Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Vix n’The Kix / Kat Vipers / Little L @ The Hare & Hounds, Monday 15th March 2010

Ladies make up 50% of the human race (roughly). Strange then that relatively few of them seem to make it into bands. Why is that? Answers on a thong please. Tonight there were plenty of ‘em though. Ladies that is. Maybe there were plenty of thongs too, I wasn’t looking, although the barman was walking a bit funny...

First up singer thongwriter (oh balls...I’ve got thongs on the brain now) Little L (and a chap called Jos, who, I’m pretty sure, was thongless). Like a bright ray of sunshine on a dull Spring day Little L can’t fail to bring a smile to your face. Quirkier than the average female singer songwriter she’s got some great lyrics and nice vocal acrobatics (witness the instantly catchy’ faaaaaaaawwwwwlllliiiinnnnngg’ bit in‘Hasty Hasty’). Each song seemed to come with a little story and there were some delightful cover versions (or bits of cover versions at least) in amongst the self penned stuff, with a quick snippet of ‘Neverending Story’, a great chunk of George Michael’s ‘Faith’ and surprisingly successful acoustic take on Gaga’s ‘Poker Face’, which is highly appropriate as I through Little L was an (WARNING: cheesy link ahoy) ‘ace’ start to the evening.

Next on the bill, and someone I’ve been looking forward to seeing for ages, Kat Vipers. It’s always a good sign when you can’t handily compare one artist with another. I know it’s lazy journalism to a certain extent but the quickest way to communicate what someone sounds like is to compare them to someone else. That’s not so easy with Kat, but musical references could include anyone from Tori Amos and Regina Spector right through to Ofra Haza and Baby Dee. In fact she’s a bewitching blend of cultures, styles and influences, just cop a listen to ‘Vindicate’ for instance (a justifiably angry rant against the piss poor quality of a lot of the music spoon fed to the masses) and ‘Quack Song’ on her MySpace page. Truly original stuff. Tonight was just Kat (sans band) and, judging by her recent blog and quick chat with her after the gig, this tour is something of a swansong to her ‘old’ material, which would be real shame. On top of the songs already mentioned several others stood out as particularly strong (‘Freak’ and ‘Trojan Horse’), so perhaps there’s room for reinterpretations of some of these in Kat v. 2.0? Whatever her future direction you can bet your bottom dollar that it’s going to be well worth following...

Coming hot on the heels of the recent Fuzzbox reunion (yes...they’re back, back, BACK!) tonight sees Vix Fuzzbox leading her other band Vix n’the Kix. Truth be told in places they sound a lot like Fuzzbox would’ve sounded if their blend of pop and scuzzy punk had been allowed to develop. Both ‘Bye Bye’ and ‘Blah Blah Blah!’ are just perfect Fuzzbox tunes, fizzing with energy and attitude. Elsewhere there was more of an eclectic mix of influences with a cover of ‘The Clapping Song’ and some rockabilly touches. Vix, like Miles Hunt (of t’Wonderstuff) is a hugely underrated Midlands musical treasure and, if there were any justice in this world Vix n’the Kix would be duffing up the Sugababes and giving Girls Aloud a collective wedgie. But there ain’t. So tonight we lucky bunch in the Hare and Hounds get Vix and the girls to ourselves. Both the aforementioned ‘Bye Bye’ and ‘Blah Blah Blah’ enjoyed rowdy outings and an unexpected highlight came in the form of a cover of early We’ve Got A Fuzzbox and We’re Gonna Use It single ‘Rules and Regulations’. Seizing the opportunity for a quick chin wag with Vix after the show she revealed (cue fanfare) that the forthcoming Fuzzbox shows would embrace both their punky and poppy eras (hurrah), possibly with a couple of new tracks thrown in for good measure (double hurrah). Rehearsals are also well underway now and, according to the lady herself, proving to be “more fun than we ever imagined!” Fuzztastic.

PS: All three of my snapper chums were there tonight (click on the links under 'Da Snappers' to the left of this) and check out the results. Picture perfection.

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