Wow, what an evening. I spent the whole evening in the Hanbury Ballroom – a great little venue two streets away from my house. I was really looking forward to this night and I wasn’t disappointed. All four bands were quite different but really quite excellent in their own right; as soon as one band finished, you could feel the excitement of anticipation as the appreciative crowd awaited the next offering.
So then, first up were the Delilahs, a three piece all girl band from Switzerland – not often you say that. And they rocked their punk-pop fantastically. I suppose the obvious comparisons are the Donnas, Veruca Salt (remember them?) and the Breeders. Though probably not in Breeders territory, I enjoyed these three immensely (dare I say they are seriously cute too?)
Next came the People’s Revolutionary Choir who didn’t sound like their name might imply. They are sort of early Spiritualized and I mean that in a really, really good way – assuming their sounds transfers to the studio well, I’ll buying their stuff. The singer put absolutely everything into his performance, as did the rhythm guitarist who was bleeding profusely by the end. With further hints of Death in Vegas, My Bloody Valentine and Spacemen 3, the PRC were shoegazey, gospel and rock, and I loved it.
Midlake were up next and were billed as ‘encouraging ecstatic comparisons with the Flaming Lips and Radiohead.’ That’s a lot to live up to, but they were quite beautiful at times, adding Mercury Rev and Grandaddy to the mix (the latter might just be the beards, mind you). The music was totally engaging, ranging from mellow to ecstatic; chilled but exciting with it. They were giving out sampler CDs at the gig so they probably won’t mind if you download Roscoe from their forthcoming album, The Trials of Van Occupanther.
Finally came Richard Hawley, my main reason for this venue tonight. I’ve got just about all of his records but I’d never seen him perform live. For those unaware of Hawley’s baritone crooning and wonderful song writing, there’s plenty of free downloads on his website. As for the performance, it was everything I’d hoped it would be. Hawley regaled us with his dry Northern wit, sang beautifully and injected some real venom into his songs, notably Ocean and It’s Over Love. Great stuff.