Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Shady Bard

The year’s first classic gig happened last weekend in the breathtaking surroundings (it sure beat the likes of the Betsy Trotwood and the Garage) of St Giles-in-the-Fields church in the centre of London.

Shady Bard, whose Penguins single late last year was an inviting rather than inspiring debut, showed they had a lot more to offer. Displaying the same resonant soulfulness of latter-stage Tindersticks, the spacious tear-in-a-beer alt-country of Sparklehorse and the out-there woozy melodies of Gorky’s, Shady Bard have shaped up to be one of 2007’s contenders.

An album on Static Caravan at the end of April showcasing the Shady Bard orchestra of violin, cello, French horn and piano could see them – if they translate their fuller, muscular sound to the studio – deliver a classic debut album. It often pays to get to gigs early to see the band at the bottom of the bill (although they were the band I most wanted to see, they were much better than I expected).

The Clientele’s new songs sounded good, apart from two of them, which were, bizarrely, both Daydream Believer by The Monkees. It makes a change, I suppose, from one of Lou Reed's VU ballads.

Sodastream were good as ever and they came equipped with some tall tales from recent travels. My favourite was the one about the man who claimed to have killed a dog with a single punch. I’ll probably go to see them next Saturday as Airport Girl and Monkey Swallows The Universe are also playing.


martijn said...

I didn't know you were there too. :)
The Shady Bard were okay, not too special, I liked the Clientele better. And Sodastream, that I had never seen before, we just totally brilliant.

FireEscape said...

Well, Shady Bard were the best of the night for me. I'm expecting great things from them. The Clientele were good, although I'm probably a little jaded as I've seen them so many times. Sodastream were very, very good and I'll be going to see them at the Luminaire next week. If you're around, let me know and we can have a beer.

martijn said...

Won't be there, sorry. Wish I could make it to London again though.
I hadn't listened to Shady Bard before, that might have made a difference. And I have to get used to the Clientele having a violonist.

FireEscape said...

I saw the Clientele in NY last September (ain't I flash) and I was very impressed with the extra dimenstion the violin added. I think it augments the Clientele's sound very well.

martijn said...

I saw them in Athens, Greece last April. Does that make me flash too?

I think it is more that to me The Clientele are three blokes in their 30s. A girl in her 20s just doesn't fit into that idea (much as I agree she augments the sound very well, especially in the newer songs). It's like an Spurs footballer will never fit in Arsenal's squad, much as he might be able to score tons of goals.

FireEscape said...

You are forgetting Sol "Judas" Campbell, who went from Spurs to Arsenal (although he didn't score lots of goals, being a defender).

I think the Clientele were overdue their change, as they were in danger of becoming their own tribute band they'd be doing the same thing for so long. The violinist and the country-tinge of some new songs is just right. As for not fitting in, people might have said that about Amanda Brown in 1987, but she turned out to be a great addition to the Go-Betweens. Part of what is now known as "the classic line-up".