Friday, 20 July 2007

The Just Joans, Pikelet, The Love Gestures, Darren Hanlon - The Hive

It started with The Other Chris on reception phoning through a message for me, "Can you look after Amydog?". I'd only met Amydog twice before, but a swift phonecall to southwest CHCP confirmed it, I was required to take a dog for a walk. Could easily fit it in before nipping across to Edinburgh.

So it was I acquired Amy, a shar pei, all creases, frowns and drool, from her mistress outside Kelvingrove Art Gallery.

It let her lead me, she had a far better idea of where it was we were going, I'd never taken a dog for a walk before. About forty minutes was how long we were supposed to be together, so we wandered round Kelvingrove Park, chasing squirrels, getting chatted up by small children and moaning about the weather. It was overcast, but not very rainy, just moist. So at the vaguely allotted time I returned to the Art Gallery and we waited.

No sign of the mistress, but there was lots of grass to be sniffed and joggers to scare, so we wandered off again. I took Amy to a petrol station to top up my mobile phone, we wandered round the park again, we wandered streets, we made friends with other dog enthusiasts. I made up lies about Amy, about whom I knew nothing.
So after three hours together, I was cold, wet and tired. Her mistress came back, Amy was ecstatic, and rather than heading tot he pub for a thank you beer, I bade my farewells and headedd off. Amy wanted to come too and through herself into the path of several cars to catch up with me.

"No Amy, you're probably not the target audience for The Just Joans, you won't think much of them."

Edinburgh: an hour later, I missed the Joanses, but chatted to them at the bar in The Hive, the a rescheduled venue after I'd gone to The Arc first.

An unassuming girl who looked suspiciously boyish sits alone, midstage, surrounded by instruments, her feet pummelling an effects box. Its rather useful that her first song was crap as you can gauge the rest of her set was so much better.

I used to be impressed by girl with a voice, an acoustic guitar and a reverb / delay / tape loop pedal. But after Astrid, Ceylan and that girl who did the half-arsed cover of "Crazy", tonight's multi-layered vocal chorus seemed just naff. Luckily the rest of the set did it all so much better.

Glokenspiels multitracked and pitch-shifted. Accordian single note drones as an entire song's backing track. Building up an entire drum track, like on a drum machine, one real drum at a time and a tape loop.

I think my favourite song, about why people work at a sewage plant, they lost their goldfish when they were young, seemed to invoke Badalamenti. Multi-layered guitars and even more multi-layered vocals, sounded refreshingly Twin Peaksy. I couldn't place the vocals, although just one girl, it sounded at time like a clunky folk ensemble or a reverb drenched shoegazer moment from the mid-nineties.

Next up were The Love Gestures they are the missing link between Anal Beard, The Hector Collectors and Hefner. Its the drumkit lashed together on top of a chair with gaffer tape and folk using wooden spoons as drumsicks wot gives it away. The waivering vocals build on this, turning to microphoneless howls of frustration when the songs demand it. The backbone to the majestic sound being the unstoppably professional bass twinned with a mic'ed up plucked cello played by...
So I was writing up The Love Gestures when I was accosted by an inquisitive member of the audience, "Are you writing a review? Who for?..." She'd never heard of Last Night From Glasgow Indie Eyespy (this site). Its a niche market I guess, she'd probably never heard of Sir Harry Kroto either but that's not to say he isn't successful.

Whilst we vaguely agreed about the last two bands, she didn't think much of the Just Joans, advising me not to even bother writing about them, "They had songs about going to the union on Friday afternoons." Ach, she was young and so naive, one day she'll be old, disillusioned and cynical like the rest of us, and will accept that The Just Joan are the voice of a generation.

Our conversation was interrupted by Darren Hanlon hitting the stage.

He's a warm and talented chap, a master of the craft of guitar playing and singing at the same time. And he does write some fine lyrics. For the first few songs he's stood alone on stage with a guitar plugged into Love Gesture's amp, in the traditional travelling troubador style. He's joined halfway through by Pikelet / Evelyn on drums, but it adds little to the performance.

The crowd enjoy him immensly, probly cos they're 50% Australian, amorous couples weaving intertwined, some perky girl I snogged years ago not recognising me, old acquaintances from Edinburgh Uni's Indiesoc.

Its the between song banter that's the nicest, the wonders of British crisp flavourings, buffets laid out by the promoter's parents, uncomfortable kuola bear inspired videos.

I was tired and cold and hungry, I had a long drive back to Glasgow, so I slipped out early, missing Darren's last few songs.


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