Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Mules + Lightspeed Champion + Noah & The Whale @ The Big Chill House

Still on-going, the Mules' free weekly residency at The Big Chill House has boasted some impressive line ups over the past few weeks, Napolean IIIrd, Johnny Flynn, Emmy The Great, Eugene McGuiness but the one i choose to go to a few weeks ago (sorry for the lateness of this review) had the best line up of them all.

Opening were Noah & The Whale, who when i saw them last November, were a two piece comprising of a drummer and frontman and guitarist Charlie. The band now consists of 5 members and the extra waves of sound from the violin and keyboard filled out the already excellent tunes, making them rounded and smoother. Also that night, additional vocals by the amazingly cute and very talented Laura Marling added a femininity to the music that softened its edges - even though i just said the music was round. They played a few tunes that have been on consistent rotation on my playlist, like Rocks & Daggers with its subdued start and raucous fiddle-driven ending and 5 Years Time, their forthcoming single. The new songs they played were good..i think, but with the gig being so long ago i can't really remember. I do know i wasn't disappointed.

Then Lightspeed Champion took to the stage. This time round Dev was playing solo and i was intrigued as to whether he could pull off as good a performance as when i saw him, full-banded, supporting Final Fantasy. Helping him through the set were two lovely ladies, alternately on backing vocals, Flo of Florence & The Machine and Emmy The Great. Starting, as last time, with the comic book themed Mr Fisk, the performance was reassuringly assured but it seemed to lack something. As N&TW's music had progressed with the addition of extra instruments, the lack of them in LSC set seemed to diminish the effect of the songs, especially the lack of violin on Galaxy Of The Lost. A couple of covers, Buddy Holly with the help of Emmy and Green Day's Hitchin' A Ride with Flo lifted the crowd a bit but the performance was hindered by the lack of band. I hope next time they will be back.

When our hosts for the night, The Mules, took to the stage, i'd been standing for a few hours and had had more than enough rum and cokes, i was a tad sleepy but if you ever go to see this band, you'll soon realise that drowsiness is not a state that The Mules understand. From the word go, the music was fast and frenzied rockabilly indie. Ed, drummer, singer and all-round musical whizkid was just incredible to watch, i still don't understand how he plays those drum rhythms while holding the vocals perfectly. Their sound was all plunky basslines, soaring fiddle parts, sillyily crazy drum beats and lots and lots of fun. The band looked like they were enjoying themselves too and really translated to the crowd, who by the end of the set were all wearing face-stretching smiles. With two more shows left of their residency, i'm definately gonna try and see them again.

Noah & The Whale - 5 Years Time

Lightspeed Champion - No Surprise
Lightspeed Champion - Hitchin' A Ride
The Mules - Rhino
The Mules - Save Your Face

Cheers to Neb and Kate who help with the photography, which you can see more of on my flickr and here.


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