Thursday, 26 April 2007

The Gems, Joe Kane - Out to Play - Brel

Stagger in, halfway through the first act's set, after watching Laura Palmer's killer confess all on DVD, sure, we saw it coming, the evil that men do and all that, but there's still three discs of episodes to watch and all that business with the blue rose to address.

The place was kind of half full, the weather's braw so there are crowds outside. I must be about two thirds through the best years of my life and instead of talking to any of the beautiful women the weather brought out, I'm in here, scribbling in a notebook and trying to justify my review slates to Joe Kane. Maybe I can just awkward him out.

The guys with guitars at the front are too nice, too polite with their banter and song introductions. Jolly and forgettable.

This place reminds me of The Ceilidh Place in Ullapool, family holidays when I was real young, tonight is a night of regressing. God help me, I'm drowning in inescapable misplaced regret and strangling bitterness.

I'm not sure where I saw it, but Joe Kane was billed tonight as being a "local indie hero". It stands up, first with The Stunts who I understand played the Barrowlands, then with The Owsley Sunshine for many years. Was it three or four years ago they did The Owsley Sunshine Sub-Crawlin' thing, stopping for a pint at every underground station, finishing at the 13th Note for an epic gig. I'd caught up with them first at The Captain's Rest, first time I'd met most of that crowd. Vague drunken memories of Dom Newton getting kicked out of The Big Blue for playing the blues, rescuing Adam Plimp from leaping onto the underground tracks at Kelvinbridge and losing track of everyone at Brel.

Crumbs, somethings never change.

With the release of Watermelon, their third album, a year ago and the addition of a few more members, The Owsley Sunshine kind of discombobulated into a handful of bands, The Likes of Use, The Fast Camels, The Getset Go, and Only Joe Kane.

Ah, some chap called Beggan has hit the stage. They'd been billed as The Gems. My affection here pre-dates the mighty 'Sunch. Almost a decade ago, my favourite local band were Sound Buggy, playing King Tuts supporting tours almost every week.

They had a single called Lovelord with the b-sides, Another Emotion and Droppin' Out. I recorded me a cover of Droppin' Out the other week. I think Sound Buggy split in 2000. I'd accost their bass player, dreadlocked Tommy, in the street, regularly, and he explained that some of them were in a band called The Gems. So tonight, on stage, its just Eddie Beggan.

There's a lot of pop trying to escape from behind the acoustic guitar, you could hear it pleading in his voice, neat guitar work. He finished up with a cover of New Order's Blue Monday.

Joe Kane on stage, certain stabbing qualities to the guitar and vocals, from soft whispers to stabby vitriolic howls. Foot stomp percussion. His sixties, Kinksy, Beatles, Moody Blues, Orgone Box roots disolved and pwned as his own, the room is held enraptured. The hooks, riffs and nods are warm, fuzzy and familiar, much like his beard.

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