Tag Archives: indie pop

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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Indiepop Alldayer, Firebug, Leicester, 11 March 2017

The upstairs rooms at the Firebug bar in Leicester were an ideal venue for an excellent line-up on a rainy Saturday. The 10p Mixes are a fun low-fi confection of observation and reminiscence, the strong voice of Danielle and guitar acrobatics of Will welcome you readily into their beguiling world.

Rainbow Reservoir from Oxford have a loud, rocky edge to their sound but leave plenty of room for some lyrical idiosyncrasies such as their final song ‘Brenda’, about the Queen(!). It was half an hour of top-quality power pop.

I am an admirer (see review) of Wolf Girl’s album ‘We Tried’ and it was good to hear some of it live at last, as well as many new tracks. Wolf Girl have a great rapport with the audience and their infectious summery sound such as on ‘Deep Sea Diver’ belies their ability to unravel the complications of everyday events and oddities in their words.

Peaness are a poptastic trio from Chester, and we were very pleased they had made the journey down! The catchy songs with their multiple hooks and harmonies were played with warmth and razor-sharp style. ‘Oh George’ (…you broke my heart…) was a standout song, with some neat drumming and great chorus but actually the whole set was unmissable.

After a break we were treated to a set from indiepop local heroes Po!, recognised by John Peel with a session in 1994 and embarking on a comeback. Singer/songwriter Ruth Miller has an enviable back catalogue to draw on, vignettes of small events from a unique perspective such as ‘I Took My Head On A Date’, ‘Bus Shelter’ and the jauntier gem ‘Sunday Never Comes Around’. The miniscule ticket price of £8 had been superb value so far, and still three acts to come…

This was the third time I had seen Chorusgirl and they don’t disappoint. The strong songs benefitted from a fairly beefy sound mix, especially on the incisive bass. Singer/songwriter/guitarist Silvi was on top form, leading the band to new heights musically, especially on ‘Shivers’ when some frantic pogoing threatened to deliver the audience into the bar below… They are about to record a second album, with some promising tracks previewed in this striking performance.

Cowtown avoid many musical clichés with frenetic drumming and guitar, synthesiser bass and an incredibly full sound, showcasing short songs and you never know where they are going next. Their nearly-controlled anarchy is fully evident on new album ‘Paranormal Romance’ and they featured many of its tracks (I think?!) including 36 seconds of ‘Captain Planet'(did they play this twice?) and the crazy logic of ‘Motivational Speaker’. Rewarding and exhausting and strangely addictive!

The final act was Indie royalty Pete Astor, a calming and commanding presence with a subtle backing band to make the most of his carefully considered lyrics and unhurried tunes. He is a class act indeed, his career spanning many years and revitalised by the 2016 album ‘Spilt Milk’.

It was the perfect end to a great mini-festival with excellent music, sound quality, company, venue, beer, organisation…I look forward to next year already!

http://peteastor.com/
http://cowtown.bandcamp.com/
http://chorusgirl.co.uk/
http://peanessband.bandcamp.com/
http://ruthpo.blogspot.co.uk/
http://www.wearewolfgirl.co.uk/
http://www.rainbowreservoir.com/
http://the10pmixes.bandcamp.com/