Thursday, 4 March 2010

Pop Festering 2: London Popfest Alldayer - 100 Club, 27 February 2010

After yesterday’s cinematic extravaganza, I listen to Dolly Mixture en route to this gig. I feel like I’m in a swinging 60s film, ‘Smashing Time’ maybe, as I skip off the no.10 bus and straight down the 100 Club stairs. I’ve been at work all day despite this weird illness making my head buzz and the floor undulate, and so like an old lady I’m very pleased to see there are seats going spare in the 100 Club. I feel too groggy to really pay much attention to the bands, but I really want to see Shrag, so I stick it out, drinking a pint of Guinness ‘cos it might fortify me (it just makes the dizziness weirder). I notice that there is a preponderance of Girls With Bobs here, even more so than usual at an indiepop gathering. My hair is looking especially bobbed ‘cos I went to Last Days of Decadence last week and wanted to look like I was out of the1920s, but I don’t know what everyone else’s excuse is.

From my biddy seat it seems that Standard Fare and Allo Darlin’ play mighty pop-full sets and I'm sorry I don't have the energy to pay proper attention. However, I am persuaded to totter to the front to peer at Dorotea who have briefly REFORMED for a one-off trip to play in the UK especially for Popfest.

People (including the ever excitable Horowitz chaps) are pretty happy about Dorotea playing and throw themselves about with glee. Hooray! I slither further back so that they can leap about without me keeling over in their midst. Dorotea are skillz, they basically just play choruses and thus their songs are v. short. Cool.
I always get a manic pop thrill when Shrag play and tonight is no different. I feel a whole lot better with their itching powder rhythms and scrabbly guitar noises crunching through me. Helen is on good form, squealing her vocals, words cribbed from a big book of scrawled lyrics. She pulls some good ‘mentally distracted’ stances does Helen, plucking at her clothes, pigeon-toed, collapsing to her knees with nary a care for laddered tights. Despite my grogginess, I think the band are the best I’ve seen them, even with this unfamiliar set. Their second album isn’t out for a while yet, but a lot of new songs get an airing (is there really one called ‘Tights in August’? if not there should be) and jokes are made about everything we’re hearing being unreleased. I’m looking forward to the new album, ‘cos these songs are immediately great, they’re more nuanced (Helen reads out a monologue throughout one – ooh get her!) than just being revved up and in your face – although there is that as well. I like Shrag’s sense of menace - the aggression in their sound is most invigorating, and by the time they’ve stomped through a captivating set (which includes a smudgy ‘Ghosts Before Breakfast’ and top pop hit ‘Rabbit Kids’) I’m glad I stuck around.

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