Thursday, October 23, 2008
Bodies of Water @ Cargo, 14 October 2008
I don’t want to start a review feeling sorry for a band, but lastTuesday night at Cargo there was something lacking. It was nothing to do with the band’s performance, which was superb. It was the audience. Not even their enthusiasm for the band, just the number of people. Cargo’s not even a particularly big venue, but there were no more than 30 people in there, which dampened the atmosphere somewhat. I know it’s the first UK tour for Bodies of Water, and they’re relatively unknown here, but surely more could have been done on the promotion side. There wasn’t much info to be found anywhere other than Cargo’s own website, and I didn’t even know who the support band were until I asked the singer after their performance.
Speaking of which, the unknown support band turned out to be a Danish duo called the Choir of Young Believers, and they were very impressive. It’s not often these days that I’ll attend a gig where I see a support band that I’ve never heard, or even heard of beforehand. And it’s a pleasant surprise when they’re good.
Their set on Tuesday night was performed as a duo comprising COYB main man Jannis Noya Makrigiannis and cellist Cecilie Trier. The songs were slow and measured, with Jannis’s electric guitar and vocals beautifully complemented by Cecile’s haunting cello and gorgeous harmonies. They reminded me of a less dark Low, and their half-hour slot glided gracefully by. I bought their debut album This is for the White in Your Eyes off their manager afterwards, and it’s a fine piece of work, though I wasn’t quite expecting the much fuller, orchestrated sound present on record. It seems that COYB are a bigger outfit than I thought, and it’s likely that resources reduced their touring band to two. On hindsight, this was a very good thing because, although White in Your Eyes is a decent album, I much prefer the stripped-down torch songs from last Tuesday night.
This was Bodies of Water’s first London headline gig, and I was full of anticipation. Ever since succumbing to the wide-eyed euporhia of their debut Ears Will Pop and Eyes Will Blink last year, I’ve thought that they’d be an amazing live band. But it's been was almost a year till I've got to see them in the flesh.
With such high levels of anticipation, it would be easy to be disappointed, because anything less than mind-blowing just wouldn’t do. Which is why the small crowd was annoying – a packed arch at Cargo would no doubt have generated an electric atmosphere. The other little disappointment for me was the lack of material from Ears Will Pop. But that’s a minor gripe – BoW had their new album A Certain Feeling to plug, and boy did they do that well. I haven’t warmed as much to the new record as much as I’d hoped, until this gig. The songs from A Certain Feeling came alive in new ways, with the band’s enthusiastic everyone-sing-at-once style, and songs that seemed to contain three or four songs in one, shifting tempo efforstlessly and thrillingly.
Even though they were nearing the end of a long tour, the folks from LA still managed to muster smiles, humour and good spirits throughout, even broken guitar strings near the end couldn't stop them from coming back with a spine-tingling set closer of These are The Eyes. They seemed to have some sound problems on stage, but I didn’t notice. A brilliant gig, though I'll be hoping for more people next time. As we left, my friend said that if he could put together his ideal band, it would be Bodies of Water. For a moment at least, it was hard to disagree.
mp3: Bodies of Water - These are the Eyes
mp3: Bodies of Water - Even in a Cave
BoW myspace / website
mp3: Choir of Young Believers - Action/Reaction
mp3: Choir of Young Believers - Hollow Talk
Buy Bodies of Water albums from Rough Trade or download from emusic. Buy COYB's This is for the Whites in Your Eyes from their myspace.