Monday, 3 September 2007

Hong Kong in the 60's, Paul Hawkins and thee Awkward Silences, The Gresham Flyers – The Tavistock Hotel

Shopping at Lakeside off the telly with the family, and t was murder driving into town, I would have ditched the car and gotten the underground, but I'd never had gotten the car back. I'm in a bowling alley underneath a hotel, just south of Euston station. The corridor into the venue was a cinema and kits at the door were drawing comic strips.

There are some people here dressed as superheros, well, capes and tin-foil. There's a stage set up adjacent to the bowling lanes and the MC just announced that I'd missed MJ Hibbett.

So on stage next are two seated keyboardists and a standing girl playing a Casiotone VL1, Hong Kong in the 60's, I think I may have missed them playing The Grosvenor the other night.
Its relaxed twinkly, chilled out indiepop, girl singing sweetly. A superhero themed song that took them three attempts to start properly.

The noise from the bowling lanes is distracting. This would suit a more intimate, dedicated venue, or maybe the jarring effect is intentional.

There are lots of people here who look like Ally Cook, I wonder what band he's in now, its kind of sad the level of underachievement that Dot To Dot achieved.

They swap instruments frequently and there are talented lead guitar noodles, but this group are sickly cutesy, the novelty only covers so much of their amateurishness, they need to ham it up a bit more, polish themselves.

Rather neat art deco / americana stylings at this venue, but its a bit of a mish mash kind of half-finished, all insulated pipework visible on the low ceiling, fixtures and fittings from half a dozen looks and feels.On my way to the bar I actually passed a karaoke booth, in use.

I recognise no one here, not even an MJ Hibbett is visible, apart from the Ally Cook-alike, there's a chap who looks like Tom Snowball, but its clearly not him.

The Flyers are here, should I review them, ignore them, or high horse my sorry ass. Dunno. Whatever come out of my pen when they're on. Why do I do it? Why do I come to these shows? There must be a dozen others I could go to, or stay home and noodle guitar, rather than doggedly trooping out night after night. Sometimes the light shines in such a way I think I'm just a trolling real life form. How can I stop, without just falling silent? That way lies oblivion.

Paul Hawkins and thee Awkward Silences on next, a drummer wearing a Lone Ranger-style mask, violinist in sunglasses, and The Spectre on lead guitar, they crank it up in the garage rock genre for a few minutes before Captain Awkward, their singer, takes to the stage. Its nice, gritty, dirty rock, at times with lead guitar which is both blistering and soaring at the same time.

Rolling, hollered vocals stamped on top, doesn't sound like they're practised much, but even better for that.

Of course, in the film, Jack Black would playCaptain Awkward, stalking round the audience as he sings, preaching whisky drenched sermons.

Before the final act there was a Pop Art Superhero game show thing, won by a young lady, the artist behind Emo Dave, the name rings a bell, I wonder what league its in.

Last orders at the bar passes or possibly the barman dicking about with the lights. I occupy myself by colouring in one of the Emo Dave posters that have been left for colouring in, doing it in blue biro in the Naked Chicks on Post It Notes style. I left my work on the bar in the vague hope that it would be picked up by some kind of art gallery curator, who'd subsequently read this, click on the the nekkid chicks website, recognise my genius and offer me an exhibition.

The Flyers take to the stage. I realise that for most of this review I've been calling them in an abbreviated way rather than by their full name The Gresham Flyers, it could be a cheap gimmick to shoot myself in the foot in google searches. Back in Bolton '95 Jim Bean's band were called Flyer, me and Nosni wrote this song called Dire Flyer, “I woke up on Thursday morning it seemed that the end had come, I knew what was going to be happening that night and it didn't seem like fun”.

The Flyers take to the stage, polished and funky, the sound in here has improved since the earlier bands, although the vox levels could do with being tweaked up a little. Nice “bah bah bah” choruses.

Whilst the drums briefly stutter, Hong Kong in the 60s leave the venue. It gets a little prog on stage, maybe too knowing, I wish I could bounce views off someone.

Fuck it, I was trying so hard, but damn it, they're starting to disappear up their own arses. Damn it. Do something to pull it back!

Time passes and they remain on a steady course. This jury's still out on whether Sharon's yelps contribute positively. The stop-startiness reminds me of My Legendary girlfriend, but without the intellectual backbone that McGazz had. This is richer and more rolling.

Oh, Hong Kong's back... briefly.

Waz's singing fits some songs perfectly, but doesn't quite have the emotional range, Sharon should do more of that sort of thing, kind of like The Validators in reverse.

Parking ought to be a nightmare round here, but it seemed easy. I wonder if my car's been towed.




Tim from Hong Kong In The 60s said...

Hello! Thanks for watching our set and reviewing us. This was our 4th gig, so it's still weird to have people talk about us. I really dig your searing honesty.

HOWEVER! I must take exception to this crazy notion that we swanned in and out of the venue... I'll have you know we arrived painfully early (4:00pm!) to watch all the bands. We had to leave for food during Paul Hawkins' set and congregated back at the gig just as The Gresham Flyers started, and we stayed to the end. They were pretty good!

So many bands just turn up to play their set, and don't bother watching anyone else on the bill. I'd hate for your readers to think that we're one of them.

Tim xx

Dianne said...

Hey!! 'Young Lady Artist Behind Emo Dave' here.

Thanks for mentioning the comic, you should have brought your colouring in down to go on the website and stuff

Anyway, hope you enjoyed it and stuff, and thanks again. Pop Art is normally a million times better, I think the venue let us down on that one. You should come down for Bowl and Sebastian on the 2nd October.

xx Dianne.