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- Bell House, Brooklyn »
It was swine flu, or at least flu-like symptoms that stopped Field Music getting on a plane to New York at the beginning of December. The temperatures had dropped below freezing for the first time, and there was a small consolation in not having to trek to the Bell House in the cold. At the end of January, when they rescheduled, the weather in Brooklyn was more brutal still. A crowd turned out despite this; the room was full, but not sold out. The newly expanded quartet, visibly jet-lagged, took the stage for their only American appearance until their March tour with the Clientele.
The Brewis brothers traded off on drums, with whomever sang the lead on a string of songs playing frontman before swapping again. The obvious observation is that without a dedicated pianist, there was significantly less piano. Peter opened the set at the piano for ‘Give It Lose It Take It,‘ ‘A House Is Not A Home‘ and ‘You Can Decide,‘ but made few returns to the generally neglected instrument. It didn’t make the songs any more or less remarkable that rhythm and lead were both played on guitars, but it did seem a curious decision on a song such as ‘Pieces’ that could have as easily stuck to the guitar/piano formula of the recording.
It was a bit unexpected that when David stepped up to the mic the first song he played was “Rockist” - the song that bookended his School Of Language debut. Perhaps more curious still was that while that was not the only SOL track in the set, the songs of The Week That Was seem to be well and truly retired, or at least weren’t dusted off for the benefit of Brooklyn. But hearing new songs ‘Clear Water’ and ‘Each Time Is A New Time’ in conjunction with School of Language songs emphasises how much the 70s rock of the project has influenced the new Field Music material.
And a fair few new songs were debuted, some without introduction, some a bit coyly; David, for example, commenting that the title of ‘Effortlessly‘ is “easier to sing than it is to say, so I’m not going to say it. You’ll get it; it’s a chorus.” Although, when a boy nearby shouted out, “I can’t wait to steal your new album!” it served as a reminder that perhaps introductions really weren’t all that necessary.
Though the band were obviously exhausted (as they commented several times), the performance was tight, the pacing energetic. The Brewises made their impressively smooth transitions between instruments while bassist Ian Black made small talk about the films he watched on the flight over, Jennifer’s Body and Dodgeball (the rest of the band were not impressed). They flew through 17 songs before stumbling off stage only to stumble right back on for their encore.
They went through their apologies for being delayed nearly two months, their thank yous for coming out and their delight at being in Brooklyn. “It’s like being on holiday...for 20 hours,” David said wearily before snaking into ‘Tones of Town.’ As he howled the outro, the expression on his face crept closer and closer towards actual pain.
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