Monday, September 15, 2008

JEFFREY LEWIS/THE WAVE PICTURES @ CLUB ACADEMY 15 SEPTEMBER 2008

Tonight's gig was a consolation prize for missing End of the Road Festival - both bands having appeared there last year and just this weekend gone. It was also a 'dream team' double bill - an inspired pairing of The Waves Pictures supporting Jeffrey Lewis (here with The Jackals) which at one point looked to be a game of two halves but it definitely finished a score draw with honours shared.
It also strikes me that this gig shows what would happen if you did took some Jonathan Richman DNA and experimented with it. Both bands can - in different ways - be seen as branches of the Richman family tree.

So about 8.20pm The Wave Pictures wander on stage, tip leads out of plastic bags, plug in, turn and face the audience and start playing. If you've heard their lo-fi, keep-the-mistakes-in recordings, it's not a surprise to see this casual approach. But it doesn't prepare you for just how tight the three piece are live.

They play a set that almost deliberately avoids the current album for the most part. They throw in some new songs, old songs, B-sides, a Jonathan Richman cover and also have drummer Jonny sing Now We Are Pregnant. Again it's misleading to think this is self-indulgent or a challenge to the (largely youthful) audience: utter joy to hear songs this good, played so well. I could listen to a whole evening of this.

The Wave Pictures Set-List:

Blue Harbour
Too Many Questions
Kiss Me
If You Leave It Alone
Hotels and Motels
Someone I Care About (J Richman cover)
Now We Are Pregnant
Instant Coffee Baby
Strange Fruit For David


Another casual start for Jeffrey Lewis and The Jackals (brother Jack on bass and barefoot Dave on drums): what I thought was some improvised sound-check jam turns into first song, a cover of Pink Floyd's Set The Controls For The Heart of The Sun as a tribute to Rick Wright who died today.
There were some false starts, duff sound and general untidiness over the next few songs but this was just 'settling in'. Over nearly 90 minutes we got the full range of Jeffrey's output: acoustic humourous songs of rejection and failure, full-band rockin' songs of rejection and failure, Modern Lovers-style wig-outs, Crass covers (great to hear the 20-something crowd singing anarchist chants) and the comic-book interludes. Especially the second one of these: "my World History of Communism Volume 5: Korea". In four minutes of hand-drawn cartoons and rhyming couplet narrative I learnt more about Korea than all my years of reading and listening to the news have amassed: particularly how the two Superpowers divided the country along the 38th Parallel in the late 1940s and installed their own puppet regimes. Inspired.

So a great night of music, humour and charm. All for a tenner. Thank you Pineapple Folk for bringing the tour to Manchester.

HOTELS AND MOTELS
The Wave Pictures
Just Like A Drummer EP [BUY]

KISS ME
The Wave Pictures
Instant Coffee Baby [BUY]

Jeffrey Lewis
12 Crass Songs [BUY]

IF YOU SHOOT THE HEAD, YOU KILL THE GHOUL
Jeffrey Lewis
It's The One's Who've Cracked That The Light Shines Through [BUY]

PS Trying a new hosting service for mp3s. Please let me know of any problems via Comments or email.

1 comment:

georgethe23rd said...

Great review - I've linked and quoted briefly from it on my unofficial Wave Pictures gigography at http://wavepictureslive.blogspot.com/2008/09/club-academy-manchester.html. Thanks