Shake Shake Shake Shake

A rainy night in Islington, North London. The same night that made millions of Englishmen miserable as our decrepit football team tamely missed out on a place at Euro 2008. Thankfully, inside the cosy Academy strangely located in Islington’s N1 shopping centre, two groups of Scots and one Welsh trio are keeping scores of punters happy. First on the bill were Foxface. A raw trio from the wilds north of the border, their clattering racket kicked off the evening to a warm reception. An accordion playing drummer, a toy-xylophone playing bassist and an enthused singer/guitarist belted out tunes not too far removed from the night’s headliners.

Victorian English Gentlemens Club were the second band, and they played a set that was far too short and included far too few of their great tunes from their debut. Particularly badly missed was ‘Tales of Hermit Mark‘, although the newer material sounded decent enough, and ‘My Son Spells Backwards‘ still sounded caustic as ever. The band strode on to Emma Daman smashing a bell, and the noise level never really dropped from that moment on…the trio frequently converged around the drum kit, thrashed to an inch of its life by Daman, and truly seemed more of a band than previous times I’ve seen them.

 

 

 

 

 

Then the main event, and I’ll be honest, I was looking forward to seeing this lot a great deal. Our previous engagement was as a support act to Morrissey, only for them to be replaced by some Siouxie-like singer with a dodgy drum machine…this was all the way down in Truro though, and strange things happen in Cornwall. Out they come, bassist (and occasional mandolinist) Ailidh Lennon continuing tonight’s theme of spangly dresses; Adele Bethel sporting what could only be described as a ‘Winehouse’ barnet and Scott Patterson his standard 50s-throwback backcombed quiff. They set off at a frenetic pace, alternating old and new tracks to a good effect. Halfway through the set come the highlights, a menacing rendition of ‘Rama Lama‘ complete with howled vocal breakdowns and spastic guitar riffs, along with breakneck readings of ‘Dance Me In‘ and ‘Taste the Last Girl‘. Amongst the newer tracks there is a creeping feeling that a misjudged stab at a more mainstream sound has been taken, with new single ‘Darling’ conforming to a pretty standard indie-rock-stomp template. There were signs that The Gift will live up to it’s billing, a new track based around the Cathy Come Home, a Ken Loach film, crept wonderfully along, powered by a slinky Lennon bassline. Pleasingly, the performance ended with a Stooges-inspired version of ‘Johnny Cash‘ complete with a ‘…Be Your Dog‘ “Come On!!” and the crowd went bananas one last time before heading back out to a gloomy, wet, North London night.

Best tracks:
Foxface: Face Looks Familiar
V.E.G.C: My Son Spells Backwards
Sons & Daughters: Rama Lama

Photos: Foxface & V.E.G.C: Me!, Sons & Daughters: Forklift

Best Live Show Today – Wednesday 21st November

One choice tonight: and thats because I’m going! It’s Sons & Daughters playing at the Islington Academy. It’s this superb quartet’s second appearance as ‘Best Live Show Toady’ in just three weeks! Should be great and judging by the reaction my ‘Gilt Complex‘ mp3 has had, a lot of you share my views! They are supported by the Victorian English Gentlemen’s Club, an act that has impressed live before, as support to both Dogs and the Grates.

Elsewhere, Biffy Clyro play Brixton and German electro funboys Digitalism haunt my old university union, KCL.

This vid is one of  Sons & Daughters finest moments, ‘Taste The Last Girl

 

Best Live Show Today…Monday 19th November

Today’s Best Live Show is surely the comeback of all comebacks in the form of former Orange Juice frontman Mr Edwyn Collins. The owner of one of the most easily-identifiable voices in all popular music, Collins suffered a cerebral hemorrhage in 2005. The record he was finishing before his illness has been recently released, entitled Home Again. Tonight’s show represents one of the first live performances since his recovery and should be pretty special. He’s playing at the Arts Theatre, WC2.

Elsewhere in town, Arcade Fire / Clinic continue at Ally Pally, Rilo Kiley (nifty website!)play Shepherd’s Bush Empire, Canadian indie-pop tarts Hot Hot Heat play Scala, and finally The Four Tops and the Temptations treat the Royal Albert Hall to some Motown classics.

Here’s Edwyn, though, at the height of his popularity:

Gorgeous GeorgePost Composed to ‘The Campaign For Real Rock‘ from Gorgeous George, Collins’ best-known record.
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Best Live Show Today…Sunday 18th November

Today is a Sunday, so London can be forgiven for being thin on the ground gig-wise today. The big kahuna is Arcade Fire / Clinic up at Alexandra Palace. Everyone knows everything about Arcade Fire so I will instead focus on their Liverpudlian nutcase support act Clinic. They have four albums under their belt, but still big-time recognition evades them. Big, elastic bass-lines hold together strangely English subject matters; almost a new generation Bonzo Dog Band. Oh, and make sure you stick around after Clinic have finished, apparently the headliners are pretty good.

Post composed to ‘Welcome‘ from Clinic’s second album Walking With Thee
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Vauxhall And I

This little bit of guerilla origami caught my eye this week on the way from work. I returned the next day with a camera, and fortunately they were still serenely floating.

Lust Lust LustPost composed to ‘Lust‘ a belting track from the new Raveonettes album Lust, Lust, Lust.
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Gaston y a le telephon

This is fucking ace. 

I am Ray Gardener!

 Last night I rediscovered the glory that is Ray Gardener, Blackcurrant Tango drinker and scourge of the French. Enjoy.