Friday, November 27, 2009

nice ola podrida video

The Texan musician David Wingo is better known as a soundtrack composer than he is a conventional songwriter - his score for the magnificent David Gordon Green film 'All The Real Girls' is worth checking out - but it's telling to see that his work under the name Ola Podrida is increasingly gathering deserved plaudits. His new record, Belly Of The Lion, is out now. Dan has braved the wintery winds of the edge of England and made the following video to accompany one of Wingo's new tunes. Aside from its matching up nicely with the music, it makes me all sentimental for Brighton. Here it is.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

filesharing misfire

This article, published on the Guardian site today and written by Anne Wollenberg, is one of the worst discussions of filesharing I've ever come accross. That said, it's worth a read simply to discover the the extent to which it is unutterable, unreadable, gibberish. Hopefully when the day comes when publishers are forced to defend their copyright in the face of mass downloading, we’ll be more eloquent – and less fatheaded – than this.


"Hey, how about I help myself to your car while you're on holiday. It's OK, I'm not going to deprive you of it – I'll leave it where I found it, with the same amount of petrol and everything, so that's fine, right?"

Christ. That analogy doesn't even work. Someone offers a swift correction in the comments section, thankfully, replying:

"No, but if you want to buy the raw equipment and materials to make an exact copy of my car, knock yourself out".

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

dark star brewery

Good to see Brighton's own Dark Star Brewery listed in the Guardian's list of the top ten UK microbreweries. Ace. Here's what the Grauniad says:

Dark Star Brewery – Evening Star Brighton

When the Evening Star became a freehouse in 1992 the owner converted half the cellar into a microbrewery. When demand grew the brewery moved to nearby Ansty but still supplies the pub with it's golden Hophead bitter (3.8%) as well as rotating Dark Star beers. You'll also find a choice of real ciders and international bottled beers. A short hop away from Brighton Station, it's often missed by the visiting crowds heading down to the seafront. Also handy for catching the last train back to London if you're on a day trip to the coast. Look out for its one-batch-a-year Critical Mass (7.2%) Christmas ale - sure to get you singing Fairytale Of New York in the manner of Shane MacGowan himself.

•, 55/56 Surrey Street, Brighton, BN1 3PB, +44 (0)1273 328931.
Thirsty now.

stormy coast

Nice little video of Brighton seafront courtesy of Dan; the South Coast is absolutely nuts, weather-wise, at the moment - sun, rain, hail, rainbows. Don't understand.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

messing about

Right, I want this on the record that the following took me exactly twenty two minutes to make - including taking the photos, putting them on my computer, animating them and processing. I say this not because I am proud of it and showing off, but because I am a bit ashamed of its simplicity. Anyway - the goal was to see if I can remember how to produce simple animations, and it's official, I can. Will have a go at doing a proper one later this week.

In the meantime... miniature drum roll...

small seagulls

The seagulls in Brighton are so enormous - it's always funny when you see them inland and note how small they are in comparison. These were snapped in St. Ives, Cambridgeshire, this weekend. Nice chaps.

Monday, November 23, 2009

someone told me a poem

At the risk of talking about Tristram too much, Anika - whose blog, Anika in London, is well worth a read - has made this sweet video for Tristram's forthcoming single, 'Someone Told Me a Poem' - which is out on Oh Inverted World records on February 15th. A tantalising snippet from what is likely to be an awesome EP.

The video makes me want to do some animation - here, for the sake of completeness, is the one attempt at it I've ever made. Yes, very amateurish, I know. Might have another go at this sometime.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

not tempted by avatar

Over on, they're compiling evidence which points to the distinct possibility that James Cameron's 'Avatar' - which promises to be a revolution in film-making technology - will turn out to be a a big, queasy, sugary, 3D nightmare. Along with a few damning facts about the film, they provide a very early review from an industry insider, whose comments are wonderfully frank, culimating in the quite magnificent line, "Of course there are very beautiful moments, with great editing/sound/art direction, but overall it's a horrible piece of shit."

I had a ticket to see a preview taster of this film a couple of months back but something seemed wrong about it even then. Would be nice to be proved wrong, but I think this film is going to be really really bad.

Here's the Gawker case for the prosecution.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

charlotte vere

I'm interested - and cautiously pleased - to hear that Charlotte Vere has been chosen as Brighton Pavilion's Conservative Party candidate to fight the general election. I'm pleased not because I intend to vote for her (I'm not a Tory voter, as regular readers will know), but because she seems, on first impressions, to be a pretty decent candidate with concerns that I think will resonate with people - she's worked alongside Zac Goldsmith or environmental issues and dedicated much of her working life to dealing with mental health issues (other people's, not her own).

She helped create Big White Wall, which is an online 'suppport network for those in emotional distress', and seems in that respect to the personification of the new, cuddly Tory which we are encouraged to believe exists. On the down side, she's a Londoner rather than a local candidate - but then aren't most of us in Brighton Londoners in the first instance? It often feels that way. And perhaps she just can't take any more of Boris as mayor? We could hardly condemn her for that...

I didn't, however, attend the (not so) Open Primary, last night, where she was nominated - and so beyond a quick scan of her biography, it's hard to know where she stands on key issues. Very peculiarly, she doesn't seem to have either a blog or a website (which makes you wonder how participants in the Open Primary were supposed to have found out what she believed in), although she is on Twitter, where she seems relatively normal. If I find out what she does believe in (which probably isn't as fanciful a notion as finding out what, say, David Cameron believes in), I shall surely keep you informed via this blog.

Most interestingly, we are now in a position where we have a geniunely open election in Brighton Pavilion, between three strong female candidates. At present, I - like a lot of people I know - haven't quite figured out who I'll vote for in the Spring - so I'm hopeful there'll be an intelligent, thoughtful debate fought locally - and that the best candidate wins.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

tristram; complete live set in mp3, brighton

Although I'd never heard of him before, Tristram Bawtree, who plays his beautiful, tender folk songs as Tristram, has a Brighton connection; he studied Painting here a few years back (and his paintings, which you can find if you google him, are rather nice - abstract but detailed, mural-like), so it's appropriate that I should discover him by chance here, rather than in his native London. His songs - although the videos below are in black and white - are similarly colourful - tender, imaginative meditations fleshed out with sumptuous orchestration. The six songs he played in support of Peggy Sue at the Freebutt last month were uniformly fantastic.

On the night, he arrives on stage looking thoughtful, slightly nervous. From the first note, though, I am hooked - both by his beautiful voice and wonderful way with words. His songs are funny, critical and very intelligent. He is sardonic for someone so young (“When I hear the word culture I pull out my wallet / and peel off a banknote or two”), playful (in Zombie Holocaust he muses that "I'd only waste my life, so better I use it well / to stop the monsters, from taking my loved one”) and he is ambitious, too – Isolde, the closing track, is inspired by a Wagner opera that he has not yet seen.

Musically, there is incredible richness in his soft, delicate folk. And where he seemed a touch uncertain arriving on stage, a natural ease and confidence is quickly evident. He's able to demonstrate nimble touches that endear him to the audience (such as the arch Abba reference in Place In The Sea), and writes intelligently - only occasionally slipping up (the same song's "well, we're all going to die someday" reveals him to be a man with too many Jeff Lewis records in his collection). I'm pretty sure, however, by the end of the first song, that I'm watching the best live performance from a new band or songwriter I've encountered in 2009 - or longer.

It's clearly early days for Tristram - his debut single isn't out 'til February - but on the evidence of this short, artful set, he is absolutely brimming with promise. I await that single with baited breath.

In the meantime, here is a complete recording of the set - good enough, I think, to demonstrate just how brilliant he is - and a couple of videos made by Dan (who came away just as convinced as me that we'll be hearing lots more from him soon).

live at The Freebutt, Brighton
Weds 4th November, 2009

(right click and 'save target as' to download)
1. Someone Told Me A Poem
2. Ballad Of A Stolen Bicycle
3. Zombie Holocaust
4. Rhyme or Reason
5. Place In The Sea
6. Isolde

Here's where you go to track down Tristram on Facebook and myspace. He's also playing a bunch of gigs over the next month or so. Not to go to at least one of them (assuming you live in, or can get to London) would be to really miss out.

17 Nov 2009 Love & Milk @ Jamboree w/Jack Cheshire, London
26 Nov 2009 @ Soapbox with Derek Meins, London
1 Dec 2009 The Allotment @ Betsy Trotwood w/Caitlin Rose, London
6 Dec 2009 Moonshine Jamboree Xmas Party @ The Slaughtered Lamb w/ Left With Pictures, Jake Bellows and more, London
15 Dec 2009 The Tamesis Dock w/Peggy Sue & Curly Hair, London

The single is out on February 15th on Oh! Inverted World records, and will feature Someone Told me a Poem, Ballad of a Stolen Bicycle, Me and James Dean and Zombie Holocaust. As soon as a link to pre-order it is available, I'll be posting it here.

Lastly, many thanks to Tristram and his lovely manager Anthony for giving me permission to post these tracks. Much appreciated. Thanks also to Brad over at Bradley's Almanac, who's been posting this sort of stuff for years and inspired me to start chronicling and posting live recordings of shows I go to. Following his lead, I recorded these songs with a (borrowed) MD player (thanks Dan) and a Sony ECM-719 mic. Hope you like them - any comments much appreciated.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

darren hayman

Just heard some awful news about Darren Hayman, who has been in a pretty serious altercation in Nottingham after he played there at the weekend. Sounds like he's just about OK, but it's an awful ordeal. Here's the full message up on the Hefner website:

Hello all,

Darren is still not allowed near his computer but I've read him all of your messages and he is completely overwhelmed and grateful for all ofyour love and best wishes. He is feeling very loved and supported.

The full story is, that he and David Shepherd were attacked and mugged whilst parking the car after Nottingham's show. Nothing to do with the gig, just wrong place at the wrong time. He was discharged from hospital last night and is now safely back in London. There should be no long
lasting damage, but he does have a linear fracture in his skull (this is the best kind apparently!) which will keep him fairly quiet for six weeks or so. He also has a head wound, a bit of bruising, and a very nasty headache. However they have prescribed a terrifying amount of pain killers to deal with this.

He has made huge improvements since the incident and I'm sure that it is only a matter of time before he wrestles this computer from me and lets you know how he's doing and what he's up to.

All we seem to have done for days is to say thank you to people for their kindness, sorry for the lack of eloquence but thank you again.

Love, Helen & Darren

Get well soon, Darren.

predictable nme

The NME has published its 50 Greatest Albums of the 2000s. It's such a boring, predictable list. Would any of my readers care to better it? I might give this some thought over the next few days. To make things easier, shall we say Top Ten, rather than 50, in the comments box below? Alright then.

Here's the NME list
1. The Strokes - Is This It
2. The Libertines - Up The Bracket
3. Primal Scream - xtrmntr
4. Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
5. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Fever To Tell
6. PJ Harvey - Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea
7. Arcade Fire - Funeral
8. Interpol - Turn On The Bright Lights
9. The Streets - Original Pirate Material
10. Radiohead - In Rainbows
11. At The Drive In - Relationship Of Command
12. LCD Soundsystem - The Sound Of Silver
13. The Shins - Wincing The Night Away
14. Radiohead - Kid A
15. Queens Of The Stone Age - Songs For The Deaf
16. The Streets - A Grand Don't Come For Free
17. Sufjan Stevens - Illinoise
18. The White Stripes - Elephant
19. The White Stripes - White Blood Cells
20. Blur - Think Tank
21. The Coral - The Coral
22. Jay-Z - The Blueprint
23. Klaxons - Myths Of The Near Future
24. The Libertines - The Libertines
25. Rapture - Echoes
26. Dizzee Rascal - Boy in Da Corner
27. Amy Winehouse - Back To Black
28. Johnny Cash - Man Comes Around
29. Super Furry Animals - Rings Around The World
30. Elbow - Asleep In The Back
31. Bright Eyes - I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning
32. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Show Your Bones
33. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
34. Grandaddy - The Sophtware Slump
35. Babyshambles - Down In Albion
36. Spirtualized - Let it Come Down
37. The Knife - Silent Shout
38. Bloc Party - Silent Alarm
39. Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles
40. Ryan Adams - Gold
41. Wild Beasts - Two Dancers
42. Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend
43. Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
44. Outkast - Loveboxxx/The Love Below
45. Avalanches - Since I Left You
46. Delgados - The Great Eastern
47. Brendan Benson - Lapalco
48. Walkmen - Bows and Arrows
49. Muse - Absolution
50. MIA - Arular

Monday, November 16, 2009

obama and the wisdom, or otherwise, of crowds

I'm interested in this piece by Michael Tomasky in today's Guardian, which looks into the incredible amount of opposition which Barack Obama faces in the US, and examines whether - or more accurately to what extent - the hostility he faces is rooted in racial prejudice.

It's a good article not only because Tomasky is even-handed and cautious about making accusations of racism (unlike, say, Glenn Beck and Rupert Murdoch) but also, mainly, because he is perceptive about the nature of crowds. He acknowledges that, person to person, many of Obama's most steadfast critics may not be racist. But having described the opposition he faces, Tomasky notes:

"This is the Obama-hating crowd. It's deeply conservative, and it's about 98% white. And the thing about crowds is that they develop a personality of their own that is not merely the sum of individual parts. A crowd is an organism that grows in its own way and tends to be led and excited by its extremes. It can mutate into being racist without many or even most of the individuals in it being so."
Good article - you can read the rest here.

leading up to tristram / folk music

Let me preface the next music post, which will concentrate on the best young musician I’ve encountered so far this year – Tristram - with the kind of weary complaint you’ll often hear from people who believe, rightly or wrongly, that they’re old enough to know better. The complaint is this: over my years of gig going (which, actually, I’ve been chronicling over here) I’ve seen enough scenes begin and end to have got pretty good at recognising the tipping point – where the joyful originality of the first wave of performers (who might decide to take as their starting ground the work of, say, The Kinks or the Pretty Things, Black Sabbath or Talking Heads) gives way to the clumsy, plodding fare of less talented followers; the second and third wave of artists who pick up a fashionable sound but wield it clumsily, missing the dynamic that made their immediate forebears effective.

The sound which has dominated indie rock in the UK and the US for the last few years is drawn – however unlikely this might have seemed five years ago - from folk (and, to a lesser extent, country) music; from Karen Dalton and Nick Drake through to The Band and John Fahey. And we’re now at a point where it is positively de rigour for every young band to have a xylophone and a ukulele, and to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Noah and the Whale, Jeffrey Lewis and Bon Iver by creating delicate, mournful and precise folk music.

There are literally dozens of musicians who do this terribly well. Too many. Take William Fitzsimmons, a hugely talented but underappreciated American songwriter whose new album contains a set of deeply personal, overwrought marvels, run through with a sorrowful beauty every bit as rich as Bon Iver’s. Or the likes of Fanfarlo or The Leisure Society, both of whom make lovely, homespun indie-folk which, for all their skill, may not be original enough to set them apart.

Others, meanwhile, do it really badly. There are a number of Brighton-based singer-songwriters, often to be found on ostensibly decent bills, whose crass, myopic takes on Dylan’s troubadour shtick are faintly agonising to listen to – the folk music equivalent of those awful, unimaginative bands – rhyming ‘treason’ with ‘reason’ - that briefly dominated the tail end of Britpop.

And then there are charming bands consisting of mere kids, who play far better than their tender years imply, and so unselfconsciously in the style of, say, Noah and the Whale, because folk music has been de rigour for most of their teenage lives.

Had I been 16 in 2009, I would doubtless be doing the same. But I was 16 in 1993, so I played in a grunge rock band. Three years later and it would have been different.

Scenes offer tremendous appeal to young musicians and music fans; they offer a warm, welcoming safety blanket and a spirit of mutual exchange and discovery. I’ve watched scenes from a distance (shoegaze, grunge), participated half-heartedly or over-enthusiastically in others (riot grrrl, britpop), and found something to love in nearly all of them. But every single one, in the end, turns to shit. The joy of discovering new music consists largely of finding beauty in unexpected places; the moment beauty – even genuine beauty – becomes predictable, it loses some of its shine. That day always comes.

In the meantime, however, the fact that it is possible to walk from one’s flat down to a local venue and discover, completely unexpectedly, someone as warm, wonderful and winning as Tristram, is a very lovely fact indeed. So, next music post: a complete recording of his live set – worth treasuring.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

jenga dog

Possibly I have too much time on my hands.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

crowns on the rats orchestra

For those who don't yet know them, Crowns On The Rats Orchestra - an odd, enormous, complex and tuneful many-headed beast from Brighton - are one of the most interesting bands I've seen for ages. Their songs are restless, imaginative and very beautiful; kind of fidgety, eloquent and celebratory. Their live shows are crowded and chaotic - but their musicianly instincts mean that everything stays magically focused. I like them a lot - and not just because my friend Eleanor is in the band. This is one of those situations where you think you'll have to lie and say how good a show was, and then discover THAT IT REALLY WAS. Ace.

Here's a video of the band that me and Dan made. I've got some mp3s which should, I hope, follow shortly, as might another video or two. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

exlovers, complete live set in mp3, brighton

I first saw Exlovers in the spring of this year, playing with Younghusband and Emmy The Great, and noted then that they were a band worth keeping an eye on. In many ways their influences evident that night - ranging from Postcard pop to shoegaze - suit my tastes exactly, but my conclusion then was ultimately cautious - they looked and sounded, I thought, a touch under-nourished, lacking authority and only sporadically hitting full throttle. I know now that I caught them early in their career, so with that in mind I went to see them at The Hope, in Brighton, a couple of weeks ago, wondering if they'd improved.

My god, they absolutely have. From the first note their sound was more forceful, evocative and compelling. The influence of My Bloody Valentine is increasingly evident, rushing through the tender, melodic pop and creating a kind of coursing, joyful reverberation, a clashing of air. I always felt that this heavily emotional, yearning sound was very physical. Displacement music. They don't (that often) create a racket, and in fact much of the set is delicate, recalling Elliot Smith (although I later find out the band are Lemonheads fans - no wonder I love them), but the way they move up the registers, gliding through different volumes, hints at an instinctiveness which masks expertise.

Pete, their singer, is charismatic, gangly and ever-so-slightly detached, simultaneously towering and effeminate - and as such inevitably draws comparisons with that other famous Peter - Doherty. Laurel, who played glockenspiel last time I saw the band, has shorn her hair and stands instrumentless for the duration, acting as a second vocalist. Men seem to find it hard to drag their gaze away from her and back to her bandmates. All of whom, meanwhile, give a whole-hearted, animated showing - their lead guitarist taking every opportunity to hook his guitar sideways and reach down for a mouthful of beer. It's a well-judged, noisy, beautiful set - and I'm very glad to say that I took the opportunity to record it.

What follows, then, is a complete live recording of the band's performance. Right click and 'save target as' to save each song individually, or click here to download a zipped up folder of all eight tracks (which saves me bandwidth, so it's the preferred option - but it's up to you).

Eagle-eyed readers will spot there's a songs I don't know the name of. If you can help me fill in the blank it'd be much appreciated.

live at the Hope, Brighton
24th October 2009

1. A Moment That Keeps Repeating
2. Photobooth
3. You Forget So Easily
4. In The Woods With The Werewolf
5. Just A Silhouette
6. Unknown Title #2
7. You're So Quiet
8. Weightless

Here's a clip of the band playing 'You're So Quiet' on the same night - video by Dan (whose Youtube channel is here) and audio by me.

Some links:
- Exlovers on Myspace, on Facebook, and on Twitter.
- Read the lovely Emmy The Great interviewing the band, for Drowned in Sound.
- An Exlovers interview at Music Mule
- Another recent interview, courtesy of Comfort Comes.
- Exlovers interviewed for Female First
- And Thom Morgan interviews the band for There Goes The Fear.

And a bunch of reviews of 'You Forget So Easily':
(Sounds XP) (AtSounds) (Sound Junkie) (Noize) (Call Upon The Author) (TGTF) (Idiomag) (Glasswerk) (Breaking More Waves)

Forthcoming gigs
4th Nov 2009 Bodega, Nottingham
5th Nov 2009 Hare and Hounds, Birmingham
6th Nov 2009 Portland Arms, Cambridge
14th Nov 2009 Luminaire, London
29th Nov 2009 Lock Tavern, Camden, London

You Forget So Easily, 14 September 2009
Photobooth / Weightless 7", 06 April 2009
Just a Silhouette 7", 08 December 2008

Buy Exlovers records here, at Rough Trade.

Lastly - many thanks to the band and their manager Simon for giving me permission to post these tracks. Much appreciated. Thanks also to Brad over at Bradley's Almanac, who's been posting this sort of stuff for years and inspired me to start chronicling and posting live recordings of shows I go to. Following his lead, I recorded these songs with a (borrowed) MD player (thanks Dan) and a Sony ECM-719 mic. Hope you like them - any comments much appreciated.

trains and tolerance

I've had bad luck with train companions lately. It's usually the case that, when someone sits in the carriage and cranks their headphones up to brain-damage levels, their thoughtlessness about the noise pollution is matched by a corresponding surliness, bordering on the suggestion of violence. Having suffered just such a companion last night - I boiled in silence - this morning I sat myself down and hoped for a peaceful commute.

At Hove, the noise pollutant boarded. I'd placed my bag, optimistically, on the empty seat beside me but readied myself to move it once I saw how many people were boarding the train. When someone arrived beside me I glanced up to spot a teenager on the verge of tipping over; hurrying to grab my seat and overloaded with a bag, a paper, a mirror, a drink, and several tubes containing glosses, creams and ointments. They tipped onto me as she sat down.

I retrieved them and held them out as the girl flopped into the seat, grinning apologetically. She leant forward, loosed her hair out of her pony tail and shook it, whipping my face as she did with a clutch of curls. Sorry, sorry, sorry. Seated at last, she poured her various belongings onto the fold down table, and began going through her bag, emptying further clutter - crisp wrappers, a mobile telephone - onto her lap. She turned and grinned again, conscious how disorganised she looked. From the bag she retrieved an iPod nano. I felt a familiar sense of dread.

The music, when it came, was, I think, Leona Lewis. It was cripplingly loud. Worthing, I thought. She'll get off at Worthing. She didn't.

What was odd, however, was that haphazard, clumsy, friendly way she carried herself. The big, apologetic smile, her inability to impose order over her spilling belongings, I found strangely endearing. In the end, having been gifted a noise-polluter to whom I wouldn't have felt self-conscious about asking to turn down the volume - I felt too fond of her to do so. Which is not to say that her music didn't annoy the hell out of me. It only goes to show I'm too tolerant.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

wave pictures at the garage, islington

Although my birthday was a month ago, I had a lovely second pass at being spoiled this weekend, when Anne-So and Rich took me not only for a delicious curry in London but also to see the final date on the Wave Pictures current Uk tour, at the Garage in Islington.

Of course, it's as ridiculous to talk of touring schedules with the Wave Pics as it is to talk of album release cycles. Since I first stumbled, delighted, upon them at the End Of The Road three years ago, it's been apparent that - seemingly contrary to the instincts of many of their contemporaries - they do most what they love most; writing and playing. So there have been two conventional albums in quick session plus a bunch of singles and EPs and then a slew of hastily recorded 'unofficial' LPs, often recorded with a cast of like-minded accomplices which includes the Berlin-based Andre Hermann Dune (now known as Stanley Brinks) and Clemence Freschard, both of whom appear with the band tonight in what seems to be a genuine and touching display of open collaboration.

In case you're not quite up to speed, here's a quick précis. The Wave Pictures are like no other band on earth - drawing on a set of influences which includes Sam Cooke, Jonathan Richman and early Dire Straits (and frequently sounding like a neat combination of all three) the band simultaneously straddle a relaxed, unfussy approach which yields thin, scruffy takes, shorn of overdubs, and a quite spectacular level of musicianship - David Tattersall's guitar playing is instinctive, spare and quite dazzling when he lets loose. Aesthetically, they couldn't be more comfortable in their own skin, transparently loving every minute of what they do. Just as notes come easy, Tattersall's yearning, kitchen-sink lyrics sound wonderfully unforced - and are similarly wonderful.

London clearly has a loyal Wave Pics fanbase, and whereas the last time I saw the band - in a sweaty basement in Brighton - they played a short, fast, exposive set, this weekend they played a longer and more varied, more celebratory collection of songs. The results were spellbinding.

The problem with amassing such a comprehensive and assured back catalogue in a very short period of time is that it's impossible to play everything, meaning that once again there is no room for classics like 'Long Island' or the beautiful 'If You Leave It Alone'; but we're amply rewarded with some absolute treats - a star turn on lead vocals (and a drum solo) from Jonny, some wonderful, mellow saxophone playing by Stanley Brinks, and a smattering of new songs, including a gorgeous one from Tattersall's new CD, sung sweetly by the exceedingly European Freschard:

"I saw your hair between the trees, I saw your hair
In the sunlight on the leaves, I saw you there
I saw the curve of your lips, I saw blue skies
I saw chipped toenails in the twigs, and your blue eyes".

Best of all was the song, presented above, which they played the one time I turned my camera on and trained it on the stage - a delicious, communal acapella take on 'Strawberry Cables', which saw Tattersall eke out exquisite melodies from the call and response harmonies of the original version. The crowd clapped and swooned at every turn - a crowd reacting joyfully to a band immersed in love for their craft, and preocuppied, as Tattersall's charming, reflective lyrics attest, with love itself.

Thanks thanks thanks to AS and Rich for a wonderful night. Hope the rest of you enjoy the video.