Monday, 11 July 2011

The Promenade at The Water Rats, King's Cross, 6th July 2011

The Promenade played a really cool set in King's Cross, this time unhindered by technical difficulties! The venue was pretty nice too. There was a woman playing called Kristeen Young, who had a kind of melodramatic, vaguely Broadway, piano-rock synth thing going on, and an incredible range in her voice. While she seemed to divide opinions among the punters out front, especially the ones who had gone so far out front they were literally outside, I thought she was pretty cool, and so, apparently, do Tony Visconti, her producer, and Morrissey, who's taking her on tour. I spoke to her afterwards and picked up one of her EPs, and she said that there are plans for a full band at some point, which would sound great with some of the cool chord changes she's got going on. All her stuff is really well constructed, I recommend it.

I have a soft spot for her kind of avant-garde or highly self-conscious performance, it's interesting to watch a performer so clearly performing, as a lot of the bands you see on the unknown circuit shamble apologetically through some onstage banter and say hello to their friends in the audience (audiences on this circuit are usually exclusively composed of friends of the bands), before looking at the necks of their guitars for the duration of their songs, apart from the singer who will unfailingly over-pronunciate his terrible lyrics, give the audience knowing looks as they realise how brilliant he is, and generally look really proud of himself after every song. And the songs are all crappy, sub-blues, sub-everything knockoffs.

That's one type of band you see a lot anyway, in the back rooms of pubs, and especially with younger guys, but older guys do it as well. I always feel like saying to them, have you not listened to any music recently? Do you not realise you're doing a half-arsed rehash of everything that's come before? But they enjoy it, I suppose. It just seems a bit weird to have all these venues full of amateur bands who are mostly playing to themselves and the couple of friends they manage to drag along, who are there for their friends rather than the music. That's fine, and they and their friends enjoy it, but I often find myself wishing that people would stop just playing in these lazy bands because they want a hobby, and start writing honest songs about their own lives that people might actually want to listen to, or feel that they can get something out of. But very few people are good at that, or even have the intelligence to try to get good at it. So what we have are a load of crap bands populated by people who shouldn't really play in bands because they're not really any good at it, but they like to do it as a hobby. I feel it shouldn't really be a hobby. You should either do it with your heart in it, or don't do it.

In other news, I went out for my brother's birthday last night. The 500 capacity club was completely empty, apart from about 20 people, but we made some friends in the smoking area:

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