Sunday, 18 January 2009

The Ballet / Help Stamp Out Loneliness / Pocketbooks – 9 January 2008, The Luminaire

A sold-out How Does It Feel To Be Loved night is our first gig of the year, cram-packed and full of friendly and really quite drunken faces (no new year de-toxes round here). London indiepop’s favourite sons (and daughter) Pocketbooks kick things off with what turns out to be the most enjoyable (for me) set of the night, lighting up the chilly January air with their heart-gladdening pop. Every time I see Pocketbooks, I’m always surprised at how fab they are – you’d think I’d have got used to it by now, but their slip-sliding melodies still catch me unawares whisking me along in their joyful, jangling rush. Happily, a lot of the crowd feels the same, joining in on cue with finger-clicks and handclaps. One regular indie-popper dances gleefully at the front to every song. Surely he should be taken on as Pocketbooks’ very own Bez?

Help Stamp Out Loneliness take to the stage to the sound of the tune that their band is named after – being sung by, er, Nancy Sinatra maybe? Not sure, wasn’t paying much attention. It’s a nice touch, anyways, and my attention soon gets taken up by interestingly named HSOL singer D. Lucille Campbell. She’s an arresting front-woman with catwalk figure, stage presence and cutglass cheekbones. The fashion correspondent from Sounds XP is a little vexed by the singer’s choice of frock. It is certainly very gold and shiny. But Campbell wears it with aplomb. And short dark hair. This looks good as she is flanked by matching long-haired blonde girls playing keyboards. HSOL have a pleasing symmetry if nothing else. Luckily, they do have something else in the shape of catchy, cheer-uppy, get-dancey tunes that shimmy along powered by big hits of Blondie-style sparkly pop. Campbell’s voice is deep and smoky and kind of Nico-esque (though without the fog-horn element that might imply), a timbre which sits oddly with the frisky upbeat songs. In the background two ex-Language Of Flowers johnnies get on with the guitar business as the drummer grins and sings – he’s having a fab time. Good. An odd combo, but in an intriguing stick-in-your-head way.

Last ups are The Ballet, three ‘sissypop’ New Yorkers playing rinky-dink glitchy, strummy pop songs that, despite the charm of singer Greg, slip effortlessly in one of my ears and out of the other as the glitterball spins and most everyone else in the audience has a high old time. Oh dear!


mawders said...

Yes I am the fashion correspondent from Sounds XP and I will not tolerate shoddy schmutter!

Good day to you, sir!

Er, madam.

Kitten Painting said...

Sir! I put it to you that your review is a whitewash, 'one quite stunning in a short gold lame dress' indeed!

Help Stamp Out Loneliness said...

I am D Lucille! Ha ha. I love every word uttered on this page xxx.