Tuesday, June 03, 2008You Crawled Out Of The Sea
A year ago I was in New York, living in a mouse-infested room in Greenpoint, walking wide-eyed through almost every neighbourhood in the big apple, eating delicious food from all over the world, going to great gigs, plodding through galleries, museums, shops. I saw The Long Blondes at the Luna Lounge in Brooklyn and supporting them was Nicole Atkins and the Sea. I was bowled over by her incredible, powerful voice and the sweeping orchestration of her material. I was so enamoured that I forgot to take a single picture and so the experience went undocumented.
Luckily, hints were picked up on and her album Neptune City found its way to me as a Christmas present and then I found out she and her band would be coming to the Soho Revue bar at the end of April. The small venue was only at a quarter of its capacity and the majority of folks were crowded around by the the bar. This meant much of Ms Atkins' grandiose sound, energetic stage show and warm charisma were wasted on the immediate open space in front of the stage. She soldiered on and gave a great performance more suited to a big theatre than these intimate settings. By the time the band played the rousing Brooklyn's On Fire, less self-conscious people made their way to the floor for some fist raising.
I left happy, but frustrated and embarassed by my fellow Londoners. I've noticed increasingly that punters have a lack of respect for artists and have been to several gigs recently where people seem to be happier to stand by the bar and chat (loudly!) than give the band they've paid (or been guestlisted) to see. Perhaps going to gigs has become so de rigeur for people that it's just like to a bar and the live musical is incidental, if not annoying. Nicole said she would be back in June, and judging by the fact that she's already had a full page interview in a national paper and a slot at the uber-corporate O2 Wireless festival, so hopefully some major label muscle will help ensure she gets a more enthusiastic welcome next time.
Monday, June 02, 2008Bags of Gold
Jay Jay Pistolet isn't really called Jay Jay Pistolet: his real name is Justin. But songs that take you to some place else are his speciality, so he's allowed a stage name. Jay Jay (pronounces zjay zjay, like it's French or summink1!1!!!) sings low-key love songs to lucky girls, which evoke lost summers, unreqited romances and foreign places. There are elements of Bright Eyes in there, but without the need to worry for his sanity; there's more than just a glimmer of hope running through his material. Charlie Spink of Noah and the Whale has produced some proper demos for him, some of which are on his MySpace.
I saw him once with Slow Club (see below), and then again a week later with...Noah and the Whale (it's the same names all the time!) and I'm hooked and eagerly anticipating future recordings and gigs.
Ok, have a picture of him in pretend glasses at the NATW gig. Very bookish. Mmmm.