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’...it 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.


carol barrett said...

Hi, Yeah I was at the gig am a massive massive fan of Goodnight Lenin, who grow and grow in stature, what a sound.Catch them when you can. Also loved First Aid kit so much I bought the album, haunting sounds with spell binding lyrics, all in all a quality night all round. cazzle

The Baron said...

Cheers Carol, yep, it was grand gig. I have high hopes for Goodnight Lenin!