I’d rather just not write anything than diss an act in these postings but I just can’t help comparing 2 gigs I’ve been at over the last few days. I’ll not mention any names in the case of the least favoured occasion but a little applied research will uncover the full details should you wish to fill in the blanks.
On Saturday I attended the concert given by a nationally acclaimed folk singer and their band in one of Brighton’s foremost venues. The person in question has a fine voice and the band consists of very well accomplished instrumentalists. However, the concert never really lifted off as far as I was concerned. The songs were basically very routinely presented. The audience was never particularly well engaged except for being mildly berated for not enthusiastically joining in a few choruses of rather indifferent carols sung to unfamiliar tunes. The band never looked as if it was really interacting or even having a good time – smiles between them were quite rare. The £15 entrance fee was somewhat begrudged by this particular punter.
On Monday, I am happy to say, the story was completely different. For £8, I saw 3 excellent acts who gave their all and threw a free CD into the bargain. And what a bargain it was! Admittedly, they were all local acts so didn’t have to cover expensive travel costs from Notlob or wherever, but I imagine they pocketed very little between them compared with the other lot who didn’t earn their keep two days prior.
Let’s forget Saturday and concentrate on Monday. The venue was The Komedia in Gardener Street, Brighton and first up was The Muel. I’ve recently sung my praises of his excellent live performance at Joogleberry’s a couple of months ago so don’t really need to reiterate them. But I will mention that I think the month in the studio in Spain with Turning Green has probably given him time to polish the act somewhat – he was on truly top form. He’s also got a new toy – a Jamaican Steel Drum – and has composed a beautiful little ditty on it which I hope he’ll release soon – at least as a download on MySpace. Finally, I don’t think I lauded his new album ‘Portholes’ loud enough before, so let me here emphasise that you should consider purchasing it – it’ll make a nice stocking filler for a friend too.
At the same Joogleberry gig, Shona Foster strutted her stuff with her excellent band [don’t think they have a name as such – perhaps they need to consider this]. Once again she gave us an excellent performance of her particular brand of sleazy cabaret style music. She really is a talented performer with great stage presence and the Komedia video system added an extra dimension that made it even more exciting.
But, for me, the icing on the evening’s cake was provided brilliantly by 12 Stone Toddler . I’ve heard their songs on local radio several times but this was my first live experience of the group. And they were a revelation!
They are totally unpretentious showmen of the first order. And so difficult to categorise. Are they proggy punks, funky proggers, punky funkers, punky frogs or what….?? I don’t know – whatever they are… they’re great. If you like any type of music from the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah band through to Bad Manners, from Death Metal to Electronica, I’m sure 12 Stone Toddler will be right up your alley. They really are complete entertainers. Once again, the whole shenanigans were enhanced on the wonderful video screens with plenty of use of split screen and psychedelic colour enhancement. Before I go even more over the top with hyperbolic obsequy, I’ll just say, if you get the chance to see them, don’t pass it up. You’ll be silly if you do.