A debut, a launch, a challenge and a rare moment of quiet
The absolute best thing about hanging out in dark little venues all the time is when you catch a band’s first ever gig. Tonight it’s Body Type’s turn to join the scene, who kick off their live debut with the immortal line “thanks for coming out to see us… suckers!” Chutzpah before a note is even played in anger is plainly worthy of great respect.
As, also, are the tunes. This is rarely excitable stuff (and there’s a lot of amusing concentration going on as they try and remember the songs), but it’s got that twisted Pavement thing going on with the guitars, that needling habit of plucking out notes that have no business being there but clearly couldn’t be anywhere else. They’re also – charmingly and all too rarely – utterly delighted about being there. By the end of their first ever set, so am I.
Solid Effort aren’t the easiest band to enjoy, even given that amazing name. It’s not they’re not enjoyable – they surely are -but it’s like watching a fight between a melody and a street brawl. Just when you get comfortable with the wonky pop, they go incoherently hardcore. Just when you settle in to be challenged, the bloody thing takes off for the skies. Inventive and inviting and obstinate and contrary – more, please.
Georgia Fields arrives after two bands who have incrementally raised the volume and – in an unexpected twist for my normal nights out – turns it waaay the hell back down. It’s just her, on a swivel chair that apparently reminds her of Michael J Fox for reasons she gamely tries to explain, and the world’s largest digital piano. Oh, and by the way, that amazing voice.
I go to The Brighton a lot, and I’ve had my eardrums pounded into submission on more occasions than my inevitable tinnitus could count. Tonight’s the first time I have a quiet moment, and it’s bloody glorious. At times, it’s like my camera’s the loudest thing in the room. She plays and sings and soothes the savage Friday night beast with clever and touching lyrics – “you’re the one I waited for / the one my breath was bated for” – as well as songs about (finally!) Sisyphus off of Greek mythology. It’s absolutely not what you want on a Friday night bender, but I’ll be damned if it’s not just what I needed. Fabulous.
Gabriella Cohen and her band open up by asking for, and getting, a moment of silence. As it stretches into uncomfortably long silence territory, Cohen breaks it with a grin and they peel off into the show. It’s a neat trick, and pulls focus from the audience without raising a single voice.
Not that this lot need to raise their voices. This sits somewhere between Courtney Barnett’s alt sensibility and Julia Jacklin’s bourbon-y country (there’s even a Johnny Cash cover), and it’s earthy and filling fare. Cohen herself has that kooky, off-kilter thing down pat, and the set fizzes with energy without ever needing to lose its cool. Strong songs, a terrific band, a voice you could listen to for days, and enough sunset and dust baked into the songs to keep everyone happy – grand stuff.
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