Archive | April, 2012

Live Review: Tribes

23 Apr

Concorde 2: Saturday, April 21

With every tinpot Britpop band from Dodgy to Shed Seven intent on milking the nostalgia cash cow, there’s clearly a demand among thirty-somethings to relive their teens, hollering indie disco anthems like it was 1995.

But don’t spend your hard-earned cash watching an ageing Rick Witter look an even bigger tool than he was the first time around, or waste an hour guessing how much royalty money the drummer from Dodgy spunked on pies; if you want to feel 16 again, go and see shaggy-haired, Camden-types Tribes.

At a sold out Concorde they bombarded young and old with a succession of addictive, stadium-sized anthems, most of which were shouted back at them by besotted, wide-eyed teenagers. 

It’d be easy to mock the kids; after all, Tribes’ sing-along indie and shabby Topman-chic is hardly novel, but deep down surely everyone wants to be a cynicism-free 18-year-old with a heart full of hope and belly full of cheap booze. And that’s exactly how Tribes make you feel.

From the glorious glam stomp of former single Sappho to the Clash-lite riffs of When My Day Comes, it’s impossible to not be sucked in by their endless enthusiasm.

It’s not all rabble-rousing euphorics, though, and couple of toned-down numbers show their song writing has a more than a dash of finesse.

Their main quality, however, is that they churn out tunes so infectious and radio-friendly you’d think they were ten-a-penny, not the holy grail for most bands.

Ok, so Tribes aren’t going to get a sideboard full of Ivor Novello awards, but they will show you a cracking time. As they sing on When My Day Comes, “Why should we worry about acting our age?” Why indeed – it’s much more fun their way.

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Live Review: Laura Gibson

19 Apr

Komedia: Friday, April 13 2012

In an indication that sometimes fortune favours the brave, Laura Gibson’s third album Le Grande has received more attention and praise despite being less instantly accessible than its two predecessors.

While there’s no radical departure from her tried and tested, hushed Americana, there is enough musical invention and vocal interplay to ensure there’s a good turn out for her first Brighton show in a couple of years.

There’s no sign that the additional attention has increased the pressure, though, as Gibson and her three-piece band effortlessly charmed with an hour-long set of impeccably crafted folk songs and her sublime, and at times haunting, voice.

In a sign of true class, it almost seemed to be too easy at times; there were tricky three-part harmonies that were made to sound as simple as nursery rhymes, and intricate guitar and galloping drums that looked such a doddle it probably convinced half of those here that they could play them too. They couldn’t.

Best of all, however, was the fact that the music – no matter how technically clever and accomplished – accumulated into a gloriously hazy sound akin to listening to it on a much-loved, and therefore slightly battered, LP.

The set ended with Gibson conducting the audience as it enthusiastically provided layers of backing vocals. To be fair, after a spine-tingling performance like this, Gibson could have got away with demanding just about anything…her guitarist’s efforts to get someone to breakdance, however, might have been pushing it a bit. Only a little bit, mind.

Comedy Review: Andy Zaltzman

2 Apr

Komedia: Thursday, March 29, 2012

Andy Zaltzman might be an intellectual and comedic powerhouse, peppering his set with references to the likes of the Alternative Vote referendum and the intricacies of the Syrian uprising, but he’s also one who gains his confidence from the appreciation and participation of the audience.

That’s why the first half of his act was a tad shaky. He wasn’t helped by some technical gremlins that shattered the rhythm of his routine, or the antics of a drunk couple at the back, but for the large part his sharp material was let down by his nervy delivery, leading to a somewhat subdued response.

The one exception was when he superbly summarised the tax system with hilarious simplicity. Arguing that kids should get used to wealth distribution at an early age, he said they should leave 23 per cent of the sweets they buy in
the shop. If they buy a big bag, they have to leave 40 per cent, or if they fill a giant rucksack, they can swan out without leaving anything.

This form continued into a far more impressive second half. After establishing that modern day wars were military mismatches, he suggested rectifying the situation with an FA Cup-style draw. From the velvet bag he drew the USA v Russia (“The big match we’ve all been waiting for”), England v India (“It’s likely to be a lot closer than last time”) and Rwanda v Rwanda (“Their first match was a real humdinger, but let’s hope people bother to watch this time”).

Like most of his material, it was cutting, clever and very funny. Sometimes Zaltzman just needs a little bit more faith in his ability to really do it justice on stage.

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