Tag Archives: Blue Moon

Indiepop All-Dayer, Blue Moon, Cambridge, 18 November 2017

I have been looking forward to this one for ages with 9 bands in the friendly and intimate environment of The Blue Moon, now with its lighting and sound system upgraded. I missed Emma Kupa and Rainbow Reservoir‘s set but as previously reviewed on this site I’m sure they didn’t disappoint. Arriving to see Faith Taylor who I last encountered jangly-guitaring in Chorusgirl, she was showing a complete other side with an acoustic, dreamy folk accompanied only by her own guitar, violin and occasional backing vocals. This gives her chance to show the full range of her beguiling voice, particularly on the gorgeous Astral Weeks vibe of the closing number ‘Soon’.

Baby Arms is the side project of Jen Doveton of Colour Me Wednesday and from the deliciously titled ‘Eviscerator’ (‘..I will pull the truth out of you and your guts will spill…’) these songs moved along very nicely, brought to life by her fine backing band. There is a reassuring uncluttered DIY feel to the set, and she has a great clear pop voice, shown off particularly well in the plaintive ‘Garden City’ and ‘A Sign’.
It was a hard act to follow, but Chrissy Barnacle is in a category of her own; telling unpredictable and involving stories of her native Glasgow over gentle acoustic guitar. In contrast Shande are a noisy bunch, plenty of raw energy in the fuzzy guitar, mixed down vocals and relentless drums, this trio went down very well with the committed (and sold out) audience.

After a break to recharge, anticipation was high for ‘DIY punk Witches’ Dream Nails and just how good were they? Sparkling presentation, politics, protest, interaction, excellent and loud sound quality and short, short songs; the pure punk ethic embodied for half an hour of musical bliss. ‘DIY’ and a song to describe the retrograde motion of planet Mercury and its influence on our lives were in the best bonkers spirit of the B-52s and the track about rising fascism in Europe was over as soon as its point was made after a few seconds. I loved it!

Personal Best have some very strong songs, opener ‘If You Meet Someone In Love – Wish Them Well’ is irresistibly catchy and with a wall of guitar, some neat instrumental nuances and strong vocals they are the complete package. The mighty anthem of tolerance ‘This Is What We Look Like’ is an impressive and thought-provoking achievement.

Stepping up effortlessly to the headline slot was the brilliant Chester trio Peaness seeming quite moved by the welcome and affection of the crowd, with the band genuinely surprised to realise that many in the audience were singing along with the lyrics. The songs are sparse and uncluttered with no indulgent extended instrumental passages; the shared vocals and all those little drum tricks – everything is in its rightful place. The sudden stops and glorious chorus in ‘Summer Song’, the fuzzy rhythm guitar and intertwining bass line in the environmental ‘Ugly Veg’, and the camouflaged political message of my favourite ‘Oh George’; all are moments to treasure. Three new tracks were included tonight then the frantic finale of ‘No-One’ – Peaness were the perfect end to another superbly curated showcase of infectious indie pop…

https://peanessband.bandcamp.com/
https://personalbest.bandcamp.com/
https://dreamnails.bandcamp.com/
https://allthingsschande.bandcamp.com/
https://chrissybarnacle.bandcamp.com/
https://babyarms.bandcamp.com/
https://faithtaylor.bandcamp.com/
http://www.rainbowreservoir.com/
https://emmakupa.wordpress.com/
https://www.facebook.com/CambridgeIndiepopAlldayer/

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Model Village, Blue Moon, Cambridge, 2 December 2016

Paul Goodwin (“Cambridge’s premier pedlar of melodic melancholia“) started the show at the Blue Moon, threading carefully constructed words across an amiable acoustic guitar. It was a similar set to when I saw him earlier this year at the Corner House, again it was reassuring but never too comfortable, nicely punctuated by personal anecdote.

It was the first visit to Cambridge by Owl and Mouse, a five sometimes four-piece London band fronted by the vocal talent of Hannah Botting from Brisbane. ‘Keep Your Eyes Open Wide’ is a strong opener, with a stately but simple keyboard line driving the song and underlining the plaintive voice. With an instrumental line-up of many possibilities (including ukulele and violin) they featured tracks from their 2015 album ‘Departures’ and unrecorded material too. It seemed a very short set, leaving a very genial and mellow feeling in the intimate surroundings of this welcoming venue.

Model Village released their ‘Healing Centre’ album just over a year ago, and they play many of the best tracks such as ‘Junction 30’ and ‘Time To Share’, (but I missed ‘Stop The Clocks’, a gorgeous waltzing ballad). With confident musicianship, including lots of neat guitar and bass twists and the matchless vocal prowess of Lily Somerville they are an impressive act. I especially like some of the jazz chords and stylings almost hidden away in some of the songs, successfully blended with the indie-pop jangly sounds, these contrasts reflecting the lyrical content which can be unexpected.

Three excellent performers and all for the princely sum of £4 (and advertised on a poster with a guinea pig on a skateboard??)

https://modelvillage.bandcamp.com/
http://owlandmousemusic.com/
http://www.paulgoodwin.com/

Moonstrips, Blue Moon , Cambridge, 19 November 2016

A free psychedelic rock spectacular to celebrate the release of the new album from Cambridge trio Moonstrips. Supporting band BansheeVa were noisy and relentlessly hypnotic, pulsing bass lines and power drumming with biting guitar and occasional vocals. Very appropriate to see the backdrop bubble projections and always good to hear a lengthy cover of ‘Interstellar Overdrive’, the definitive Pink Floyd consciousness-expanding opus. Heavy and spaced out.

Moonstrips had a sharp and addictive EP out earlier this year and they opened with two of the tracks; ‘How Do You Do?’ an insistent rocky riff with distant vocals dissolving into a noisy workout of echo and effects, a short-form song that crams a lot in. ‘543’ is a slice of pop reminiscent of 60s Who-ness with good hook phrases and a neat descending line driving through the whole piece. Heavier guitar eventually arrives on top for the finale.

I really enjoyed the newer tracks from the album ‘Glimpses’; the band are not afraid to allow time for the songs to develop, establishing mood and style with a variety of guitar effects at the fore. The twelve minute ‘Silver Screens’ closed the show; a psychedelic manifesto of epic proportion.

Mind-expanding stuff, live and loud in an intimate, packed venue, a perfect Saturday evening for Cambridge music fans?

https://moonstrips.bandcamp.com/

Indiepop All-Dayer, Blue Moon, Cambridge, 12 November 2016

Inspired by similar events around the UK, The Blue Moon pub and venue hosted the first all day festival of Indie pop for Cambridge. Unfortunately we missed the afternoon performances, just arriving to catch the end of the set by Suggested Friends, who were playing ‘jangly punkish’ songs about ‘regret and micro-aggressions’. They sounded good to me and ended their set with ‘I Don’t Wanna Be A Horcrux For Your Soul’, Harry Potter goes Indie for the first time (though Jarvis Cocker did play at the Hogwarts Ball..).

¡Ay Carmela! are a three-piece named after their singer (and a song sung in the Spanish Civil War) and make a splendid noise, with thundering drumming setting the pace on ‘Dog Tired’ and no let-up until they had played most of their recent LP ‘Working Weeks’.

I was very pleased to see Chorusgirl on their return to Cambridge, a year on from the release of their brilliant and highly recommended debut album. The sound was tight last time I saw them but now it is honed even more, the bass and drums feeding into the two guitars and of course the relaxed but so crucial vocals of song-writer Silvi Wersing. The songs are like intricately painted detailed pictures, the imagery in the lyrics shimmering above complex arrangements and sonic changes. Two new tracks were previewed, ahead of a new album in production. But while we wait, continue to enjoy the delights of ‘No Moon’, ‘Oh, To Be A Defector’ and the finale ‘This Town Kills’.

Top of the bill were Edinburgh quartet The Spook School, playing in Cambridge for the first time. I wasn’t able to stay for their set but listening to some of their tracks afterwards I’m sure they maintained the quality of the rest of the show. I look forward to All-Dayer 2017…

http://chorusgirl.co.uk/band/
https://thespookschool.com/

Psychic Lemon, Blue Moon, Cambridge, 2 Sept 2016

Billed as a ‘Psych Spectacular’ the Blue Moon continues to enhance its musical offering for the discerning music fans of Cambridge.
Opening the show was singer/songwriter Naomi Randall. Describing herself as “a middle-earth beatnik folk singer“, she played timeless songs accompanied by her own gentle acoustic guitar with subtle extra textures added from a semi-acoustic (wielded by the guitarist from Moonstrips). Lyrics about the changing of the seasons and wildlife with dark overtones when added to descending arpeggios and the beautiful clarity of her voice were an intoxicating brew. This was a good contrast to the louder sounds that followed…

DiG are a blast of space-rock glory, the two guitars, bass, drums and strong lead vocal keep pushing the sound to the limits. This is psychedelia to lose yourself in, self-penned tunes topped off with a great cover of ‘Waiting For The Man’, one of my favourite Velvet Underground songs.
Psychic Lemon have featured on this site before, it is always a pleasure to see them live. Since the release of their excellent debut CD they have lost a guitarist/vocalist so the sound has now evolved into sparser vocals and extended instrumentals with a remarkably full sound from the remaining trio. Luminous back projections reminiscent of the end of 2001 : A Space Odyssey add to the atmosphere. Songs from the album such as ‘Good Cop Bad Cop’ and the closing ‘Ticktok’ pound your senses to great effect, with little allowance for some of the quieter moments from the album.

It may never be possible to stage another sixties-style psychedelic “happening” in these cynical times but this was still a great night out…

http://psychiclemon.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/digpage.uk/
http://naomirandall.co.uk/

Model Village, Blue Moon, Cambridge, 13 November 2015

Good to see another show at The Blue Moon, lined with sofas and Christmas lights, it was like your lounge at home but with better entertainment and beer. It was to celebrate two bands releasing their albums on the same day, Cambridge favourites Model Village and first on stage London quartet Chorusgirl.

Silvia Wersing is the songwriter, singer and rhythm guitarist of this stunning indie pop band, sounding like a jangly version of the Cure, B-52s and Talking Heads with one of the sharpest bass sounds I have heard live for a while. Opening with ‘No Moon’ (‘ice and ammonia, never been lonelier’ ), the vocals skate over ultra-tight backing. That was good but then ‘Dream On, Baby Blue’ was even better, that bass again and a catchy chorus. More deft tracks from the album, then a bit of a change with their Velvet Underground style cover of Bill Callahan’s ‘Ex-Con’ and then a strong finish with the urgent riff and soaring chorus of ‘This Town Kills’.

The album is ‘Chorusgirl’, they sound even better live, highly recommended..

There seems to be a band in Cambridge filling every musical niche and it feels good to be invited into the melodic dreamy rock of Model Village. With a six-piece lineup featuring 2 guitars, bass, organ, electric ukelele and guest drummer, ‘Red Chair’ is a low key opener that immediately shows the flexibility of the collective. There are varied instrumental touches and the smooth vocals of main singer Lily Somerville, also well showcased in ‘Sunlight’, the first of the songs from the new album ‘Healing Centre’ (‘a name taken from one of Cambridge’s most joyless-looking buildings’). The vocal duelling and overlapping in ‘Back Together’ is another strength as is the Steely Dan jazz feel of ‘Family Restaurant’ and ‘Sorry’. ‘Time To Share’ ended the set, an insistent rhythmic figure through the song all the way to a noisy finish.

Available as vinyl, download and cassette(!), give it a listen, this excellent new album is a grower.

http://modelvillagethepopgroup.tumblr.com/
http://modelvillage.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/modelvillagers
http://chorusgirl.co.uk/

The Centimes, Blue Moon, Cambridge, 5 April 2014

The first band night at the recently refurbished Blue Moon, Norfolk Street, Cambridge. I have seen many performers at this venue in its previous incarnation and it is great news that the music has returned (and the beer has improved). It may be an idea to bring back a stage too…

Elephants and Castles from London (of course), two guitarists with varying styles and drums triggering other effects. They were confident, helped by good sound quality and affable engagement with the audience. Difficult to categorise, they played their own songs such as ‘Love on The Rocks’ about a forlorn affair and a jaunty cover of Electronic’s ‘Getting Away With It’ from 1989. The final song about the suicide of footballer Justin Fashanu was a challenging choice to end the set and brought the mood down just a bit….?

The Centimes, a three piece Cambridge-based band with drums, bass and a memorable turquoise 12-string electric guitar. This may automatically mean a sound reminiscent of The Byrds, but I heard Saint Etienne and Velvet Underground in there too, that’s a good combination. They rocked out on later songs but unfortunately the sound quality and mix was not great (no time for a soundcheck…) and the vocal subtleties were lost, which was a shame as the two female and one male voice combined well. The CD single (stylishly looking the same as vinyl?) ‘Local Pool/I’m Fine’ showcases the voices to good effect. A band to see again I think…

http://www.thecentimes.com
http://www.facebook.com/ElephantsAndCastles