Thursday, September 03, 2009

DAMON & NAOMI @ DULCIMER 3 September 2009

Having owned a copy of first album proper from Damon & Naomi ("More Sad Hits") since it came out in the wake of the break-up of Galaxie 500, I've felt I've 'known' them for a long time. However not only was tonight the first time I've seen them live, browsing their website earlier today I realise just how much of their considerable back-catalogue I DON'T own or know. So tonight was familiar but also unfamiliar.

Damon & Naomi appeared very relaxed throughout tonight - even a malfunctioning amp early on in the evening was a source of quiet bemusement rather than irritation. They took to the (small) stage just after 9pm and opened with their cover of "Song To The Siren". The set was the familiar hushed dream-pop of their albums performed just on acoustic guitar and keyboards. It was lovely to hear such rich, textured songs stripped right back; and they were performed with more oomph than I was expecting.

The set was mainly from latest album "Within These Walls" ("we tried to make the slowest record of our career") plus the four Sub Pop albums (1995 - 2002) given the imminent release of the compilation of these albums. They finished with "Memories" telling how meeting Hugh Hopper (of Soft Machine, writer of said song) made them realise they had misheard the line "pet shops were people knew us" (it should be "past shops") but preferred this maudlin image - "very Morrissey" .

The two encores were the gorgeous Pentangle-inspired "Cruel Queen" with Alasdair Maclean from openers Amor de Dias on guitar; and then the final song a cover of Leonard Cohen's "Bird on a Wire" with Alasdair again plus his partner in Amor de Dias Lupe Núñez-Fernádez on backing vocals. The whole ninety minute set was graceful, inspiring and quite lovely. Damon & Naomi hung about after the show, still relaxed and charming, and were happy to chat and sign records. Lovely people, lovely evening.

London on Friday night and then Paris for a couple of shows for Damon & Naomi before returning to North America for more live dates. As well as their site you can follow news of Damon & Naomi (and Luna/Dean & Britta/Galaxie 500) on the excellent and highly recommended fan-site A Head Full of Wishes.

Support was the duo Amor De Dias (Alasdiar of The Clientele, Lupe of Pipas). As described on the flyer this was 'psych-folk/tropicalia' with picked acoustic guitars and hushed vocals. A perfect support act for Damon & Naomi and definitely an act I would like to hear some more of.

Damon & Naomi
Within These Walls [BUY or BUY]

Damon & Naomi
More Sad Hits [BUY or BUY]

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