Tuesday, February 12, 2008


One thing that is great about Brakes is hearing four musicians play short, sharp, fast and loud songs. With electrical instruments and amplification. So how was this going to work acoustically?

OK so obviously the electrical instruments, band and loudness were missing but what came through - mostly - was the quality of some of the songs. Given the brevity of some of Brakes songs (first single Pick Up The Phone clocked in at a mighty 24 seconds), it can be easy to dismiss them as a novelty. But listening to the songs played and sung by Eamon with just an acoustic guitar showed there is more to the songs than either noise or speed. The ones that worked tended to be the slowies and the "heartbreakers" (in Eamon's words) such as No Return or Fell In Love With A Girl. But even Spring Chicken and Heard About Your Band felt fresh, even lively, delivered acoustically. Some didn't fare so well including All Nite Disco Party despite audience participation (but to my mind this is their novelty song).

First time in Ruby Lounge. It is doesn't live up to the owner's own hype (see here). Worked well for three solo(ish) peformers and given small attendance (I reckon there was only 40-50 in) but would hate to see a band with a capacity crowd of 350 in. It's basically a spacious basement bar with a small, wide but shallow stage in one corner. The area immediately in front of the stage has two great supporting columns. So I guess you're OK if front and centre but further back or to the side could be a nightmare.

But I'm being picky. Great night despite low attendance. Three acts for £7 (shame about the exorbitant fees from See Tickets). First support was John Fairhurst. Played acoustic guitar and occasionally sang, accompanied by harmonica/spoons and bongos/tablas. Mixture of John Fahey-esque, almost trippy instrumentals and bluesy drawls. Couldn't help but imagine him being big on the festival circuit playing late night in a tent in the middle of nowhere.

Second support was The Voluntary Butler Scheme who had been playing with Eamon on several of these dates. VBS is one man - Rob Jones - with a very big fringe. Difficult to see his face through much of the playing because of his hair but also he moved between instruments fairly rapidly and had to concentrate fairly hard on this. For some songs he looped some percussion or guitar chords and then played guitar or keyboards over this. On one song he played kazoo and ukelele at the same time whilst beating a rhythm with his foot on a bass drum. Impressive stuff but the songs were pretty good too. Don't think anything has been officially released but bought the Tomatoes, Peppers, Garlic & Mushrooms CD-R 4 song EP of him at the end. It comes in a limited edition, hand-printed paper bag:

Songs reminded me of the playfulness of Aidan Smith, mixed with the bedroom romanticism of say Babybird or Momus (but not as artful). One to watch as they say.

Eamon's set:

Spring Chicken
Ring A Ding Ding
If I Should Die Tonight
"Don't Take Away My Space Man" (new song)
Heard About Your Band
You're So Pretty
No Return
Beatific Visions
Pick Up The Phone
Cheney (three times)
"Thought, Thought Until It Had Been Thunk" (new song)
Fell In Love With A Girl
On Your Side
All Nite Disco Party
Hold Me In The River
What's In It For Me?
"Consumer Producer Chicken Egg" (new song)
Porcupine or Pineapple
NY Pie
Comma Comma Comma Fullstop
Take A Whiff Of Me (Leadbelly song)

The Beatific Visions [BUY]

The Voluntary Butler Scheme
Tomatoes, Peppers, Garlic & Mushrooms EP [BUY]

1 comment:

Martin said...

Good Job! :)