Love is not the answer.

I missed Costello last night, primarily through disorganisation, but I wasn't going to voluntarily miss Giant Sand too, although I almost did for the same reason. I ended up calling the Queen's Hall today, and happily not only were they not sold out, they'd just had one ticket returned at a front-row table. Excellent!

When I got there, about ten minutes before the support band were due on, the place was almost empty. We're not quite talking about the band outnumbering the audience, but not far off it. I got a drink and a record or two (they were cheap, okay?) and sat down. The support band, The Endrick Brothers, came on and played for about forty minutes. They weren't at all bad, actually, although I think they were laying the Americanisms on a bit thick for weegies. Not as memorable as the sadly missed Hobotalk, but not bad. They played and sang well, in a fairly straightforwardly mellow country-rock style, and had some good songs. There were five of them, and I suspect they weren't actually brothers.

They left, and there was a twenty minute turnaround. A lot more people had arrived during the Brothers' set, and the tables on the floor were about full. The side stalls had a lot of space in them, but it felt a lot better. Nobody at all was upstairs.

A touch after nine, various people including someone who was recognisable Howe Gelb even from the other end of the room appeared in the wings and ambled on stage. Gelb picked up a guitar, stepped up the the microphones and quietly asked, "Any questions?"

He seems to be that sort of guy. Relaxed, quiet, slightly wry, a touch eccentric . . . a couple of songs in he realised that the echoey knocking sound that had been intermittently puzzling folk for a few minutes was coming from a headset combo dangling off an electronic organ next to the drumkit. He shrugged and put it on. It looked like an aircraft headset - quite heavy, adjustable, solidly traditional design, lots of sound exclusion - and came with a heavy battery pack and transceiver attached to a webbing belt. Once he had it all on he noticed that his guitar had turned over so the current front had no strings. "That's wrong", he said with mock puzzlement, and tried to take the guitar off only to realise it was now caught by its leads behind the belt and headset, so he had to take them off too. A moment later he'd swapped guitar and redonned the headset and was ready to go. The song he started - and they didn't seem to be working from a setlist so I assume the others were picking up the song from his intro - had him playing guitar and keyboard by pressing the keys with the guitar's head while still playing it too. Someone like Otway would have hammed this up shamelessly, but Gelb played it in an understated and gently humorous manner. How much of a reversal of national stereotypes is that? Actually, as he explained later, there's more slack down in Tucson. Turning up counts as being on time.

Later he draped the headset over a cymbal so the drummer could use the odd resulting sound, if he wanted. He was detuning strings and generally messing about at times too. This could have been annoying rather than amusing, but he didn't take it to Sonic-Youthy levels.

The band were introduced at the end as being three young men from Denmark, who were very good. Musically it varied from the same sort of semi-acoustic folk and country-rock as their support band to punchier electric cowpunk with lots of distortion and feedback- including Down on town/Love is not the answer off their first album, with an added verse of the Joker in between for no readily apparent reason. Made my evening, regardless.

Gelb spent the evening drinking a tumbler of what he told us was Baillie Nicol Jarvie, which apparently he first came across in Gothenberg and I confess I'd never heard of. He insisted that it's very nice stuff, though. A lot of the evening rested on his quiet charm, which he has a lot of. And he looks a bit like an older djm4, too (and therefore a touch like Wayne Coyne), which is obviously a good thing.
  • Current Mood: pleased
The Endrick is a river (a burn, really) near Balloch, where I grew up. It flows into Loch Lomond. Perhaps not only are they not brothers, but none of them is called Endrick? The people must be told!

As to whisky, Americans drink strange things that we hardly touch over here, like Chivas Regal. I've been watching The West Wing recently, and there's one episode in which Leo is offered Johnny Walker Blue, which, they say, sells for thirty dollars a shot! And it's not even a single malt. I'm amused by a comment here about their Red Label: [y]our recipient will appreciate its mix ability with soda. Bet that tastes good neat, then.
Combining honest and charming wordplay with sun drenched melodies and cunning chord changes, the songwriting team of Yorick Cormack (guitar) and Niall Holmes (vocals) find life in the startling instrumentation provided by lead guitarist Donny Little, bassist Kenny McGregor and drummer Matthew Lancaster.

Shock! Horror! Zzzzzz . . . .

Whisky. yes. Funny. I've some of that Chivas Regal at home. I don't think I've started it. I'm told it's quite nice. And I'm sure this other one is, too. I've some far nicer ones to get through before I'm likely to pay them all that much attention, though.

I notice the HRA-based challenge to the foxhunting ban's been rejected. Almost over, then. That one looked like it was going to come back every year indefinitely. It's good to be getting it out of the way.
Damn you knew about Costello? Andy hadn't HEARD OF HIM. I despair.. I wanted to go. *snif*