Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Lodger & Water Wolves, Mono, Glasgow, 20th April

Being by my reckoning the fifth of Brogues’ ‘Foolin’ Around’ gigs, and the first since this all-conquering Pastels / Tenniscoats show. The first, too, Chris noticed, not to be held on a Thursday. ‘How did you manage to forget which week one of them was in and still remember the day?’ I wondered, but he was too pleased with his new painting of Freddie Mercury from Mono’s Project Ability exhibition to mind much. Ooh, Project Ability have a Flickr page, I didn’t know that. We wondered, anyway, whether the day of the week was what had kept the audience numbers down: there was plenty of low key atmos, and those who were there were appreciative, but – you could’ve tried a bit harder, Glasgow.

Especially as what you missed was top notch. Having narrowly missed Water Wolves supporting Real Estate in January (seat... or support band?), it was good to have the opportunity to catch up. Brogues has compared their guitar lines to the Go-Betweens, and listening to their MySpace songs I do agree (do you know that early Robert song ‘Hope’?), but in the flesh they were far more on the wavelength of The Clean, with the fluidity of the sound, the reluctance to change chords, the easy-going frailty. The two guitars took turns at being the bright, trebly one, and the drummer in his tank top looked like an extra in a Philip Larkin documentary. Maybe this kind of thing works best live, but I wouldn’t discount the possibility of a magic all the Wolves’ own. A girl at the front shouted out something about ‘I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend’, and I couldn’t work out if it was because the previous song used the same chords or because the following one stole some of the lyrics. But nothing could be further from the Ramones: this was un-regimented, de-regulated, ramshackle as a sparkler.

Not so The Lodger, who are a highly organised bunch. The second bearded singer of the evening looked much more like a morning person, with his Green Flash trainers and lightening fast guitar arm. He wouldn’t make a great substitute for Ivor Novello in the film from which (I presume) his band took their name – too open, too honest for that ambiguous character. To begin with, on stage as on record, The Lodger can come across as plain: a whirlwind of activity neatly tidied away into a teacup. But then you tune in. Their appeal is not in the surface of the sound but in its drive and urgency. Especially thrilling are the lurches into disco – particularly on set closer ‘The Good Old Days’, a great, great single which should come with umpteen extended 12” mixes. Other attempts to deepen their sound are in evidence: Ben introduced one song from the new LP by saying that really it is stuffed full of saxophones, but that the logistics of getting the extra musicians into the band’s Vauxhall Corsa all the way to Glasgow meant that we would have to imagine them. They are doing the full orchestrated version in Leeds soon. ‘Let Her Go’ was deployed at the set’s mid-point, a ball of energy oddly reminiscent of Subway Sect’s lethargic ‘Turn Your Back On Everyone’. ‘Many Thanks For Your Honest Opinion’ – ‘one of the first songs I ever wrote’ – was more fiery still. A. was even reminded of Passion Star, for the tender hearted self possession. That is a compliment indeed. The Lodger kicked up a storm.

No comments:

Blog Archive