Thursday, August 16, 2007

Tuesday night, a hug and a pint (and two gigs)

It’s been 10 weeks. 1 June was the last time I was at a gig. That’s what having a baby does to your gig-going habit. But that’s OK – I haven’t exactly been bursting to get out. There are just too much other things to do, and tiredness is also a big factor. However, I have been getting itchy feet lately, so I nipped out on Tuesday night to head down to Rough Trade East for the Trouble Records party featuring Crystal Castles and HEALTH.

It was a shitty night, and I joined the gaggle of scenesters huddled under umbrellas round the door, waiting to get in. The show was obviously in big demand, and RTE were operating a strict one-in-one-out policy. I can see this being an ongoing problem. The shop has already assembled a pretty impressive line-up of gigs, and if you’re going to put on a load of hot bands, you’re going to get a big demand. I’m not exactly advocating a system of security guards and strict ticketing, but they need to sort something out, even if it’s just for the poor staff member who has to stand holding the door and saying ‘sorry’ to people.

Anyway, I got in to catch about 15 minutes of HEALTH doing their sonic noise terrorism thing. It’s even more ferocious live than it is on record. I couldn’t actually see that much apart from the hairy drummer hitting his skins really hard – the band seemed to be abusing instruments and equipment on the floor somewhere. But it was all pretty enjoyable stuff. So much that I’d like to see them doing their noisy groove thing tonight at Barden’s, but once out this week is quite enough.


After that I pondered staying for Crystal Castles, but I couldn’t be bothered. I was alone, the place was full of cooler-than-thou hipsters sporting bright, tight jeans and moustaches, and I got a text from my friends who were at the Macbeth up the road in Hoxton at Emmy the Great’s EP launch gig. So I went there, but not before buying the new Crystal Castles 7 inch – the remix of HEALTH’s Crimewave.

Download: Health – Zoothorns


The Macbeth was much more agreeable affair. The crowd was much more to my liking, it was strange but pleasant to be in a smoke-free pub (my first time in a bar since the start of the smoking ban), I had my first proper pint in 10 weeks, and there was some good music to be heard.

I’ve heard a lot of good things about Eugene McGuiness, and he did a nice little turn in support, knocking out a few songs with his band. I was quite impressed with his jaunty indie-pop and I’ve resolved to check out his debut album The Early Learnings of Eugene McGuinness as soon as I can.

Then, of course, there was Emmy. As I said, it was her EP launch show, which means that she has a new EP out! Yes, at last we have the second ever official release from Ms the Great, which is a genuine cause for rejoicing. I don’t think it’s in the shops till next week, but I got my order from Pure Groove the other day. It’s a nicely lo-fi job – all tracks recorded at home. At times it’s a bit too lo-fi, but I’d rather have that than something nastily over-produced. The EP contains a lovely new recording of Easter Parade, unmixed, straight from tape, new song MIA, a new version of The Woods, featuring Lightspeed Champion (returning the backing vocals compliment following Emmy’s BVs on his own album), and a differently arranged rendition of City Song, which is a bit slower than the other demo version doing the rounds, and not quite as good.

But I’m not complaining. It’s great to have a new slab of Emmy on vinyl. I can’t say too much about her performance at the Macbeth, as I had to leave two songs in. After openers Easter Parade and City Song, which were lovely of course, I had to dash back home just as she struck up City Song. According to my friends, it was a good set, which finished with an acoustic cover of Frank Mills. Shame I had to miss it, but as my friend said when I left “Emmy’s good, but your daughter is even better”. Too right – there’s not even a contest there. Sometimes these little sacrifices aren’t really much of a hardship.

Download: Emmy the Great - The Woods (feat. Lightspeed Champion)

Buy the My Bad EP

Buy the new HEALTH album

6 comments:

Matthew said...

Moustaches, bloody moustaches.

jessicajlee said...

I'm desperately awaiting my emmy ep, but alas, shipping to canada takes a long time!

The Daily Growl said...

Never fear - I have 3 acoustic radio session versions of the EP tracks from a couple of nights ago.... coming right up....!

LDN music said...

ah, you should have made the trek to Barden's. Missed Pre, but the first half of IHAI's set was really rather good improv-jazz-math-rock (I have no idea if it was actually improv), Dan Deacon tore the place apart, and Eats Tapes were fantastic as always.

Anonymous said...

I bought my Emmy EP on the night, it's marvellous, though I agree that there's some underproduction. The guitar player in Eugene McGuinness' band was apparently the drummer boy from the Mules, by the way. Something of a scene going on here!

The Daily Growl said...

Yes, and Emmy's violin player is also in The Mules. Her other sometime violin player is in Noah and the Whale. Most of the folks on stage that night have got some band or solo project on the go. It's all good stuff though...