Saturday, November 19, 2011

Mamas Gun / Arabella @ Birmingham Academy, Friday 18th November

Capping off a week of frantic gig going (5 in 6 nights...yes...I know...) tonight might have been a bit heavy going had it not been for the mind, body and soul lifting music of both bands on the bill. Bless ‘em. Sadly we missed opener Kristina (it was really early doors tonight...3.30 or something...) but Arabella - a local outfit from Cov with a neat line in white boy soul – were mightily impressive. Well worth a listen or catching live.

Mamas Gun have been around for about 4 years now, delighting small but perfectly informed crowds in the UK with their instantly loveable blend of soul, funk n’pop. The last time I saw them (about 18 months ago) I lamented the fact that they weren’t playing to a much bigger crowd and, whilst numbers were most definitely up, the same gripe applied this evening. As with their last gig it doesn’t seem to bother them unduly though and I doff my proverbial cap at any band that manages to keep up this kind of relentless energy and effort in the face of much smaller audiences than they deserve. That’s a rant for another day though, tonight was an ass shaking joy from start to finish.

With two albums of gorgeous hook laden soul pop now under their belts there’s plenty of material to choose from and tonight’s set was nothing less than a ‘greatest hits’ show...The Life & Soul, Finger On It, Pots Of Gold, Rocket To The Moon, Reconnection...just one awesome track after another. Soul purists and train spotters may point out the influences from previous generations of artists but Mama’s Gun ain’t a covers band merely rehashing existing tracks, they’re genuinely adding some remarkably great music to the whole soul/funk genre. Perhaps more importantly though they’ve got a knack for delivering a 100% satisfaction guaranteed live show too. I’ve been to some gigs in my time. Thousands in fact. This one has to make the top 10. No question. I normally make notes, analyse, do the odd comparison but tonight all I could do was grin like a loon and shake a tail feather...not a pretty sight I’ll grant you but there we go.

Lead singer Andy Platts is as soulful as a plate of gumbo, ‘The Professor’ (bassist Rex Horan) is possibly the coolest dude in history (check out that ‘tache...), keyboardist Dave ‘Eighties’ Burnell teases out the kind of notes Booker T would give up his MG’s for, Terry ‘Spiller’ Lewis funks his guitar like a man making sweet lurrrrrrve and drummer ‘Union’ Jack Pollitt provides the essential backbeat that drives the whole thang along. It's just a joy to watch and together they put on the show of their lives last night. In fact I positively defy anyone to go see them and not love every single frickin' second.

If you only ever go to one gig in your life, make it Mama’s Gun.


Russ L said...

So, if you can do five-over-six, how about considering doing the full GDFAF next year?

After tonight I'll have done three-operas-and-one gig in five days (saw you at Wire but there was a dense mass of people between us while they were already on), and that's the closest I've been in a few years. You seem like the obvious choice to continue the noble tradition, though, what with you going to everything everywhere all the time.


On other matters (and it's not that I want to be a downer), but I didn't like Mama's Gun when I saw them supporting Our Bev a few years ago. Do they still have that show-off bass-player who's about twenty years older than the rest of them?

The Baron said...

Ahhhhh...the old GDFAF challenge rears its head again eh? It would probably polish me off, that's why. Three operas and one gig sounds pretty extreme to me though but then again...believe it or not...I've never been to an opera in my life. I know...the shame.

Mamas Gun and Bev are best buds (she's on their latest album) and yse, they do still have the same bassist. He's actually a lovely guy. He came bounding up to me after the gig with a recipe for moustache wax! A lovelier dude you couldn't wish to meet. He was in a great funk metal band called Cinema Prague 'back in the day' too. Well worth a listen.

It was just a great, fun, gig. Hard to pin down why but, it just was. Anything that gets me dancing has to be pretty remarkable...

The Baron said...

'yse' what does 'yse' mean? Imagine what I'd be like if did do GDFAF? Good grief.

Russ L said...

It's like "yes", only you mean it more.

Someone will have to do GDFAF again, at some point. And if The Rest of The World collectively forces that someone to be me then I may well never forgive you all.

I'll try again with Mama's Gun at some point. Am I right in thinking that they're big in Japan?

I'm off to see Our Bev tonight. I love Our Bev.

The Baron said...

Yes, da Gun are 'big in Japan' as the legend goes. Think they're releasing a single with Bev soon too! She's got taste that girl.

Anyway, yes, I hereby nominate YOU to do're a young man in the prime of live whereas I'm an old duffer. That's decided then...