Chickfactor: For the Love of Pop!, Part 1: The Pastels, The Aislers Set, Would-Be-Goods and Amor de Dias at Bush Hall, London, 17th November
[Going through this piece prior to posting, a week and a few more spins of Eventyr later, I’m a bit uncomfortable with the paragraph above. It is starting to seem very good indeed, and ‘Temporary Best Friend’ – which they played – a solid gold pop classic. Much more listening definitely needed.]
The Aislers Set were downright incredible. All Californian sunshine, thought Chris, compared to a certain depressive quality on record. There is a kind of sullen distance to them, which you can certainly get over (it took me a while at the time – it was Alistair Fitchett’s raving on Tangents and elsewhere that made me make the effort, I think). Then again, by ‘sullen distance’ maybe I mean ‘attitude’, maybe I mean they’re not marketing themselves. Whatever, that distance evaporates in their presence, literally and sonically. Amy looks tiny behind her huge 12-string guitar, hair short-ish but long and curly enough to mostly obscure her eyes, and she has a fast, nervous, slightly geeky way of talking. There were more of them than I’d expected – five, six? Including a trumpet player. And a happy looking bassist, who would rush to the assistance of Lupe’s fallen guitar during Pipas’ set on the following day. The band tore into their catalogue with vicious abandon, almost galvanizing an audience not in the first flush of youth into a mosh pit. Songs? ‘Emotional Levy’, ‘Catherine Says’, ‘The Red Door’, the one the guitarist sings about walking lost in the city... Actually, that’s a recurring theme, the one I mean is ‘The Lonely Side of Town’. The sudden shifts in rhythm carried a weight and a punch I’d never heard in them before, the drummer was whip-cracking sharp. It was a blast, a real triumph, I haven’t enjoyed a band that much in ages. The crowd was rapt, too, which helped.
Photos, as before, from Chris S.’s Chickfactor 20 set. None of The Aislers Set, curiously, but there are some great videos of their set (and many others’) on anorakhighst’s YouTube channel, as Tweeted / Facebook-ed by Chickfactor themselves over the last week.