip can still do something fresh with electro pop. Chip’s off the old pop as it were...yes, you’re right, there was no need for that was there?

PS: Don't forget to check out the Gig Junkies version of this review featuring pretty pictures courtesy of Mr Fox. It just like being there...without the sweaty bird rubbing her armpit all over your face...

Friday, February 19, 2010

First Aid Kit kiss it better at The Rainbow

Hotly tipped Swedish indie folksters (think a female Fleet Foxes style duo) will be applying their particular brand of musical medicine at The Rainbow on Monday night (that’ll be the 22nd of February then). As if that weren’t enough they’re joined by Goodnight Lenin...Birmingham’s very own answer to Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young...only better. So there.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Not Squares – Asylum

Up for a bit of a Foals/Datarock-ish style wig out? Yep, me too. Welcome then to ‘Asylum’ the debut single from Belfast's very own Not Squares. They’ve made a video filim too, bless ‘em. Rather fun it is a well. If ever you wanted to know where I got my ‘dance moves’ from the secret’s out.

Asylum ‘escapes’ on March 1st on Richter Collective Records.

Scary Mansion – Make Me Cry

Now there’s an album title...Make Me Cry. ..intuition tells me it’s not going to be a laugh a minute. If you’re a fan of Cat Powers though (as I am) there’s plenty to like about Scary Mansion’s new one. Fronted by fragile voiced chanteuse Leah Hayes it makes great use of the quiet / loud approach to music (gentle intro’s to songs that give way to thundering great rock outs – take ‘One Percent’ for instance). At 30 minutes it’s short and (bitter) sweet but, thanks to some sensitive instrumentation (they even use something called a ‘thunderstick’ - some kind of traditional American instrument) and Leah’s ethereal vocals it quickly pulls you in. Repeated listens prove it to be what they call a real grower too...

Make Me Cry’s out on March 1st on Talitres Records (free box of tissues with every copy...possibly).

Monday, February 15, 2010

Top Tracks # 15 - The Knack 'My Sharona'

Sure, the lyrics may be a little dodgy, but if it's punk tinged New Wave gold you're after The Knack's 'My Sharona's' hard to beat. Sadly lead singer Doug Fieger died yesterday after a long battle with brain and lung cancer so, in humble tribute to a five minute classic that I've played to death (on 7 inch vinyl, naturally) over the years, let's add it to The Hearing Aid's 'legendary' list of Top Tracks. Play it LOUD you mothers.

Doug Fieger - August 21st 1952 - 14th February 2010

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Scholars / Chapel Club / The Naked Youth @ The Flapper, Saturday 13th February 2010

Chapel Club...getting a quick prayer in

There’s a real buzz about this gig. Even the Flapper toilets had a heady aroma about them...then again don’t they always? (NB: I Love The Flapper...this is just for comedy purposes...the toilets are spotless and smell only of roses and newly mown grass...). It’s all down to a certain Chapel Club who are currently being touted as one of those ‘next big things’. They’re not headlining though, instead they’re sandwiched between two other groups. First up, The Naked Youth. I was going to look this band up on the net before the gig but aren’t there rules against stuff like that? One mis-click and I’d be right up the Gary Glitter. Try explaining that to PC World “Honest guv, I was just trying to look up a band”. Bit of a QOTSA feel to this lot, shades of Nine Black Alps perhaps too. Bluesy rock with some downright dirty (but not in a 'naked youth' way) guitar. Formed as recently as the Summer of 2009 they’ve made an impressive start and put on a fine show featuring a couple of tracks that you can check on their MySpace page (don’t worry, I made sure I got the address right...eventually) including ‘The Devil Knows Your Dead’. Bonus points for the full on rock out t the end of the show...although I would’ve liked it to go on for a few more minutes. But that’s me all over. Greedy.

Next up, praise and hallelujah, it’s Chapel Club. Their forthcoming single ‘O Maybe I’ is undoubtedly something special. Combining the doomy bass of Joy Division era Peter Hook with the arch lyrics of Morrissey was always going to be a winning formula. “O maybe I should settle down for a quiet life, or maybe I should risk it all for a perfect night?” sings lead Clubber Lewis in his best Morrissey. It’s classy stuff. In truth, despite the Smiths comparisons it’s really only ‘O Maybe’ I that rings those bells that strongly. Whilst there’s still a dark melodramatic light (that never goes out) at the heart of the band it’s those squally walls of guitar that dominated much of the set, a ‘wail’ of sound played by a thrashing threesome that, on tracks like ‘Machine Music’, made the lyrics sound like a last will and testament. Elsewhere there’s a little more dark humour at play, witness ‘Surfacing’s neat use of the Mama’s and Papa’s staple ‘Dream A Little Dream’. I’m always wary of leaping on bands and proclaiming them the second coming (mainly ‘cos I get it wrong so often) but Chapel Club have ‘it’, whatever ‘it’ may be. Expect the disciples to grow by the day.

Finally The Scholars...all the way from the very scholarly Oxfordshire. Like a slightly more upbeat Editors they take the serious school of rock route. Check out the synth strengthened ‘Blood Runs Blue’ “Time is a precious thing. Use it wisely. I hope you learn from past mistakes” intones the lead Scholar. Okay. I’ll do that. On top of dishing out wise words they’re picking up some decent reviews too. New single ‘This Heart’s Built To Break’ was picked as the track of the week by Alex Zane on none other than the ‘MySpace Mars Planets Radio’ show. And you don’ much bigger than that...right? The lead Scholar has a really strong, clean crisp, radio friendly vocal and the rest of the band thrashed around like good ‘uns. They’ve got plenty of catchy songs too and, despite (or maybe because of) having to follow the majesty of Chapel Club, they pulled off a strong set. Most importantly of all – and if, after 20+ years of going to see gigs, anyone’s interested in what - in my humble opinion - makes a decent set (whether you love the music or not is a different matter) – they put their all into it and seemed to have a whale of a time.

Happy Valentine’s Day dear readers. I love you all. Even the Japanese porn site that keeps sending spam comments (86 and counting) - in Japanese - to one of my reviews...just don’t add any pictures of naked youth... I’m probably in enough trouble as it is.


Friday, February 12, 2010

NME Awards Tour 2010 featuring The Maccabees / Bombay Bicycle Club / The Big Pink / The Drums @ The Academy, Birmingham Thursday 11th February 2010

Shockwaves. Yeah. Hair gel! Yeah. Rock n’roll! Corporate whoring. Whoop! Yeah! I shouldn’t mock, after all music and sponsorship go back a long way but nowadays it’s just that little bit more IN YOUR FACE! I’m only jealous, I’ve never had the kind of hair that could be teased into silly shapes, although I do now sport a ridiculous moustache that benefits from a great wodge of hair wax to keep it under control (otherwise it runs riot you know...getting drunk...drawing on toilet walls...shouting abuse at Traffic Wardens...shocking...or Eh? EH? See, I’m getting the hang of this corporate sponsorship thingy now. I’ll expect 12 cases of hair gel by the morning).

Anyway tonight the Academy...sorry O2 Academy (see, I’ve got this sponsorship thing cracked)...was awash with trendy young things with jizzed up hair (NB: jizz is a lot cheaper than hair gel and totally environmentally friendly too), all here to see the next big things. Given this (it’s my understanding that the Shockwaves tour is mainly here to promote ‘new’ artists), the bill was a little odd. Both The Maccabees (formed in 2004) and Bombay Bicycle Club (formed in 2005) have been around the block a few times, I’d seen The Big Pink a year or two ago as well, so only The Drums (formed in 2008...mere babies) were ‘new’. Hmmm.

The Drums were first up too, coming on at 7.20, just as the crowd was starting to build. If you missed them (and I guess a fair few people did given the early start time) you missed a treat. If you’re looking for musical references then The Drums are an anorak’s delight, echoing The Cure on ‘I Felt Stupid’, updating The Beach Boys on ‘Let’s Go Surfing’ and embracing the whole C86 movement that’s so hip right now on tracks like ‘Submarine’. There’s a distinct Echo & The Bunnymen vibe too (the lead singer’s voice had a touch of the Ian McCulloch about it), albeit with a surf twang. They’re being hailed as the best thing in music since, well, the last best thing and, although it’s early days in their career they’ve got that certain era defining something that bands like The Strokes and Arctic Monkey’s had. Lead Drum Jonathan (who knows, he might become a sex cymbal...) spent most of the set twitching across the stage like Ian Curtis on acid and it left me wanting more, more, more. Drum-endous.

Coming onto the stage bathed in dry ice The Big Pink were up next. The Big Pink play doomy, gothy sort of tracks (with a bit of an electro / industrial edge) and are, predictably, signed to uber cool doomy, gothy label 4AD. Not a bad set but they didn’t set me on fire. Could be my unfamiliarity with most of their material, although, from my vague memory of the last time I saw them their sound had become a lot ‘meatier’ so they’re probably heading in the right direction. The set ending sing-a-long ‘Dominos’ however impressed me (and the crowd) no end (I’m sure it’s been used on an advert gel, I tell a’s for something called an X-box).

With the venue now full to bursting point with teenage bodies (and a smattering of dodgy old men like me) Bombay Bicycle Club blended Orange Juice (the band, not the fruit based beverage) intellipop with Interpol (the band, not the Police based organisation) cool, especially on standout tracks like the classic in the making ‘Evening/Morning’. The lead singer’s got one of those quivering sort of voices that suggests frailty and sensitivity. Aww bless. I’m sure he’s neither. He’s probably a right geezer, shagging his way across the country and snorting coke off goldfish...or whatever pop stars do these days. The fact that he looks like super cool anti-folkster Jeffrey Lewis is a bonus. BBC have a great set of tunes and, over the space of 40 minutes or so we got the lot, from the aforementioned ‘Evening/Morning’with its slow build intro that explodes into one the kind of dirty great bass line you’d like to spend the night with right through to the twitchy Vampire Weekend-ish ‘Always Like This’. As a thousand hands were raised aloft (I even saw one guy waving his shoe around...) BBC firmly cemented their position as one of the great indie bands of the moment.

Finally, time for headliners The Maccabees (sadly without the holiday Armadillo...if you’ve never seen Friends that reference makes no sense at all...then again, even if you have it might not). I’ll be honest, I knew very little about The Maccabees before tonight. I’d had a quick listen to a couple of tracks and wasn’t that bowled over, so my expectations were low. That all changed when they came on backed by a neat little three piece brass section, the crowd started singing along and the dark backdrop (what looked like a moody shot of an industrial landscape) was obliterated by a burst of golden lightbulbs. I got it then. With the warm brass and lead singer Orlando’s emotive vocal I was reminded of Dexy’s Midnight Runners or, the criminally underrated Rumble Strips. There’s an Editors-ish knack with a guitar too, that kind of driving playing that really pushes a song along. A lot of the tunes weren’t instantly memorable, at least to my ears, so I guess I’ll have to spend some time with the album before I reach the orgasmic state achieved by an impressively large proportion of the crowd. Tonight the Arcade Fire sounding ‘Love You Better’ made a great impression though, together with ‘Can You Give It’ (which drove several thousand people to leap up and down in even got my head nodding) and the new wave-y classic ‘X-Ray’. Oh...I nearly forgot ...there was ‘Toothpaste Kisses’ too (which curiously sounds like something that could’ve been a hit in the 1920’s) played pretty much by Orlando on his own, complete with a sweet little whistling bit. Just lovely. It’s the oldest trick in the book for bands to say that the crowd they’re playing to is the best they’ve had, but Orlando really sounded like he meant it tonight. Judging by the sweaty throng that danced happily away into the night the feeling was mutual.

PS: For lovely pictures of this gig courtesy of Mr Wayne Fox Esq don't forget to check out the Gig Junkies site too!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Hot Club De Paris / TANTRUMS / (silver) it was Barnsey @ The Rainbow, Monday 8th February 2010

Hot 'tache

TANTRUMS (with added Palmer)

Bonjour! Comment allez vous? Voici’s review in French? Oh bugger. What’s that? Tonight’s headliners aren’t from France at all? Sacre bleu! I daresay the first band aren’t made from silver either. Kids today eh? Actually I didn’t get a chance to see what they were made of as they were replaced by Barnesy (perhaps someone had posted them all off to be melted down by one of those dodgy companies that offers cash for your ‘unwanted’ gold...‘’ or ‘shouldibendoverwhileyou’ know the sort of thing).

Having seen him before I knew exactly what Barnesy’s made of. Something of a local hero (there’s always an appreciative crowd at his gigs) he brings a touch of Ray Davies, a little Weller cool and (for the yoot) that easy street kind of style of singing that Jamie T’s trademarked. Standout track ‘Estates in a State’ is as good an encapsulation of what’s gone tits up in this country as you’re as likely to hear these days but, to be honest, there wasn’t a duff track in the whole set. It’s enough to give singer / songwriters a good name.

Next up TANTRUMS, (in CAPITAL letters...YEAH!) now with ADDED Little Palm (aka Annie Palmer...keyboard toting songstress and solo artiste in her own write/right). In a recent POLL of the top bands of the decade (the ‘noughties’ that is) TANTRUMS, despite being relative NEWCOMERS, came pretty high up (number SIX I think). Tonight was the first time I’d seen them as TANTRUMS (although I have a sneaky feeling I may have seen them in a previous incarnation under another name...EDIT: Oh shoot...I have seen then before...April 2009...damn my fading memory..and they were called Mayday ages ago). There’s some of the jerky ANXIOUSNESS of The Foals, some JAZZ type noodling (guitarist, Stuart I think his name is, was particularly adept at teasing all kinds of noises out of his ‘instrument’...fnar fnar) and a solid wedge of catchy rock (the sort of thing that FOO Fighters do oh so well). All of these seemingly disparate elements come together in perfect harmony on ‘If I Don’t Try’, a naggingly ADDICTIVE track which has lodged itself firmly in my br-br-br-br-ain-ain-ain. This, coupled with ‘Mek Ya Feel Hype’, a glorious bouncy, Sunny D anthem for the Skins generation, more than justifies their top 10 BIRMINGHAM Band’s placing. last thing...Stuart’s frequent stage DIVES were immensely entertaining too (even if he did nearly decapitate half the front row) and the addition of Annie’s vocals to the mix were the cherry on the cake. ACE.

Finally folk punk jigsters (confusing enough for you?) ‘Hot Club De Paris’, here to promote their new (released today fact fans) 6 song EP "With days like this as cheap as chewing gum, why would anyone want to work?" Hardly the catchiest title in the world, but then again they have previous form here (who could forget debut single ‘Sometimesitsbetternottostickbitsofeachotherineachotherforeachother’?). The spirit of XTC and the much missed (by me anyway) Dogs Die In Hot Cars lives on in Hot Club De Paris, especially on tracks like the splendid ‘Dance a Ragged Dance’, at its heart a glorious call and response chorus driven by pounding, almost tribalistic drums (yes, tribalistic drums...reviewers have to put wanky things like that in’s the law). Other highlights? ‘Fuck You, The Truth!’ Yeah...fuck you...fuck Cheryl Cole, the weather, people who spit in the street and the man who invented mobile phones that can play shitty music through their shitty ‘loud’ speakers too while you’re at it. Fuck. As it happens ‘Fuck You, The Truth’, one of the ‘Club’s new tracks starts off as a pretty subdued ‘fuck you’ in fact. It doesn’t last though, quickly exploding into a shouty tirade against what sounded like ‘these carpets, these streets, these hands and these knees’. Nope, me neither. Sounded good though. Although the band started off by just playing, they quickly settled into between song Scouse bantering too, which I actually enjoyed as much as some of the tracks to be honest, especially the butt plugs for ears bit. I guess you had to be there but it was (to me at least) bloody funny. In a generous set (a good 20 songs or so) we got all ‘the hits’ too, including carousing versions of ‘Shipwreck’ and ‘Everything Everything’. The faux folk harmony singalong of ‘I Love You Like I Love Myself’ also stood out as a highlight. It takes guts (or several cans of Stella) to ditch the mics and sing ‘au naturel’ and the band were surprisingly harmonious (a future on the folk circuit singing ‘All Around My Hat’ surely beckons). Bonus points must also be awarded for the lead singers ‘tache, good enough to give that bloke from Gogol Bordello a run for his money...


Friday, February 05, 2010

Ding dong...Chapel Club hit The Flapper

Chapel Club - O Maybe I (Official Video) from Chapel Club on Vimeo.

Hotly tipped Smith's revivalists (actually that's a little unfair...although I daresay they're not too pissed off with the comparison) Chapel Club play The Flapper on Saturday 13th February. Get down there and who knows, you might find someone to 'cop off' with and/or grope on Valentines day. Then again that's not really in the spirit of Chapel Club's sound is it? You're better off just lurking at the back writing some poetry, mopping your brow with a silk hankie and sipping a light sherry (can you get a dark sherry? Buggered if I know...lighter fuel's more my tipple these days) . It'll be interesting to see how the 'Club go down this year. They have indie stardom written all over 'em and I wouldn't be surprised to see a thousand angsty teenage boys and girls swooning at their feet in a few months time. Get in before the crowds and you can be one of those boring fuckers (that'll be me then) who bangs on about seeing them 'before they sold out'.

Next week also sees the Vampire Weekend gig at the Academy of course. I'm holding out for a Gig Junkies reviewer's slot but, failing that, I'm digging a tunnel from Baron Towers right into the Academy toilets (trap 3). What could possibly go wrong eh?

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

REM-ember it this way

Charidee singles. You’ve got to admire the aim, if not the result. But what is it about charidee singles that makes artists go as OTT as possible eh? Yes I’m sure the cover of REM’s ‘Everybody Hurts’ will make a shed load of wonga for the people of Haiti - let’s just hope it gets through to those who need it - but mercy, mercy me, it’s a mess. Personally I’ll stick with the original (naturally I can't embed the original video here...thanks to those pesky Warner Brothers) if you don’t mind and make my donation another way. I’m not sure where REM stand on the trendometer these days. I’ve always been a fan and they’re one of the few groups who’ve (almost) moved me tears (for all the right reasons) during a gig. Granted it was Glasto and I’d had a couple of litres of scrumpy and the odd funny fag but nevertheless they – and this song – somehow made that magical connection that only music (of all the art forms) really can. Actually, the new version makes me want to cry too, but mainly ‘cos I’ve rammed a biro in each ear so I never have to hear it again...

PS: My thanks to all those who’ve passed on kind messages to Lady B. She’s getting better by the day and the rat poison’s working a treat. That’s obviously why you never hear of any rats getting an embolism eh?

Monday, February 01, 2010

Transmission interrupted...

Keen eyed readers may have noticed that the 'Aid's been a little quiet lately. There's a good reason. Lady B - faithful gig partner and 'other half' was rushed to A & E last week with a pulmonary embolism. Nasty. Happily she's on the mend but I'm still busy administering some TLC (as well as the odd dose of something called warfarin which it seems...rat poison). Whatever it does to rats it seems to be doing the job on Lady B. Normal service will be resumed soon-ish.

PS: In the middle of this trauma I unwisely decided to ditch my knackered old PC and buy a super duper new one. Suffice it to say our first few days together have been 'stressful'.