The Forum, Kentish Town, London
We've been loving the Clap Your Hands album this year, so were looking forward to this gig at The Forum (high on the favourite venues list). Support band The Boy Least Likely To... sucked, following the recent "branding+website+aren't-we-wacky, c'mon sing along=boy least likely to be bought by me" formula of quite a few UK bands. Once they were out of the way and most of the balloons had been popped the show really started. Clap Your Hands were kind of as expected (with the exception of the Scarecrow hat and actual country styles) - serious but not too serious, straight down to business and thoroughly holding the crowd's attention. They were soon onto the one of my favourites, In This Home On Ice - and the crowd were loving it. Almost every song seemed like your favourite, including several new songs - all sounding good. The band few us a few red herrings, starting songs with a bit of blues finger picking before rolling into Is This Love, or stretching things out. The sound didn't seem to do much to lift the muffled lyrics out of the music at first, but pretty soon everyone was picking out the zeitgeist (sub: please check my grammar) highlights, like sex, and drugs, and rock and rock and rock and rock and roll. Lead singer Alec Ounsworth didn't have much to say, but the couple of the other guys chipped in now and then with some banter and a couple of song introductions.
One thing I did overlook when anticipating this gig was my own rule of not seeing bands with less than three albums under their belt - and that's where these guys loose points. They were undoubtedly great performers, putting in amped up performances of nearly their entire album, many of which are already near classic songs.... however, take away the two skimpy ditties and the entire album clock in at barely 35 minutes. A not-enough-songs scenario ensued, with the band huddling between nearly every song to discuss how to proceed. They did everything you'd expect, and while the new songs were certainly good ("Satan Said Dance" in particular) they were still unknown, not bringing anything like the same crowd response as Details Of The War or The Skin Of My Yellow Country Teeth. A harsh critic may say it was like seeing Radiohead in support of Pablo Honey, where they were playing mystery songs of their forthcoming album second album. A more generous one may say it was like seeing Oasis just before Definitely Maybe.
The awesome Upon This Tidal Wave Of Young Blood has always had the promise to be stretched out as a 10 minute Free Bird -style jam, and it looked briefly like that might close the set, however an enthusiastic stage diver managed to unplug Alec Ounsworth's guitar, bringing that dream to an somewhat abrupt conclusion.
The band came back on with a new song (or was it a cover?) and although the encore was padded out with the un-listenable Clap Your Hands even that song sounded good live, before Heavy Metal finished the set and upped it's position on the grid.
Looking forward to the "Sophomore Plus" world tour of London.
Click here for pictures.
11th Jul 2006 - Tumblr3.5
Henham Park, Southwold, Suffolk
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