Was lucky enough to get to play some tunes at The Cluny 2 last weekend for The Singing Adams. It set me to wondering all over again how gigs work in this city. Maybe there’s a sense of local identity which trumps a desire to see excellent music from wherever it comes. Hence, seeing a frankly fucking dreadful local band (who shall remain nameless but sound like Deacon Blue) playing to a packed Cluny 1 recently while The Singing Adams pulled a modest, if enthusiastic, crowd upstairs. (And don’t get me started on the pitiful turnouts for people like Kid Congo Powers and Dan Sartain).
I was too busy messing with cables to take in much about the opening duo (including, I’m afraid, their name) but they did seem pretty good out of the corner of my ear, as it were. Lucas Renney was a decent support if you like fairly angsty singer / songwriter confessionals. He was also a very funny man and I hope his best man’s speech the next day went okay.
I must have seen Steven Adams – with his old band The Broken Family Band and with this new outfit – at least a dozen times, probably more, and I’ve never seen him play a bad gig (although that support slot for The National was a bit iffy, guitar solo-wise). I won’t bang on about him being about the best songwriter in the country because he’ll read this and think I’m a dick, and also because I’ll save all that for when the Everybody Friends Now album charts very high in my end of year round-up.
Suffice to say that the new album is the equal of almost everything The Broken Family Band released*, and it’s still early days. It’s indie pop, I guess, but there’s folk in there, and just a hint of the country that BFB dabbled in, and a much more varied and delicate touch. And I love the new band – not exactly showy, but funny and diffident and damn great musicians, especially Melinda on drums. And Adams remains a great frontman – witty, sarky, with a knack for pulling an audience in close and keeping them there. The songs gain something live, with plenty of chances for the drunks to chunter along on the choruses, and the new stuff is sounding really good (they’re pretty much done touring Everybody Friends Now so hopefully the new album will be out in 2012). So all in all an excellent gig, even if a little quiet.
Next time, Newcastle, make a fucking effort, eh?
(* if we’re doing ranking, Everybody Friends Now is as good or better, on the whole, than every BFB album except Welcome Home Loser, but then since that album is one of the best albums of the last decade, it’s hardly a failure not to top it yet, right?)
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