Sunday, 15 May 2011

Tender Trap / The Garden City Projects Band – 30 April 2011, Filthy McNastys

My Autumn Almanac, a night put on by The Garden City Projects Band, always has excellent fliers. I am easily won over by a tasty graphic, as I am by a night promising good bands playing in a friendly pub, but somehow I keep missing My Autumn Almanac happenings – they’re rather below the radar, so I’m mighty pleased tonight’s outing at Filthy McNasty’s has come to my attention.

The barman at Filthy McNastys has been meaning to try out the new Strawberry and Lime flavour Kopparberg cider. Tonight he gets his chance when we order a bottle each and he helps himself to a wee taster, ‘You don’t mind if I try some do you?’ Unfortunately, he declares it delicious and decides he may have a new alcoholic obsession on its way. As we’re engaging in this impromptu cider tasting, Tender Trap are soundchecking in the other room. They do a song with a bassline that is exactly ‘Gimme Some Lovin’ which makes us snigger. It isn’t ‘Gimme Some Lovin’ though, later when we hear it all properly we find it’s a stampy, groovy new Tender Trap song, one of a few unleashed tonight.

The band are having to play in a slightly quieter, less fuzzed up mode, but they still make a glorious bounce off the walls shake your imaginary tambourine buzzpop noise. During ‘2 to the N’ the momentum of the song builds into a shining wall of blissful sound and my head goes ‘Wooh!’ and almost bursts like a pop bubble. Another new song is written from the point of view of the boy (or girl or transgender person as Amelia points out for equality purposes) in ‘Train From Kansas City’ - a brilliantly obvious idea for a pop song, as all the best ideas usually are.

Emily of Betty and The Werewolves has taken over from Elizabeth Allo Darlin’ on guitar, adding a gleeful smiley energy, and, along with stand up drummer Katrina, some heart-whizzing scuffed up girl group harmonies.

As ever the band are endearingly entertaining, Amelia tells us she once played in a band with Paddy, The Garden City Projects Band drummer – when they were at school. Imagine!

The Garden City Projects Band are beatnik suburbia new town modernists with hairy leanings who purvey bright folk-bossa-pop with irresistible tunes and lashings of mandolin. A sound not a million miles from The Memory Band’s lush clockwork bucolia. In their words The GCPB play ‘rural sounds for the city’, and their mix of song titles suggests this merging of styles; ‘Winter Solstice Morning’ versus ‘With Love From The Stafford Cripps Estate’ (my fave). After a set glinting with hints of a brighter world, the band close with sway-along stormer ‘Hey Myfanwy’ and we wake from floating on folky tributaries of tune to find ourselves in Central London, and not at The Eel’s Foot Inn circa 1968.

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