Saturday, 20 September 2008

Rosie and the Goldbug plus openroom - live review

Location Orange Rooms, Southampton

The first thing I noticed about this venue's ambiance is that the interior designer's job was pretty straight forward, when given the brief for kitting out this overtly cool bar venue... if it's orange and retro.. buy it!

It has to be noted that the promotion surrounding this gig seems to have been virtually non existent, to the point that even the bar staff weren't aware of who was playing. Fortunately we made the effort to turn up, persevering with the rumour that Cornwall's finest trio 'Rosie and the Goldbug' were performing, as part of a promotional tour for their debut album, which has just been released on Lover Records on 15th September 2008. I was pleased and relieved to see the logo plastered across the pavement by the front door, especially as I'd dragged along my saxophone playing chum Platterhorn, with the promise of an evening of top quality off kilter, yet commercial insect rock.

It's a test of a band's mettle to see how they react, when they are confronted with a sparse crowd at a midweek gig, who are mostly interested observers as opposed to dedicated followers. Luckily for us 'The Goldbug' have enough gumption about them to give it some welly and deliver a glittering nugget of a show, despite the less than awe inspiring circumstances. The three piece delivered a frenetic sound that sparkles with energy. I've always thought that the stripped down sound of a trio can often be more essential than a bigger group, when administered correctly. There's no room for any slack in the sound and every instrument has justify it's inclusion, just think of the raw sound Jimi Hendrix Experience or more recently Placebo.

Pixie attacked his bass, ducking and diving like Muhammad Ali in his prime, Plum (previously of Japanese drumming group Kagemusha Taiko) clattered the drums with sheer finesse and in Rosie, this combo have a charismatic performer capable of holding the attention of any audience, leading from the front. It's fair to say that she doesn't just play her keyboard, more like use it as a launch pad for her theatrics. Clatterhorn remarked that the presence of a lead guitar wasn't missed at all in the mix. The chorus hooks are very catchy and have a strong commercial edge underneath the Gothic burlesque frills. It comes as no surprise that Marcella Detroit has had a hand in the songwriting duties as there is a hint of Shakespear’s Sister in the dramatic song structures, El Presidente and producer Jim Eliot (Kish Mauve) have also had a hand in crafting the Goldbug sound.

They opened with the spiky Butterfly and then launched old favourite War Of The Roses (Because You Said So) rattled through Strange Girl, current single Lover and It's Electric, before easing up with Springtime Dreaming a slower song that reminded us of Regina Spector and finished up with a smooth slab of Goldfrapp like electro pop Heartbreak. We appreciated all their efforts and special mention must go to the game girl dressed up as a gold bug who spent the evening popping wooden clothes pegs promoting the website onto unsuspecting members of the audience. We look forward to another Goldbug experience, but hopefully the next time our paths cross, there will be a proper crowd to participate in the event, otherwise I might just have to bring my dressing gown and comfy slippers if it's going to feel like a private performance in my living room again and no one should be subjected to that sight!

A quick mention of local boys openroom, a group of five young scamps with asymmetric haircuts, who deliver a pleasing sound that mixes Artic Monkeys with 'Planet Earth' era Duran Duran. These whippersnappers have some very toe tapping tunes in their set, with 'We're Gonna Run' standing out, it's catchy new wave synth hook reminding me of The Soupdragon from The Clangers, which can only be a good thing in my book.

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