Monday, January 30, 2012

Capital Sun / The Tone Thieves / The Chris Whiting Band @ The Rainbow, Saturday 28th January

Slowly but surely...well, slowly at least...I’m getting back out there into Gigland and tonight returned to my old stomping ground (I attended pretty much every one of the weekly 444 club nights a few years back), The Rainbow, which always manages to seem both further away from ‘town’ and closer to it all at the same time. I reckon they keep moving it to avoid sniffy post-yuppie types moaning about all the noise it doesn’t make any more after they were forced to seal up all of the windows, doors, gaps in the floorboards etc and fit little woolly booties on the local pigeons just in case the sound of their feet on the roof disturbed someone’s ruddy beauty sleep. Gah! Good grief.

Anyway... tonight a trio of local acts kicking off with The Chris Whiting Band fronted by (go on...guess?) singer/songwriter Chris Whiting. Starting off the set with a song called No One Wants To Listen to Us is a brave move but it’s a great track, rollicking along at a decent pace. It’s perhaps typical of Chris’ self deprecating wit too, something that was regularly punctuated by the drummer’s ba-dum-tish (a drummer incidentally who had a moustache to die for...made mine look positively pedestrian) throughout the between song banter. Chris has got a neat line in lyrics though, stuff like stalker anthem Camden Town in particular shows a natural ability to inhabit other characters...unless he really is a stalker...hmmmm. No, I’m sure he isn’t...seems a lovely chap. Set closer please Forgive Me “I met a chum in a bottle of rum...” could almost be a modern retelling of Squeeze’s Up The Junction, which ain’t a bad tune to share a bed with eh?

Next up The Tone Thieves who were formally (...some of them at least) Hearing Aid favourites LP45. Jazz shags funk in a series of compromising positions whilst giving rock a handjob before collapsing in a sweaty heap on the’s that good. Kicking off with Confidence (literally and metaphorically) there’s an energy and sass...yes...sass to their performance that’s all too rare these days.

Being as old as time itself it reminds me a little of the jazz funk revival back in the ‘80s (touches of Working Week perhaps here and there) albeit with a rockier edge that’s more evident in the live show than on the recorded stuff I’ve heard so far. Blessed with two vocalists, Simon (higher and louder) and Murray (deeper and quieter) they’re able to tackle an impressively wide range of material from full on rock outs (yeah...grrr) to more reflective tracks with ease. Perhaps most impressive of all though is the polish that they all have, a lot of this stuff has a degree of complexity that musical nerds like me really appreciate. That being said they neatly sidestep the trap of being too ‘jazz’ for a wider audience perhaps more familiar with the works of Miles Kane than Miles Davis. Impressive stuff. Ones ‘tone’ watch.

Finally Capital Sun, tonight celebrating the launch of their brand new single, Forgotten Songs. Brum’s got arguably the richest rock heritage on the planet with the holy trinity of Zepplin, Sabbath and Traffic all having started out or honed their act here. Whilst not as heavy as this trio Capital Sun nonetheless follow in this grand tradition with their pleasingly infectious brand of more acoustic rock. The new single perhaps wouldn’t feel out of place on a Manics album whilst B Side, D.O.C, has a mellower feel, shades perhaps of System Of A Down’s Lonely Day. Elsewhere the band dabbled in a little jazz (The Ballad of Rocky Lane) and some Mersey Beat (The Wild Song) neatly enriching their musical palette (what the hell am I going on about here...”enriching their musical palette”...what is this, Mojo Magazine?!). Influences – and musical palettes – aside lead singer Glen was in particularly fine voice this evening and the set had a suitably celebratory feel with a clearly devoted fan base lapping up every track. Nice one Sun.

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