Friday, November 03, 2006
Emmy and friends @ The Luminaire, 30 October
A combination of a delayed train back from a weekend in Scotland and a strong need to eat meant that I arrived at The Luminaire too late to see Morven Callar. But I did arrive just in time to hear Duncan Brown’s literate acoustic strummings. I’m sure he said something about William Blake. He’s even got a song on his myspace about New England puritan John Cotton. Pretentious? Maybe, but I liked his stuff – he’s got rich vocals and subtle but disarming tunes. A good start to the show.
Download: Duncan Brown - Trip to Spain
The crowd tonight at this special Drowned in Sound birthday gig, curated by Emmy the Great, aren’t really a compliant lot . The well-meaning signs put up by the venue asking people not to sit in front of the stage were ignored, as were the (many more) signs requesting quiet during performances. Poor Duncan. He wasn’t the only one to suffer their rudeness. London’s indie folk scenesters are obviously too polite to challenge. What we really need is for some hard people to sort them out. Shame there's none of these around tonight.
I was hoping I would get there in time to see Johnny Flynn. I was so glad I did. His song Tickle Me Pink has been going round in my head ever since my last post about him. He plays it tonight, as his last song, with a backing band – guitar, bass and backing vocals boosting Johnny’s singing and strumming and making it sound totally fantastic. That’ll be another couple of weeks in my head then. Before that he played a few more fine folky numbers, one of which featured Johnny on violin, all of which only confirmed his promise as a songwriter. Can’t wait to hear more.
Since my file host has disappeared since the last time I posted this song, here it is again.
Download: Johnny Flynn - Tickle Me Pink
Next up was the intriguingly-named Annie Frank Sinatra who turned out to be a bloke in a hat gaffer-taping a cassette player to the mic which gave us a stream of electronic warblings for ten minutes or so. People started off listening and facing the empty stage, before realising that things weren’t going to change much, and got back to drinking and chatting.
Noah and the Whale turns out to be the band led by a guy called Charlie (who may also be called Johnny Hatracket), who I first saw playing ukulele and furry bass with Emmy the Great at the End of the Road Festival. He plays ukulele again, and acoustic guitar. He’s accompanied by a couple of other people as well as Emmy doing backing vox on one song. There's probably not enough ukeleles in music today, so that may be reason alone to recommend him. Though his songs are good too.
Download: Noah and the Whale - 5 Years' Time
Tom Hatred departs from the night’s normal instrumentation by plugging in an electric guitar, but his music still has that measured folky flavour, though it does seem he’s a fan of Morrisey and the Smiths, both in his tuneful inflections and lyrics (his myspace confirms this). Another short set. Another enjoyable and promising artist. Check him out.
Download: Tom Hatred - One of Your Adventures
There's a problem with Emmy the Great’s set tonight. It’s too short. Judging by the hushed venue and number of people who seem to disappear after she left the stage, Emmy was the star attraction. But I guess tonight was, as it was billed, Emmy and friends. She hasn't even put herself in the headline slots, and she's basically showcasing a load of her friends, which so far have been all very good. Together with Charlie, Jeremy Warmsley and a guy on violin, she treated us to gorgeous versions of Edward is Dedward, Secret Circus, Aiko and Absentee. One bonus though – the first, very short song was new to me. This turns out to be her contribution to 50 minutes, (a new charity compilation with 50 one-minute tracks). I'll be adding that to the 'to get' list then.
Download: Emmy the Great - My Party is Better Than Yours
Headlining were The Mules, a band I've been meaning to check out for ages. They're great. The word 'gypsy punk' has been much misused this year, being used to describe everyone from Gogol Bordello to Larrikin Love. All you need to be tagged is to use fiddles or accordians. I'm not going to call The Mules gypsy punk, but I'm not sure what to call them. The band, focused around drummer Ed Seed who sings and whacks the skins in an increasingly manic fashion from centre stage, have elements of spiky post punk, fast fiddly folk music, bits of country rock, frantic waltzes and seemingly boundless supplies of energy. The one thing they don't do is quiet and slow. They're a bit of a contrast to what's gone before them, but are a total blast. Heck, the indie-folksters of North London are almost dancing. Long may The Mules dance their raucous jig.
Download: The Mules - Problems With Exits