Monday, 15 February 2010

Goliath/The Bad Joke That Ended Well/The Scarlet

@ Louisiana 10.02.10

Popped into the Loui' last Wednesday with a hankering for a good chunk of live new music. A mate of a mate was taking to the stage, so after a pleasant pint of Gaymer's Pear, it was upstairs to catch soulful three-piece The Scarlet (previously known as Shades of Autumn).

Two lovely ladies and a gent on acoustic guitar made a very pretty sound - all soulful harmonies and gentle love stories in most songs, including a wicked cover of Paramore's Ignorance. Lead vocalist Sara Lynn has a strong, crystal clear voice with pop and r&b influences, and coupled with nice guitar work from Olly Curtis, the songs gained an emotional fragility that stopped them from being too polished (my usual problem with slick, over-produced chart fillers, no offence Mariah.)

The set could have done with a little more dynamism, particularly as Olly and supporting vocalist Liv Baxter remained seated throughout, making the whole performance a bit static. All three are talented, but it almost felt like a vehicle for Sarah's vocal talent than a comfortable, unified band.

Next up, The Bad Joke That Ended Well. A tongue-twister of a name, but some really interesting music.

This folky foursome were quite shy, letting their banjos, accordions, harmonicas and the rest do the talking. Hiding behind beanies and beards, their sweet mix of Americana-tinged railroad noisiness was more than enough to get the soul soaring.

Looking a bit like the love-children of Devendra Banhart and Steve Zissou, this band were drawing from a whole range of influences. Most songs began simply with a low, gravelly vocal and one bass drum, and built up into all-encompassing layers of lovely, stompy sound.

What with the folk renaissance that's taking place at the moment with bands like Beirut, Noah and The Whale and Mumford and Sons, T.B.J.T.E.W should, hopefully, be set for big things over the next year. Having said that, I hope they aren't just lumped into the same category, as they're making music that's original enough to be considered in its own right.

Last up were Goliath (below), whose slow, guitar-driven atmospheric set put me in mind of The Goo Goo Dolls.

They were trying to build up deft sonic layers into a gradual crescendo, but it just left a bit of a sour taste. Each song began to drag, and the set was early-'90s-rock predictable. They could have been playing the Cold Feet soundtrack. Half the band wore 'cool' matching white shirts and black ties, and their myspace smacks of a wannabe James Bond convention.

They weren't terrible, but the lack of onstage charisma and lyrical drippy-ness really turned me off.
Goo Goo Dolls fans may appreciate, though.

More music coming soon! x

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