Thursday, 16 August 2007

Black Cat Bone, Jamie Clarke, The Unrecorded, Kat Flint - Monkey Chews

At some point in the distant past, in a galaxy called MySpace, I think I subscribed to Kat Flint's MySpace blog. Crikey, it must have been around yar ago, I vaguely remember a mention of LNFG webcasts. I grew bored after a few months and unsubscribed.

Still, by the power of the internet, here I am at her gig, just off Camden, in Monkey Chews, waiting on some friends coming through.

The audience is scratching double figures, the walls are dark, the lighting red and brow and subdued. The stage area takes up about a third of the room. 400 miles away I'm missing The Plimptons supporting Kunt and The Gang.

On first is Black Cat Bone, a bloke troubadour, looks like Pete Green, cockney accent vocals. Starts off with simple songs about thing and stuff, slightly messy guitar with fancy flourishes.

A few songs in and I'm stunned by his guitar virtuoso, imagine the surreality and lyricism of the Plimps but just narrowed down to the acoustic blues sector.

The chap's probably an understudy for Fleetwood Mac. He's playing another show elsewhere tonight too.

Jamie Clarke on next, he opens for Damian Rice dontcha know. Troubadour again, kind of hairy too. Starts off with a few technical difficuties.

Oh noes!! He has a loop delay effects pedal thing, sounds like a whole load of Tubular Bells style guitars.

Too fey for my tastes, but Drive Carefully Records would love him, Ceylan's mob too.

In manufacturing terms its more like single stage build than production line manufacture, when needs must I supose. It seems more like a craft than art, Pikelet was artier doing a similar thing. There's something disconcerting about seeing music being constructed rather than performed.

Enough with the troubadours, on next, setting up rather slowly is a girl standing behind a yellow box with cables trailing out. The chap beside me has a flyer saying they're The Unrecorded. I'm starting to feel self-conscious, folk are standing at the back but there are two seats ahead of me, lying empty and I could easily squidge along on this couch I'm on, room for another two at least. Texts from friends, promising half an hour.

The place is stowed and I start to worry for the friends.

The girl on stage is joined by Linus on electric keyboard and a baldy chappy who starts on 'wooden box you sit on' and then moves to bass.

The girl's yellow box seems to be primarily to hide behind.

Squelchy dub organ synth, scratchy percussion loop, steady plodding bass and deep early nineties dub vocals from the girl.

Its beautiful music but I'm afeard at any moment it could invoke Dido. Sometimes too pub MOR. The last minute appearance of a melodica was just about taking the piss.

Kat Flint, purer than all the others , no special effects or blues fanciness, just a girl and her guitar. I thought she sounded like Jennifer Warnes, Fiona says The Cranberries. The songs were all floaty and singy, I could gladly listen to them all day. However, when told that a song is about office romances, prostitutes or snogging zombies, Fiona would prefer it if you could tell that from the song on first listen.

She did a rather neat guitary thing in a couple of songs "Blue dress", where she started off finger-picking, then changed to plectrum strumming for choruses and back to finger picking for verses.

Final act, Kate Meranda and Band, Fiona thought they were okay, I thought they were atrocious. Right of stage you have a talented bass player, some chap in the wooden box thing who bore a striking resemblance to Neil Bratchpiece and on the left a chap on the Paraguaian Harp, I haven't had much experience with Paraguaian harpists so its hard to say if he was any good.

Centre stage is the girl singer, Kate Meranda, all dressed up for the occasion. At first I thought they sounded like a Linn Records reject, jazz/blues/world music, then I slowly became aware through the girl's inability to sing, riffig and warbling and waving arms about and dancing, they they were just a bit pants, and considered writing something about how she was disappointed not to get through the first round of X-Factor for three years running.

Sounded a bit like Bjork at times. When they came to murdering a version of People Are Strange I was almost for walking out. The line is "Women seem wicked..." not "Everyone seems wicked..." the extra syllables just can't fit, ever.

Then again, with the rolled-rrr "arrriba"s coming from the crowd and clapping in time with the music like a desperate stage manager's attempt to draw the crowd into the music rather than just listen, it comes clear that its just a friends and family show. They played songs they hadn't rehearsed, they told the audience they hadn't rehearse, this was the headline act for Christs sake, and they didn't have anything to play as an encore. Poor Kate adlibbing doesnt count.

Rather pleasant evening though from eARMusic, we'll be back next week.

On the way home there seemed to be trouble at The Barfly, mobs cheering.

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