Thursday, August 05, 2010

The Phenomenal Handclap Band @ The Hare and Hounds, Wednesday 4th August 2010

It was a close call between this gig and the Raghu Dixit Project (happening in the room next door) but TPHB just edged it. I still think my idea for the Phenomenal Raghu Handclap Project had potential though (I was trying to get the promoters to put both bands on together at one point). Maybe next time. It could’ve worked you know, especially as the TPHB have what you might call ‘esoteric’ musical tastes.

No warm up acts tonight but some good tunes on the ‘wheels of steel’ to get us in the mood. Standing right next to the speakers I could feel my tea (fresh pasta and a healthy chunk of ciabatta if you’re interested) gently vibrating in my stomach, always a good sign. Tonight six of the band mounted the stage (I think there’s sometimes eight of ‘em) and before you could say Santana their ‘look’ gave you a fair idea of what you were in for. In fact for large chunks of the set you could’ve been in late 60’s San Francisco watching some great psych rock band, tripping your head off. All we needed were a few topless ladies doing that swirly hand dance and a couple of lava lamps and we’d have been sorted. Actually I’d have been happy with only the topless ladies.

But then, just when you think you’ve got them nailed as one thing they go and perform the deeply soulful ‘Baby’, a track that wouldn’t be too out of place on Marvin Gaye’s seminal ‘What’s Going On’. Then they fast forward to the proto rap stylings of Blondie’s ‘Rapture’ or Tom Tom Club’s ‘Wordy Rappinghood’ with their own funk infused take on the genre(and set highlight) ’15 to 20’. It’s like being in a musical time machine...I was half expecting a little glam rock next. But, whilst TPHB clearly wear their influences on their sleeves, when you’re influenced by the good shit that’s no bad thing right? In fact this is one dose of the ‘Clap’ that’s well worth catching (wow, getting a punning reference about sexual diseases in there...that’s a new low for me).

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