The thoughts and ocassional ramblings of a 30-something muso.
Hello, I’m a muso. I'm one of those guys you see digging around the racks of vinyl in London's backstreet record shops. I'm not addicted, I can give it up whenever I want. I just need to find that limited edition 7" single that the NME made single of the week. Maybe you've bumped into me in the queue for the bar at The Academy or The Astoria. There are thousands of us in London - I've seen all the regular faces in the record shops and at the gigs.

This blog is my attempt to write about the records that I love, the gigs I've been to and, well, anything else to do with music. Hopefully you'll find something here that makes you nod in agreement or rant in disagreement or maybe even laugh.
Monday, August 02, 2004
The Subways, Ikara Colt at the Barfly

A little over a week since we saw them as competition winners at Glastonbury, and we’ve got a chance to see The Subways up close. The first thing we notice is that they are younger than they looked at Glastonbury, which means lots of men crowding around bass playing teenager Charlotte.

Things must be moving pretty fast for The Subways and I’m sure they’re having to pinch themselves to see whether all of this is true. For me they still feel like a 6th Form band. Maybe that’s just someone at my age looking at these youngsters up on stage. They seem to be learning to play the game - Charlotte and Billy (guitar/vocals) come face to face inches apart on several occasions, playing on the sexual tension in the band.

Musically, most of the songs are in the blues rock genre spearheaded by The White Stripes and The Kills so you can think of this band as the children of The White Stripes.

Ikara Colt were the darlings of the NME about 2 years ago so we can think of them as the elders of the current art-rock movement. Since then they’ve recorded a second album, which has just been released, and to be fair is pretty good.

So what are they like live? We’ll they keep us waiting (it seems to be part of the art rock movement that if it’s worth going on stage then its worth waiting until as late as possible. But we can forgive them this as when they do arrive they arrive to a thunder of drums and bass. Maybe they come on late because they are back stage arguing with The Barfly bosses as they seem to be in a real tiz about playing The Barfly - “We said we’d never play here again but we’re doing it for you, the fans” says singer Paul. He also complains about playing in front of a sponsorship banner for Virgin Mobile, so some cad at the front suggests that he pull it down. We then witness the terrible sight of a cool band loosing their cool, trying to pull down a banner that quite clearly isn’t going to remove and then having to resort to simply stating “Ikara Colt do not endorse Virgin Mobile”. It’s a sorry end to an otherwise good set and we’ll probably go and see them again, although probably not at The Barfly.

The Chalets, The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Project, at the ICA

The Chalets are a five piece from “Dublin’s fair city”. They play a half hour set, the best of which sounds like Stereolab; the rest of the set sounds a bit like Kelly Osbourne playing with Republica. All in all a bit of a mixed bag but their home made matching costumes make up for it.

The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players are an art project with a capital A. They are also a family (you see, the clues are in the name!) with dad playing guitar and singing, daughter (who is only 10 years old) playing drums and mum adding percussion and controlling the slideshow (again, back to the name). The concept of TTFSP is that they find old slide collections at garage sales and write humorous songs about the content; they then perform these songs whilst showing the slides. And it’s the concept that makes this evening so entertaining – we laugh along at the slides of old dears from the 1950’s at Christmas parties – it’s certainly not the quality of the music which they just manage to hold together.

Dad (or Jason if you prefer) could ditch the whole music thing and become a stand up comedian – he’s up there with other New Yorkers like Woody Alan and, well, it’s actually Woody Alan. Rachel (that's the daughter) looks like she would rather be anywhere else than on a stage with her parents, in front of all of these drunken people with funny accents who laugh when she has to leave the stage to use the bathroom (or as dad says “consult the ghost of Keith Moon”).

The set is closed with the incredibly catchy Eggs, written about a collection of government slides showing eggs and Vietnam era soldiers. In all they’ve been on stage for about 45 minutes. Normally we’d be demanding a few more songs for our money, but tonight this seems about right – even a clever, funny piece of art can become annoying if you're exposed to it for too long.

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