Thursday, 25 June 2009

Some special sounds indeed

I'm still a bit bummed that I missed Shonen Knife at the Windmill last night. I've wanted to see them for ages and I had actually bought tickets (two even), but instead I heard Greenwich calling me...and I just couldn't resist. Monster Bobby was hosting his first Special Sounds night at Oliver's Music Bar and with Elizabeth being part of the night's line-up I felt obliged to attend.

Oliver's is a cosy little bar, tucked away underneath a restaurant on Nevada Street. Judging from the posters on the wall, they normally host jazz acts, so I don't know what they made of the evening's truly eclectic mix of cabaret-electronica-uke-pop. I assume they were happy, cause the night attracted a fair amount of people.

Monster Bobby himself started off the evening with his electro-crooner-pop. It's always a pleasure to see Bobby and last night was no different.

Xylitol was up next, with his light-hearted industrial electronica, playing a mixture of his own creations and covers by people I have never heard of. A bit strange, sure, but still hugely enjoyable.

It's been a while since Elizabeth played a solo show, but with the size/layout of the venue and the sit-down nature of the evening it just made sense. A brilliant set, with a new song (even to me!) thrown in.

The last act of the evening - Stuart Flynn's Dear Britch. Electro-cabaret I suppose would be a reasonable description. At first it reminded me a bit of Bobby Conn's weirder moments....kind of...but not really....great anyway.

When you live in North London, late nights in Greenwich are a real pain-in-the-ass and it's always depressing walking to the DLR knowing that you have an hour and a half of trains/tubes/walking until you get home. So, I'm absolutely knackered (again) today, but it was all worth it. Unfortunately I won't be around for the next night, which takes place on the last Wednesday of July, but I'm sure it'll be equally interesting. London needs more nights like this.

Find out about the next Special Sounds night and other similarly interesting events on the Little Other blog

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Save your babies, here's your future

I went to see The Thermals at Cargo last night. It was really good show and if I have to make a complaint it would have to be the usual one - maybe they were just too good. There wasn't much banter, not much improv, you know…just not enough to make it a great live performance. The songs are great, but the band just seem a bit stiff. Break some things, guys! Mess up a chord here and there. Haha. The drummer tried his best to display a bit of energy on stage, and it was very welcome, but just not enough.

I know I'm old, but it was also very, very loud…but maybe it's just Hutch's voice…it's quite screechy. I'm not actually complaining here. I love The Thermals and his voice. I'm just trying to figure out why I wasn't as impressed as I should have been. Still, I think those four Thermals albums are going back on the ipod.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Pop, pop, poppety pop

On Thursday it was time for eagerly awaited 'Records Make Great Pets/WeePOP! Anniversary' extravaganza at The Wilmington Arms. I had spent the day in Brussels and was panicking about making it back to London in time. When I eventually got there, it turned out there had been some mix-up with the sound engineer and...well...noone had been booked. Luckily, the guys at The Wilmington were brilliant and managed to sort it out, getting an engineer down on very short notice.

After a quick soundcheck, Moofish Catfish kicked off the evening's music. Their new album is brilliant and they played quite a few songs off it. It's called Yours To Share and all the songs (and more) are available as free downloads on the Moofish page.

Moustache of Insanity were up next and I think we did pretty well. People seemed to enjoy it. Well, apart from some guy on livejournal, who wasn't quite sure what to make of us and seemed a bit annoyed that we kept making mistakes. Haha.

Anyway, in the end this was Allo, Darlin's night. The Henry Rollins Don't Dance single was finally out (it looks and sounds brilliant) and the band was in good form. Since Mikey the Drummer was in Australia, Johnny from the Wave Pictures was on drumming duty and he did an excellent job. The band's getting tighter and tighter and the songs are getting better and better, so it looks like a very bright future indeed for Allo, Darlin.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

The Pains of being a Tender Shrag

Oh dear. I feel like I'm about explode. I could really do with some proper sleep. We played a show on Wednesday and stayed late to catch the other bands. I paid for it yesterday, but I'm still glad we stayed. Whole Schebang were especially entertaining. Playing some sort of smiley-singalong-folk-pop they ran through their set with big smiles on their faces. I love watching bands that actually look like they're enjoying themselves.

Whole Schebang myspace

Last night was another late night. Headed to Cargo for a rather spectacular triple-bill – Tender Trap, Shrag and The Pains of Being Pure At Heart. My camera is really dying a slow and painful death, so I apologise for the mediocre picture quality/

Tender Trap. Yes, that is Elizabeth from Allo, Darlin playing the guitar, something I haven't seen for at least a couple of years.

It seems Amelia Fletcher and Co are incapable of writing bad songs. Or if they have some, they're pretty damn good at keeping them hidden from the world. They've been supplying us pop fans with endless anthems for the last...well, pretty much forever. The new songs sound great and they're just great fun to watch. Yay!

I had never heard Shrag before, so I really didn't know what to expect. They were brilliant though, providing some sort of hyper-electro-pop-bounce-funness that would have made the Duracell bunny proud. Errm...or something like that.

And then the headliners, the most hyped indie-band in the world. And what can I say? They are great, but I don't know. They're just everywhere. And live...well, it's a bit like listening to the CD....and it's a great CD....but, but, but, I just don't know....The songs are great, they're tight, everyone loves them, they seem like really nice guys, but it's just a little too perfect...I like a bit of chaos here and there. Some life.

Anyway, all-in-all it was a great evening...

Tender Trap myspace
Shrag myspace
The Pains of Being Pure At Heart myspace


Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Looking for Eric

I know it's Ken Loach and all, but I still had my doubts. A film about a miserable Manchester post man, getting through a rough patch in his life through an imaginary friendship with Eric Cantona. Hmmm. Well, it was a free screening so I gave it a go was actually pretty damn enjoyable.

The story is pretty simple. Eric the posty is stuck in a mega rut. Seven years have rushed by since his second wife left. Now he's stuck with two out-of-control step kids and can't stop thinking about his first wife, Lily. He smokes some pot and talks to a poster of legendary French footballer Eric Cantona and one day the big Frenchie speaks back. French Eric helps Eric the postie to take back control over his life. And what a mess he's in. The kids are involved with gun-slinging gangsters, his ex-wife can't stand him and he's on the verge of losing his friends. Will he get his shit together, save his kids and keep his job?

It's a really heart-warming film. I'm not a huge football fan, but it really doesn't matter. You relate to Eric on personal level, whether or not you get his constant references to Cantona goals. And the acting is excellent on all levels, with the exception of perhaps Monsieur Cantona himself. But, you know, he's allowed to be a bit dodgy. He's a football player, not an actor, and since he spends most of the film speaking in proverbs, it really doesn't matter.

Very sweet and highly recommended. 4 Niks out of 5.

"After his first training session in heaven, George Best, from his favourite right wing, turned the head of God who was filling in at left-back. I would love him to save me a place in his team - George Best that is, not God" Eric Cantona

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Let the countdown begin - 15 days to go!

That's right! That is a bonafide copy of Allo Darlin's Henry Rollins Don't Dance seven-inch! I've never actually held it in my hand, but I assume it's real. It's orange! Yay! And the label on the disc was made by yours truly. Yes, that's right. Me, me, me. I did it. It's very exciting to see it. Woo. It's an incredible EP as well, so keep checking WeePOP! for pre-ordering details. Official release date is of course 18th June, when we're hosting a launch party at The Wilmington Arms. But you knew that already, right?

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

If only all bands were like Matt and Kim

Yesterday evening I was getting ready to finally catch up on some sleep. After three days of late-night drinking and playing shows I just wanted to have an early night. So, it was with mixed emotions that I received the reminder – Matt and Kim at the Old Blue Last. I was absolutely knackered and would probably have given most other gigs a miss, but Matt and Kim? Seriously, if you've seen them live there's only one thing you want to do – see them again. And again. So, I headed down to Old Street and hung out in the bar for a while. The gig was delayed because of PA issues and we were kept waiting until after ten. When they finally let us in, the support acts had been cancelled, so it was straight to the headliners.

Even Kim did some crowdsurfing.

Closing off an incredibly sweaty set with 'Daylight'.

They raced through a great set of old and newer songs, squeezed in the usual cover of The Final Countdown and never stopped smiling. Neither did the audience. A Matt and Kim show is one of those rare occassions in London when everyone has an awesome time and aren't afraid of showing it.

In one word: amazing. This is exactly what live music should be like. I really can't wait to see them again.

Monday, 1 June 2009

tour monkeys

So, we just finished our first "tour", if now three shows in a row is enough to deserve the tour label. First, we played at The Wilmington Arms in London on Thursday. It was a strange show, not the type of night we normally play. I like to think that we confused the hell out of the "strangers" in the audience. They didn't really know what to make of us, which I kind of like. It felt awful up on stage, but after speaking to people it would appear that we did alright.

On Friday we headed to Manchester for a show at veggie café FUEL, organised by Dan and Hannah of the lovely Pull Yourself Together. This was a completely different affair. A lovely venue with a lovely and receptive audience. We sold a bunch of CDs and got some good feedback. Woo! Also playing that same night were the lovely uketastically bearded Jam On Bread and technically impressive 8bit-button-pressing-electro-folk troubadour Pagan Wanderer Lu. They're both great, so it was a brilliant night. We stayed up a bit too late, drank a bit too much and looked at disturbing pictures of Burt Reynolds on the internet.

After sleeping far too little we stuffed our faces with sandwiches from Greggs and set off towards Edinburgh for a show at the infamous Henry's Cellar Bar. Apparently the toilets from the upstairs pub used to leak and drip down onto the stage. Nice. They had sorted this issue though and the night went without any "incidents". Also playing were Conquering Animal Sound, who completely blew my mind, and Cancel The Astronauts who pretty much rocked my socks off.

On Sunday we had been in talks about playing a BBQ in Manchester, but after getting up too late and getting lost among sheep and Scottish mountains we aborted that plan.

Now I'm absolutely knackered, but all in all, the first Moustache "tour" was a success. Hurray!