Acts: Slow Club, First Aid Kit, Wise Children, Jojo and Patch
Location: Southampton, U.K
Venue: The Joiners
Jojo and Patch, it's a name that evokes an image of a perplexing children's animation from Eastern Europe featuring a malevolent clown and his organ grinding monkey chum! (this sort of thing was a regular feature on the schedules of The B.B.C back in the Seventies and was responsible for warping the fragile young minds of many susceptible children of my generation) Jojo or Patch, for I never worked out which one was he, opened up the evening's entertainment with a gentle set of songs. He has a pleasing understated singing voice that recalls a Damien Rice or Bill Callahan from Smog.
It restored my faith in listening to sensitive singer songwriter types, after witnessing a horrific open mic night earlier in the year, when I was on holiday earlier in the summer. A procession of gauche young men attempted to sing along in a Jack Johnson crossed with Kurt Cobain style to their bedsit penned ditties to the groaning drinkers/audience. I swear, at one point, one aspiring James Blunt slunk off stage with tears in his eyes, mumbling apologies for being so bad, having cleared the pub of punters during his brief stint.
No such problems for our man though, who kept the sprinkling of punters onboard with a stirring strum through a handful of his compositions plus a cover version (Tom McCrae?) Patch or Jojo joined his compadre onstage for the final part of their set, it helped by having an extra guitarist to fill out the sound and hinted at the potential that could really bear fruit as they develop. All in all, it was good mojo for Jojo and worth keeping an eye (patch) on.
Jojo and Patch - Don't Hang Your Head - Live at The Joiners 16/09/09
Next up were local indie folksters Wise Children, so far, they have a solitary eponymous self released four song E.P to their name, but they have recently signed up to Oxford based indie label Vacuous Pop.
They have recently evolved from being a moniker for singer/songwriter Robin Warren-Adamson's project, into a full blown band. The blurb quotes influences such as Nick Drake, Frightened Rabbit, Efterklang, Sigur Ros and Bon Iver, which tick all the right boxes to my mind.
A nice little interview of the band can be read here! and according to the BBC website featured here, they wanted to capture an earthy sound, so recorded one of the songs from the E.P in a Southampton cinema... well, I listened hard for the familiar background noises emanating from our local multiplex of constant effing and jeffing, mobile ring tones going off and occasional fights breaking out in the aisles, but all I could hear was beautifully crafted sweet songs, with just a hint of menace creeping out in the underbelly of the lyrics! The signature track for Wise Children is the heart melting 'I Found Her In The Bath' yes you guessed it, recorded in a bath!
The guys looked nervous as kittens as they coughed up some fur balls of folk that have a lovely indie texture. The photogenic foursome combine to produce electro acoustic guitar heavy harmonic folk rock and have within their ranks, a front man with enough charisma about him, to give the guys something very promising to build upon. It transpired that this was their first gig in their current line up, which explained, the slightly awkward pauses for tuning etc. Give 'em six months to iron out the rough edges and Wise Children could be a very promising proposition.
The venue filled out and expectations grew considerably with the arrival of First Aid Kit fresh from a End of the Road festival performance and a precursor to a short tour of the U.K with Fanfarlo. Regular Scratchy readers will be aware of our appreciation in previous postings of the musical talents of these two Swedish sisters, Klara and Johanna Soderberg and so there was much anticipation to hear the duo in action. I think that this was the first exposure to First Aid Kit for the majority of the audience, but I got the distinct impression that most of them perked up very quickly and were well on the way to being converted by the final song.
As far as I remember, the set list included (In The Morning) My Daddio?, Our Own Pretty Ways, Your Not Coming Home Tonight, Jagadamba You Might, Tangerine, Tiger Mountain Peasant Song, The Universal Soldier and finishing with I'm In Love With The King (Disclaimer I must remember to make a more accurate record of these things at the time and not a week later so accuracy cannot be guaranteed)
The extended touring schedule has really paid dividends as the girls put in a polished performance exuding confidence in their material and their ability to deliver it with panache. Sometimes, one has to remind yourself that these siblings are still in the early stages of their career as their voices combine so effectively and they will in time, mature in their singing and songwriting skills. It's exciting to think that hopefully there's so much more to come, a musical Médecins Sans Frontières for your ears!
First Aid Kit - Hard Believer - produced by Varelsen http://www.varelsen.com/
out on the 05/10/09 along with the new song 'Waltz for Richard' on Wichita Recordings
You know, when it comes to "getting it" with certain bands you sometimes just have to go out and see a them do their thang in the right setting, then it all clicks into place. Slow Club are one of these bands, with a reputation has been steadily growing and have been bubbling up to the boil on the blogosphere cooker for awhile now, yet investigations in the Scratchy kitchen have been rather tardy up to now, so this was a great opportunity to see what the fuss was about.
Charles Watson and Rebecca Taylor are a compelling indie double act, they go together like strawberries and cream or Morecambe and Wise. The in-between song banter might be reminiscent of Jack and Vera Duckworth raiding the cocktail cabinet and getting sloshed on "a long slow comfortable folk up against the wall" at times, but make no mistake, this duo are serious about making punchy frantic organic indie pop songs and when Rebecca is beating the hell out of her drums, as Charles is thrashing out those guitar riffs, the image of a folk tinged White Stripes is absorbing and exhilarating to witness.
Some good snaps of the the main band's performance on the evening can be seen here...
Slow Club photos Fortunately, Platterhorn and I just about avoided being caught on film, with all the 'lowering the cool count' consequences that this would have entailed!
Slow Club - Trophy Room - video directed by Peter Ohs
Track taken from the 2009 debut album 'Yeah So' out on Moshi Moshi Records. buy it here
Slow Club On Tour
25/09/09 - Tunbridge, GB (Wells Forum)
26/09/09 - Glasgow, GB (The Classic Grand)
27/09/09 - Aberdeen, GB (Tunnels)
29/09/09 - Leeds, GB (Brudenell)
30/09/09 - York, GB (City Screen)
01/10/09 - Derby, GB (Rockhouse)
02/10/09 - Wolverton, GB (Milton Keynes Craufurd Arms)
03/10/09 - Reading, GB (South Street)
06/10/09 - Manchester, GB (Moholive)
07/10/09 - Wrexham, GB (Central Station)
08/10/09 - Kingston, GB (McLusky's)
09/10/09 - Crewe, GB (The Box)
10/10/09 - Bath, GB (Moles)
A useful review of the evening's events can be found here