Hot Club De Paris + Slow Club @ Hush, Royal Albert Hall
The Royal Albert Hall? I hear you enquire. Yes that is what I said. For one bleak February (yes I know) evening, Moshi Moshi records took over the affluent and ornate Elgar Room in the RAH and filled it with the glowing sounds and joyful melodies of two of their brightest stars. The Albert Hall has a rich musical history, from the numerous flag-waving "Last Nights" to the story of my ma dancing in the aisles to Eric Clapton, and this acceptance and welcoming of new talent can only add to the venue's mighty stature.
After being directed upstairs by a number of red-blazered stewards - it felt like being at Butlins - and using the FREE cloakroom - i was mighty impressed - we enter the plush surroundings of the Elgar Room. It was stunning. The raised performing area overlooked the bar and everything was decadent and well...fancy. The lavish surroundings seemed to intimidate the crowd into a murmured hush, it could have been due to the stare of the carving behind the stage, everyone was unsure how to act. Was it a gig or a concert? How much am I allowed to dance at the Albert Hall? All these questions seemed to hanging over us as the bands took the stage but from the first notes, the answers was loud and clear. 1)Gig 2)Alot.
The review of Slow Club's set will appear in funfunfun zine #2, which should be out in about a month. It will also include a live review of Rolo Tomassi, an interview with Jetplane Landing and some reviews and features to be confirmed. I'll let you know more about it in due course.
Hot Club De Paris arrived on stage to a politely rapturous applause from the majority of the crowd. I was in the minority. For some unexplained reason I've never really listen to the Moshi Moshi mainstays, even though I see their name every time I venture onto the Moshi Moshi website and they've had excellent write-ups all over the shop. They just seem to be a band I've passed by so I was looking to be converted tonight. The three Scousers seem almost in awe of the venue and the reception as the first couple of tracks were a bit off but with a bit of amusing onstage banter and a more than receptive audience, they soon found their confidence and their stride. Bassist Paul Rafferty was immense, his fingers leaping from fret to fret almost mindlessly as he slouched over the microphone, singing. Guitarist Matt couldn't stop moving, resonating waves of sunshine guitar riffs as he rocked back and forth and drummer Alasdair controlled it all with an agitated beat, changing time signatures at a whim. Their playful melodies, raw guitar sound and regional accents sounded familiar, due to one-too-many of the same kin but Hot Club seemed to have so much enjoyment onstage that that alone puts them above the rest. Tracks like "Shipwreck" and "Who Am I?" got the front row singing along as the band whizzed through a set of fireball pop tunes. On this performance they deserve to be playing on such a prestigious stage.
Slow Club - Me And You
Hot Club De Paris - Shipwreck
You can find more photos of the gig at my flickr.