Simian Ghost and PinsEdit this event
Suffering a post-Primavera comedown while trying to avoid anything and everything connected with the Diamond Jubilee can only mean one of two things: sit around and mope in darkness or find a show, any show, that doesn't contain the words "Gary", "Barlow", "Cheryl", "Cole" and "duet". Westlife are playing across the other side of town this evening. I guess I walked into that one; nearly. Fortunately there's something better taking place here, even if most of the clientele look as if they've yet have taken their mocks never mind full GCSEs.
Openers Pins have been attracting a fair bit of attention on the blogosphere for some time. Early comparisons to the likes of The Shop Assistants and Dum Dum Girls aren't far off the mark, such is their fuzzed up jangle pop and laconic demeanour between songs. Saying very little other than the occasional thank you, Pins let their music do the talking in the shape of twenty-five minutes worth of short, sharp, shocks culminating in the nail-biting 'Eleventhh Hour'. Sassy yet distinctly unmoved by what surrounds them, they could well be the saviours of guitar pop other commentators have spent the past eighteen months rambling on about or leading lights of the latest C86 revival. Take your pick.
Swedish three-piece Simian Ghost are the odd ones out in more ways than one. As well as being the only males or ambassadors for Scandinavia on the bill, they also make music that seems totally out of kilter with the organic fuzz of the openers and experimental folk of the headliners. Instead, they peddle a sweetly orchestrated, if occasionally predictable line in electronic pop that fits somewhere between MGMT's first record and M83's latest. What does shine through are their insatiable personalities, all too glad to be here playing to an attentive room and even if they do outstay their welcome in dragging the set out to nearly forty minutes, no one can deny that 'Automation' is one of the most mesmerizing slices of synth-infused pop they'll hear all year.
Having met and formed at Liverpool's Institute For Performing Arts three years ago, it hasn't been a quick and easy process for Stealing Sheep to obtain recognition. Playing shows to a slowly growing fanbase in their native city for a while now, their eccentric yet utterly captivating live performances caught the eyes and ears of Heavenly Records and Field Music, who promptly invited them as main support on their sold out tour earlier this year. It was at their show here at the Bodega that they won a host of converts - in this city at any rate - and several of those are in attendance this evening, singing every word to songs, some of which are yet to be released.
The three girls - Becky Hawley, Lucy Mercer and Emily Lansley - mix the vocal harmonies of a latterday Mamas & The Papas (or Warpaint even) with arrangements that flit anywhere and everywhere between The Grateful Dead, Fairport Convention and The Coral. Opener 'I'm The Rain' sounds like an exorcism set to medieval music incorporating tribal drumbeats while both 'Your Saddest Song' and 'Re-arrange' display an uncanny knack of delivering wistful couplets to joyous melodies. People join in deliriously with the band's spontaneous handclaps, 'We Like The Dark' in particular going down a storm. 'Shut Eye', the band's current single and best known song courtesy of an 81 second clip on a Hollyoaks trailer almost causes a riot by comparison; well attempted stage invasion at any rate, and despite surpassing the venue's curfew, the band return for a brief encore against the wishes of the disgruntled bar staff.
Afterwards, at least three quarters of the audience form an orderly queue for pictures and autographs. And all this before their first album - due out in August - has dropped. Ones to watch? It goes without saying...
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