Sunday, 24 February 2008

My Sad Captains / Fireworks Night / Gold Sounds – 18th February 2008, Hoxton Bar & Grill

We have been feeling bad. Dark times upon us. So what better way to demolish the demons than to venture out into a fog furled February night for some Pop Times? And who better to provide those Pop Times than the ever-reliable Fortuna Pop! Yes.

We are dahn the Hoxton Bar and Grill, but don’t worry, there’s a very low level of Shoreditch twattery, it being Monday ‘n’ all, and out back where the gig action is the pop kids are gathered. First on, Gold Sounds (Pavement fans, perchance?) who gladden our hearts with a spot of glintily melodic Americana by way of Nottingham. They are charming and cheering and they’ve bought their embarrassing friends with them to dance over-enthusiastically wedding reception style at the front. Aww.

Fireworks Night (good name) are a whole ‘nother kettle of fish. Their sound wraps a velvety cloak (probably with curious symbols embroidered on it) of mystery and drama around proceedings, enveloping us in their Angela Carter ‘Nights At The Circus’ world. With a dual viola/violin attack providing shivers down spines, they create an atmosphere of Eastern European folk-tales and gypsy dances; of ‘30s Berlin hedonism, and sinister soul-searching nights. Excitingly, the first swaggering shanty of a song sees violin girl beating the crap out of a cardboard box with a wooden spoon. The introduction of the aforementioned string instruments to the sound creates a droning kosmiche element to the second song, which is mighty fine. The set dips slightly in the middle – it’s all too much, a little samey, plus the singer has distressing hair. Happily, the final song is a chilling epic balancing on the eerie lament of a musical saw, wailing and searing and exhilaratingly dark. Brrr.

And so to My Sad Captains, who, as a friend comments, have turned into the kind of band you’d pay to see. They race through their psunny psych popsongs, sending out honeyed good vibes. Around them flit the ghosts of The Go Betweens, The Flaming Lips, Grandaddy, even The Bodines here and there. My Sad Captains seem to have gorged themselves on all manner of jangley goodness from the pop music larder, chewed it up and spat it back out into the world (in a lovely way). Their pop is brimming, gloriously twisted, afloat on melodies that corkscrew merrily round your brain. Last year’s single ’Bad Decisions’ shines brightly, a familiar face in the crowd, addled by ‘ba ba bas’. Forthcoming White Heat released tracks, the happy heartbreak spiralling of ‘All Hat And No Plans’ and the twinkly, glowing, harmony heaven of ‘Great Expectations’ are new friends we know we’re going to love. Brightness shines. Yipee!

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