Sunday 29 April 2007

Ally Kerr, Chris Leonard, Tom Snowball, Francis MacDonald - Cottiers

I miss the smell of smoke. Pubs, beer and smoke, it reminds me of being young.

I'm an hour late and nothing's started yet. Miles Davis jazz playing and the place is bustling more than last week, no comfortable standing room. I might be relegated to standing awkwardly close to a middle-aged couple, having a quiet Sunday evening drink.

Gah, even worse, its two middle aged couple. I am become Elexender Brown.

Time passes.

Near the front Ally Kerr and Chris Leonard look poised to pick up their guitars. Other awkward standing folk at the back, less awkward, but in couples, no one as alone as I.

A dreamy set, stalked by the spectre of mic feedback and almost drowned out by apathetic audience conversations. It sounded like a hand reaching out in the dark.

I wish I could bring a girl to shows like this, we'd drink wine and talk over the music.

Tom Snowball, his greatest song is "Credit Debonairs", the line about "Computers count our friends", his songs have the greatest lyrics. He wins over the crowd, but its a hard fought battle withquite a few casualties, but they stop talking when he sings.

He manages to plug the Littlest Album, without ever saying its name, which considering the past few days is somewhat a relief.

I've heard some of the songs before, recorded them even, but tonight he seems to slow everything down, mid-song, drawing out choruses, leaving people craning on the edges of their seats expectantly. Seemed a more forthright performance than last night.

He looks quite young does Francis MacDonald, considering Teeneage Fanclub and BMX Bandits legacy. Oop, vocals are a touch too loud to start off with, they're making the bench I'm sitting on resonate up my arse.

I'm a bit underwelmed to be honest, there's something missing, like the script says winsom, but the heart beats for something else.

Frequent words forgetting isn't helping to win me over.

Four or five songs in, and he's more comfortable in his skin, like he, his guitar, the words and the audience are on the same level. The singing becomes a closer match to way back when.

Saturday 28 April 2007

Telemachus, Nathan Persad, Tom Snowball, Joe Kane, Murnie - 13th Note

Its a dark, cold and foggy night out, and inside its warm, low key and friendly. Uncle Brendan is somewhere at the back fiddling with sound levels, and the cute new barmaid is serving with a smile.

On stage, the first act, playing guitar with an array of effects pedles and drum + bass machine backing is the cartoonist known as Rob Miller, tonight known as Telemachus. He bares a striking resemblance to the comic book character Elexender Brown. This gig looks like one of his strips, achingly honest, like we can see inside his head, looking out his eyes. When he played the Tchai Ovna a few months back I wasn't convinced, but tonight the man is an artist, every nuance, every reverb and guitar jangle, the slow pace and epic tones, carefully crafted, even the slightly too quiet vocals, supposed to be that way. He seems far away, but the music is so loud, and vaguely dischordant.

The set ends unexpectedly, jarring even, he wouldn't have it any other way.

Nathan Persad is if MJ Hibbett discovered boogie, songs about lifestyle changes cos of new girlfriends, dedicated to Maggie Broon, songs co-written with Adam Plimpton.

Do I mention him in every review? Quite possibly, I ought to cut down on that. But not tonight, he's curated and arranged all this and the Littlest Album 3. Why does he do it? Why do I do it? Banging my head against the cell door like I'm Leland Palmer or something. Why can't I stop? What am I expecting from Glasgow Indie Eyespy, Last Night from Glasgow, manc_ill_kid, The Plimptons, Ivan Lendil Music, The Wolfknuckles, Shag Times, One Big Snog, SchaudenFreude, Somewhere in The Sun, any of this? The futile hope that some girl from far away will look up and remember and pick up the phone, all forgiven? Wouldn't it be easier to pick up the phone or ring the doorbell myself, rather than spraying this across the nation, half-hearted wank if anything. Maybe that's why she's so far away, and I'm left here dreaming of things that never were, aren't and never will be. This will never work out, I'll always be feeling my way through a fog of choking emotions and deluded beliefs. I am Francesco Petrarca with a 407 mile long conveyor belt of Lauras. Under the sunshine can't I just tell her the way I feel? or would that shatter everything?

And why's it always dead sheep?

The room's slowly filling up, forty paying customers at the 1 hour point.

Someone near the bar says (about Nathan) "This sounds like Johnathan Richman"

Looking at the expression on Adam's face, its clear how wrong I am about his motives. Sheer, unadulterated glee.

Nathan's enjoying himself, pwning hecklers, he's a natural entertainer, given the opportunity to entertain and spread a little happiness.

Time passes

I doubt anyone could sound warmer or fuzzier than Tom Snowball and if I were a girl about whom he'd written a song, my heart would melt. Elements of Americana on the vocals I guess, on reflection sounds like a stripped down Decemberists, deep resonance from the guitar, audience talking loudly.

Time passes

Once again, its Only Joe Kane, onstage alone with backing mp3s, so its like a whole band. The audience, pre-programmed, holler after each song.

The only act tonight playing with a full band are Murnie, drums, keyboards and guitar. Sounding rather rock tonight, a lilting Dire Straits.

They have an old school music stand for lyrics and sweet noodly keyboards which doesn't quite gel with the harsh guitar.

Nathan Persad, The Pendulums - Tchai Ovna

Nathan Persad reminds me of Julian Cope. Whilst last night the between song banter was merely nice, this takes it to a higher level of wholesomness.

Guitar with enthusiasm. A bit merseybeat. Ooh, Spinal Tap are reforming for the Live Earth gigs, the week after the Princess Di memorial show.

Adam say "Yes"

Pendulums - 5 people, 20 instruments

Adam is here, and Tom Snowball and Davy Just Joans and several cute girls standing at the back, in fact, this place is more packed than I've seen it in ages.

New agey and songs about gnomes. Maybe too sickly sweet. Chord sequences named after the hobbs on an oven, songs about breaking someone's teapot by accident, featuring contact details and phone number sung in verse.

I think it was their double-bass player's grandfather who invented the glass milk bottle. I've never really liked The Pendulums, they seem too, hippyish, but well, people are really into them, I've seen them play gigs where there are loads of people dancing, really dancing, even though it was 1974 the last time they tickled the top forty.

Of course, tonight's kind of in aid of The Littlest Album 3, a 7" record with 12 one minute long songs by twelve bands, curated by Alex Thee Moths, even though it looks like Adam's doing all the leg work.

There ought to be more shows across the rest of the UK, it seems unfair that Glasgow benefits so much from such a great gathering of musos.

I did only catch the last two songs of Nathan's set, he's playing the next night at the 13th Note, so I can catch up then.

Other reviews

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.

Sunday 22 April 2007

Green Peppers, Dropkick, Ally Kerr, Chris Leonard - Cottiers

Its been years since I was at a gig at the Cottiers, the bands were playing in the church that time. But tonight, tonight they're playing in the restaurant bar. At the back, where I'm stood, the acoustics are poor.

At the front between the twin speakers of the PA are Ally Kerr and Chris Leonard. Two guitars and two mics, nice lush sparkly music.

There ought to be more candles in here. Oop, I spy Stevie Jackson.

I wonder often, if these songs work. Do they mend the broken heart or return the girl? Or do they serve merely to sate and cultivate hope?

Their final song is the new single, out tomorrow, well an acoustic version. Why is a single?

I thought the sound in here was poor a few paragraphs ago, that the vocals were distorted, refracted and garbled by the time they reached the back of the room. But, between bands, when its just a CD over the PA, the sounds better.

Dropkick, from Edinburgh, started out sounding much like Simon and Garfunkle in mid Boxer-era. They have much in common with the Proclaimers - glasses, guitars, hair. Not sure if they're brothers, don't look like twins. Nice melodic harmonies, inoffensive.

Hmm, halfway through they become a little whiney, kind of gnawing.

Some people come in and join me at the back, they have a dog. Its kind of bored, but every so often it gets all interested in something and wags its tail. I wonder what it thinks of Dropkick... Rowf? Rowf... grrrr...

Its now sitting on the floor, gazing at a wall, timing how long people spend in the toilets..

Me and the dog are bonding, working together to form an awkward baricade to people trying to get out the back door. Man and beast as a team.

I did like the Dropkick's last two songs, some of the best harmonies I've heard since last time, and rather neat decending chord sequences.

I'm skint, I hope they don't try pimping me a CD. My last money of the month is going towards paying customs duty on the Twin Peaks series 2 DVD, not the Dropkick album, sorry lads. Maybe I should fake being on the phone.

Jim McCulloch, a man of many bands, BMX Banditos, Superstar, Soup Dragons and now the Green Peppers, a band of one. Kind of unassuming, he just kind of started playing, no build up, no intro, just throwing himself into it.

A jangly guitar antecedance and more upbeat than the other acts of the night. Something pleading about his voice.

I can't remember if I've seen the Green Peppers before. Aye Superstar countless times, but not Jim alone. How come his songs sound so familiar? Surely not just from hours listening to his MySpace page?

Both riffing off each other, carrying the tune whilst the other noodles, its rare to see man and guitar so in tune with each other, makes my performance with the dog earlier in this review seem positively amateur.

He does a neat drop-D droning thing, there's probably a word for it, but I was off ill for that guitar lesson.

I don't think I like anyone enough to relegate this to background music for a conversation, how can everyone else here?

The Just Joans, Babybones, 18 Wheels - Drive Carefully Records - 13th Note

The Just Joans were really good apparently, better than last night. I was trudging my way across town, missing them, arriving in time to catch the second band setting up.

Babybones. Shouty shouty, Joy Joy and discussions about how the shouty girl's hair has changed since last time they played a Drive Carefully night. She'd had it curlier and tied back tightly, now it bares a striking resemblance to a girl I knew in Sweden.

Oop, an ex-flatmate is here, she still owes me about seventy quid from a phonebill from 2001.

18 Wheels, fronted by a gentleman whos a cross between Eddie Izzard and Oliver Reed, lurging around the stage self-assuredly. The Deep Fried Wolfknuckles should aim for him.

Rather fast guitar garage rock with mumbled rambling lyrics. Cool lead guitar, nice use of effects there. The Rhythm guitar, a beat up acoustic with pickups taped on, played round the guy's knees.

Guitarist and bassist leaning back on each other, forming a wee ho down tunnel, that the singer chuckled at and demolished.

"Goodnight Glasgow!"

I wrote off the debt years ago, after about six months of nagging, phonecalls and text messages. Doesn't mean I've forgotten or want to be like all friends with her and owt.

And so it was, tagging along with the Drive Carefully Crew to their traditional aftershow venue, the Barfly, colliding with the mighty Obscura aftershow entourage. Bless.

"Goodnight Glasgow"



Emma Pollock, Camera Obscura - The ABC

Not sure who the first chap on stage was, an Australian friend of the Obscura's, with a guitar and array of effects, reverb, delay and chorus I guess. I'll call it a bit shoegazery.

Missed most of his set, serves him right for clashing with Dr Who. Not sure who a Dalek/Human hybrid is going to turn out, if I was twenty years younger I'd be a bit scared, but now I just think he looks like a man in a costume. I see this series is still following the strategy of stealing monsters from the Wonderful World of Richard Scarry.

"Grr, the Daleks, up to their dirty tricks again,"

Second up was Emma Pollock formerly of the Delgados.

"So that's who they named the park after."
"What? Emma Park?"

I saw my flatmate, the singer from the Wolfknuckles, Blair B&S's video chap, Joe from The Great money Trick, Christoph who I keep getting introduced to, the folk from Sounds of Sweden, and I think I saw Erik from Wake the President.

I never really got into The Delgados back in the day, they weren't pop enough, my older brother had on of their albums. Emma seemed pleasant enough, fretting about telling the audience her name too many times, bless 'er.

The room darkened, The Mighty 'Ob trooped onstage to an old tape of Andy Stewart's Donald Where's Yer Troosers.

TracyAnne explained this was the last night of their 4-month tour and they were exhausted, and that she'd already spotted ten people she knew in the crowd. Aye, welcome home.

I'm sure she mangled the lines to some of the songs, maybe that's where Adam Plimpton gets it from, but after so many month of the road playing the same songs, like c'mon.

They've come a long way since playing the Cottiers Theatre with The Hermit Crabs in 2003. My flatmate tells me that Adam Plimpton almost got into a fight with with his fiancee's cousin there. I remember being very drunk. Could they actually have plotted their trajectory from there to here? Who would have thougt? Well, we never doubted for a second.

Their latest album, "Lets Get Out of This Country", is a Teenage Fanclub tip, moving on from Eighties Fan-era Stuart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastian production. The change seems to have paid off. Halfway through Alan the roadie walks on with the band's shopping from Tescos, the band now supplying music for TV advert, they shall be TopLoader 2.

Gav on bass had a small Tardis money box on his bass amp, I wonder if they have a TV backstage to watch Dr Who live or if he just videoed it for later.

They introduced Francoise, the secret seventh member of the band, covering on guitars, looking a little awkward on stage. How come he gets an introduction, but the ever dependable string sectrion don't?

This one time, last summer, I was wandering home and Cafe Indie was burning down in the evening, so I videoed it with my digital camera and pondered whetehr to sell the footage to the BBC for their news report, or string the clips together to make a video for Razzle Dazzle Rose. Its a beautiful song, and the overwhelming ending always gets me, with its kind of wall of sound thing going on and trumpet leading although buried under all the other instruments.

And invisible tear ran down my cheek during the encore cover of ABBA's Super Trouper, a thousand people singing "I was sick and tired of Everything, When I called You Last Night From Glasgow"

Ooh, Carey on keyboards looked foxier than last time I saw them play.



Saturday 21 April 2007

Unknown Forces, The Plimptons, Les Enfant Bastard, The Just Joans, Catface - The Captain's Rest

Walked straight past the Captain's Rest, seeking out a free cash machine, the one outside the Shell/Sainsburys was nearest, but even then one of the buttons was broken, and we all got a free recipt.

Meanwhile at the venue, Adam's fretting. The downside of having half a dozen bands playing in a venue this size is that there's not quite enough room for paying customers, like myself. More significantly, this is the launch night for The Littlest Album 3. Twelve songs, under a minute long, by twelve bands, all on one 7" vinyl record, still at the pressing plant about 400 miles away.

It starts.

What is this glitchy noodly pish? Some quiet looking chap sat with his guitar plugged into a laptop. Hmm, I recognise this 200Hz sine wave, and despite the chap's enthusiastic smiling, its still pish. He did apologise to the audience, mind.

Bah, who am I trying to kid? I was listening to The KLF's seminal 1990 ambiant album, Chill Out earlier today and it sounds very much like this chap is just doing his own live remix. Live!! On Stage!!! For One Night Only!!

Plimptons slowly make their way to the stage, in dribs and drabs, painfully slowly, but the rest of the audience don't mind, it just lowers the bar I guess.

They start with Ocean Colour Ressurrection, a 90's/60's Britpop pastiche, tonight possibly missing several instruments and microphones due to them not being plugged in. This is why bands usually have soundchecks.

"I quite enjoyed it, I found it an exhilarating experience"
I dream that not just one day, Adam will remember to hold his microphone to his mouth when his singles and actually verbalise every line, but will do it every single time he's on stage.

"Aw, don't ask me man, I've seen the 10 times this year"

Playing Impulse Records, their Pulp-ish song at 3 time normal speed could have been a stroke of genius.

"It was good... brief..."

Les Enfant Bastards, a three piece tonight with Rowan Plimpton on drums, a cello and male singer with guitar and harmonica. Sounded like a male Joanan Newsom, maybe even like like Hefner, one of the band's top influences.

"I quite enjoyed it, found it an exhilarating experience.

Next up were the Just Joans, the audeince are drunk, and not so much restless, but they've been there for ages, and you know, things and stuff. Rowan's back on stage, playing drunks for the third band of the night and the fourth band of the past twenty four hours, (Tibi Lubin last night apparently).

Shame the crowd were talking loudly all through, these things happen, its a risk you take playing gentle quiet music about Motherwell.

"Do you think the Just Joans were putting on an accent?"

Row's drumming seemed to... slow it down a little, or maybe, it just punctuated the song, in a funny way.

Holly and her crew arrived in time to catch The Just Joans's final song.

A bit of a tragedy unfolds as the final act of the evening, Alex Botten, of Thee Moths, Catface, Lipsick! and other, plays just a one minute set, a rendition of his track on the Littlest Album.

Adam assures me the records should be available at the next album launch night, next weekend at the 13th Note. I hope so.


Monday 16 April 2007

A Smile and a Ribbon, Skeleton Bob - The Winchester Club - Woodside Social

First on, and halfway through their set when I arrived were Skeleton Bob, "They did what they did well and weren't too affected" That's what Katie surmised. A little bit country I guess. They've lost a little since Joe90 on bass left last year.

A Smile and a Ribbon, were on next. "Aw man, they have a melodica" - Tom

There's a guy with a camera who looks remarkably like Richard from Sounds of Sweden.

"Where are you from?"

It started very twee, but the tempo changes seemed a bit disjointed. Is the drummer drunk... ooh, cute glokenspiel player.

There are people in the crowd singing along, they know the words.

Being twee isn't an excuse for bing shit.

Explanations of who's in the band isn't enough if the sound's poor and from where I was sitting, it sounded boomy and out of tune.

Ooh, Robbie has stormed out in disgust.

Oop, the camera chap is on a microphone doing backing doo wop noises, that garners them extra plus points.

That's got to be the first time I've used the word 'garner' in years. I used to have a music teacher called Miss Garner, she was hott and cool too.

It sounds cacophonous, like the back row of music class. My back row chums, like Jim Jam Garcia and Saddam Haddad, would be proud that such a band could get a gig like this.

Saturday 14 April 2007

The Hermit Crabs, Blood Music, Older and Faraway - Drunk at the Pulpit - RAFA

I need to be clear, first and foremost in this review, I did not go to the gig.

Sure, I intended to, and intent is important. I'd been plied for weeks with flyers, both in real life and on my various MySpace profiles. There was no way I could not know about or miss this gig.

First up were Older and Faraway, they've been reviewed on this site once or twice before. They probably sounded similar to other performances, but a bit tighter and better rehearsed, maybe caught off-guard and giving each other nervous looks as the realise, that latecomers to the gig will miss them and their magic.

Blood Music, travellers from Sweden, I know nothing of how their performance was, other than it might have sounded a little like the songs on their MySpace page. They're playing Anstruther tonight.

The Hermit Crabs, a band with a long heritage in this town, as previously reviewed here, sound a little like Camera Obscura, they're twee. At the gig they probably sounded much the same. But due to the large and willing crowd, there was probably better banter than last time. Starting off nervous, but then growing more relaxed. A friend who did make it to the gig sez "iit was ok"

I left the flat in plenty of time to get to the venue, its seventeen minutes walk away, I just had to meet a friend on the way. She hadn't eaten so we stopped off in a small cafe. Bjorn from Say Dirty was in with some friends and a selection of acoustic guitars. It was really relaxed, and nice.

On flyers it always says things like doors 8:30, but when you arrive on time, nothing really happens until an hour later, so I was chilling over my coffee and the music. It wasn't even a gig, just folk playing guitars together.

What's the difference between ethics and morality. I think morals are a personal thing, framed within one's own context, one's own frame of reference, the difference between right and wrong based on your own judgement. Whilst ethics is on a higher level, the analysis of morals from a broader context, and can compare different morals. Ethics aren't judgemental. In "The road to hell is paved by good intentions" the good intentions are moral choices, but only ethics can see the road leads to hell, but can't judge whether this is a good thing, judging whether one should take the road to hell is a moral choice again.

So what does unethical mean? If ethics had no sense of judgement. Does it just mean that the ethics haven't been considered or have been disregarded. Or is ethics just a cop out anyhow.

I was going to draw two pie charts, one showing gig of my lot (The Just Joans, The Plimptons, the Deep Fried Wolfknuckles) that members of the Hermit Crabs and Older and Faraway have attended, and one showing Hermit Crab and Older and Faraway gigs that my lot have attended. For the purposes of comparison. But I'm questioning the ethics of that.

So Bjorn was playing songs with other accompanying, and the girl wore this look of mortification, whispering to me, "My god doesn't he know he can't sing" and "How can he be so bad?" I thought it sounded okay myself. I've heard worse, I've heard warmer. Everyone in the room seemed to enjoy it, and the guy's record label who's currently stocking up shoping in Stockholm must have liked it too. The girl, she didn't. She has strange tastes, she'd love the Deep Fried Wolfknuckles if she ever made it to their gig. On the other had I'm pretty sure she'd hate the Drunk at the Pulpit gig.

The guys who ran the cafe were trying to close up, putting some Miles Davis on the muzak system and turning the lights down, but Bjorns mob just played louder and more raucously, venturing outside to busk and entertain passersby, before return to freshly cooked meatballs.

We needed to eascape and find a dictionary definition of morals and ethics.

Other reviews


Monday 9 April 2007

Glasgow Glam Bangers, Hugh Reed, The Plimptons - Nice n Sleazy

The Plimpies again, at Nice n Sleazy's, I do make CDs for them so I'm biased and crave their success.

First up are the Glasgow Glam Bangers, Magnus on guitar looks like the seventh cast member from Auf Wiedersen Pet and Paxton the singer looks splendid in make up and heels.

Holly's in the crowd tonight, there's a cold going round and she's ammassed a small collection of her own used tissues. They're all creased hapazardly, but one in particular is scrumpled small with phlegm.

Of the band, Alan Wolfknuckle says "They were as entertaining as I remember them"

Ooh, neat cover of Rebel Rebel, it suits them. They have less fuzz on the guitar than usual, making them come across more stripped down and less unrelenting than usual. But some would say 'Musically competant'.

Rowan Plimpton swears that Hugh Reed is a local hero and institution of sort, I think I saw him supporting Belle and Sebastian here a few years back. Holly and Katherine squeal there's a naked man at the side of the stage, but its just Hugh putting on his extensive costumes.

Its a bit of a mix of genres, Hugh on stage with backing tapes/mp3s. Some of his material falls flat and some of it works as a stand up routine. Katherine has the factoid that his MySpace page claims he toured with Blondie, chances are low, but who knows.

Before Shug hit the stage my favourite part of the night was when Adam Plimpton working the door was confronted by a pretty girl asking what bands were playing, he told her and she paid in looking scared "She gave me a crazy look, I thought it was the done thing, so I gave her one back."

I wasn't convinced by Hugh Reed until halfway through his set, and it was like that bit in Philadelphia where Tom Hanks is translating opera for Denzel Washington who suddenly all understands and melts and stuff. It was when Hugh uses an old TV screen as a frame for his mic then runs round the audience unreeling and wrapping the audience up a roll of sellotape.

Aw man, now a Scott Walker cover, and I'm wearing my KLF t-shirt. And next a Screamin' Jay Hawkins cover. This man is a god.

Plimptons hit the stage, Katherine say "Not as crap as last time I saw them", The sound guy's on the ball tonight.

A new song, sounds remarkably like Shane McGowan. The crowd seem to tolerate it. Do you ever get that surreal feeling when you hear a song, that it was written about you, that certain lines just strike a chord, and even though it couldn't possibly be, that song was written about you?

Some in the crowd noticed that the Plimps seem atighter than they used to. Although one wonders how many paying punters are here under duress.

Sure, they clap and holler after each song, but well, when the Plimps are playing, no one seems to look like they're enjoying it.

Thursday 5 April 2007

My Kappa Roots, Morgan's Orange, Ceyland, The Owls, Viking Moses - Tchai Ovna

I saw my friend The Photographer just in the street on the way to the Tchai Ovna this evening, she really likes the place, likes the character. In the past six times I've been, after asking for my tea, I've waited patiently but the tea never comes. I had tea here a while ago, yogi tchai, my favourite, but the service, it doesn't serve. I wish it did, I really do, but well, I've give up on my tea ever coming. And for a tea shop, that's kind of bad.

The first act here tonight, My Kappa Roots, played so quietly I couldn't hear anything, guitar and whispers, even with a microphone, it was too quiet and didn't carry to the back of the room.

The final dramatic chord, possibly a 'G', was nice, but nothing special.

The second chap on, Morgan's Orange, was the opposite, a loud brash American, wandering about with his Cat in a Hat guitar. I was going to find nice things to say about him, but...

He seemed rude to the serving folk here, said he wouldn't swear and swore in the next few songs and his guitar was out of tune halfway through and never got fixed.

Sub-Tom Snowball surrealism, ten-a-penny campfire guitarist, too many weird noises, warblings and animal naming.

He held the crowd enraptured with cheeky asides and giggling, a travelling bard of a Ben Folds.

Another sea-change as next up is Ceyland, wee young girl sat up front, nervous with a twelve-stringer and the voice of an angel, doing the wailing thing too and it working. Neat dynamics on the guitar.

I dunno, seemed a bit pastoral, maybe its deepest blues maybe folk, I dunno the describing words. Check out the MySpace and figure it for yourself.

Maybe she could have done with a setlist.

Ooh, the Drive Carefully crew are here, and iamchemist

Not sure who the next chap was, he seemed awkward on stage, I think Ceylan introduced him to me as George, but he could be performing as The Owls. Stood at the front, quiet finger picked guitar, vocals drifting in and out. Neatly finished by ratehr than singing a verse, he explains what happens in it.

Oop, it seems I've stolen someone's seat, at an empty table, they'd nipped out for a half hour long cigarette. Aw man, I think I vaguely know them, ah well, there goes another MySpace Friend.

Oop, three folk on stage now, the first American chap, Ceylan and some deep voiced Nick Cave impersonator. Rather good really, I wish I'd listened to more of Nick Cave's stuff when I were younger. Oop, the guy singing has gone a bit Screamin' Jay Hawkins on us.

I didn't notice at first, but the awkward chap, George, is up playing too, crouched on the floor with a Casio.

Some way behind me, Adam Plimpton and Paul from The Martial Arts are muttering about their forthcoming Easter Sunday Plimptons gig, it should be rad.

Crikey, its all coming together on stage. The first American chap doesn't seem so offensive, awkward George seems comforatble in his role, the girl's wailings are perfect backing for Screamin' Jay. The elctrified acoustic guitar giving a neat drone before the dynamic vocal crescendos.

Paul doesn't seem convinced, "The ghost of Will Oldham would be shaking his fist saying 'it wasn't supposed to be like this'", but then he did get in for free. I thought it was okay even though I paid.

Wednesday 4 April 2007

The Disappointments, Winnebago Deal - Barfly

We walk into find a local mob on stage, they look like a bunch of HollyOaks rejects playing Stiltskin covers.

A wee bit apprehensive of The Disappointments, I dunno who they are, but they're doing stretching exercises before they go on. Its either going to be an impresive show or this is all part of the act.

"They're no bad," says Alan, the bloke in a mask stood next to me.

The guitar dude spins his ax round his head, its like Guityar Hero incarnate and the bass player, he runs to and fro across the stage like The Manic Street Preachers never split up, just like that.

The neatly shawn lead singer guitarist chap in the middle of the stage, sounded like he was from down south, seemed pretty pleasant. At some point he mentions in passing that they're on Fierce Panda, which I guess puts them along side such luminaries as Akira, Tim Allon and Coldplay.

Ooh, thingi from Lapsus Linguae just walked past.

The sound was shite downstairs for The Disappointments, there was definitely guitar shredding, barking and howling, but other than that I can't really say.

Upstairs, some family show, Pure Red Iguana, possibly a wedding band, lots of dolled up family members and old people sat down.

Winnebago Deal, the little known sister of Kim and Kelley Deal from The Breeders, or so Alan would have me beleive. They'd moved the drum kit to the front of the stage and to howls from 40-strong audience, two mn took to the stage, a drummer and a guitarist.

Impressive stuff, I would have thought they'd be limited by such a small selection of instruments, but it was almost as if the Black Keys were a thrash band. Admittedly many of the songs did sound the same, but in the crowd there was an amusing dancing monkey living out a thrash gig soap opera with his girlfriend, which kept me entertained until the gig was over.