Tracks Monkeys With Lasers

The Joy Formidable @ The Flowerpot – 10/02
February 12, 2010, 4:15 pm
Filed under: gigs | Tags: , , ,

Belatedly, this was the first gig of the year for myself and what better place to go for it than the familiar surroundings of the Flowerpot in Camden.

The Joy Formidable are a band that have always managed to elude me whenever they’ve played in London before and they were a band I’ve been managing to try and catch for a little while as I quite enjoyed their debut album from last year (which managed to chart in the respectable position of #13 in my 20 favourite albums of 2009). In the end, it was a slightly spur of the moment decision to go along, only deciding that afternoon to go along.

On arrival I was a little surprised that the Flowerpot, by their own admission, had broken their own ‘one-band-a-night’ rule and that there were to actually be two acts performing that night. As such, the openers for the night were the Aussie four piece Expatriate, a band that I hadn’t previously heard of.

I was pleasantly surprised with these guys as they had quite a few catchy tracks that progressed nicely with a bit of a mainstream indie rock sound mixed with the occassional dancey/electronic feel to it which worked pretty well. Sadly, not knowing any song names, it’s a bit hard to talk about their set in too much detail but their final song was, for me, the best of the lot. They had a real solid sound and Ben King made a pretty decent frontman for the four of them (and occassionally for the five of them with a friend form the crowd joining them on stage for a couple of numbers).

Check out their myspaz and pages to hear some of their stuff.

After that came the headline act of the night and by now the Flowerpot had begun to reach what looked like full capacity. This wasn’t a problem for me though and a spot down the front was soon acquired.

One of the first things I noticed about the band was the distinct lack of synths or keyboards on stage. This surprised me a little bit as I always felt that electro sound was fairly prominent on their record. In the end, it turned out the these duties belonged to a laptop at the back of the stage. The other think I’d never realised about the band was that it was only a threesome and so Fitzy Bryan take up both guitar and vocal duties.

Anyhoo, it wasn’t long before they took to the stage to begin and kicked off their set with the album opener “The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade” which set the tone for the rest of their set with the tempo and quite heavy sound which surprised me as well. The whole set leant a lot more to the rock side of the album than the electro/pop sound which I hadn’t been expecting but it gave the whole show a lot more energy than it might otherwise have.

The rest of their set consisted of a number of songs off the album, with tracks like “Cradle” sounding as good, if not better, live than on the record, with the crowd singing along at various stages. Particular mention has to go to the group of 40 year old blokes in the middle of the crowd who were singing the loudest and dancing the most to the band. On top of this, there were a few songs I didn’t immediately recognise (and didn’t recognise from the glimpse of the setlist I saw) so there were, potentially some new songs thrown in too which worked alongside the album material really well (this is backed up by the fact the band are actually in the midst of mixing the second album so the new material was definitely there to be played).

Overall, I was really impressed with the band; the energy on stage was really good, then music was nice and tight and Fitzy was a great lead for the band with her vocals standing out really well and her (slightly creepy) staring out into the crowd. The sound levels were really good as well so the sound was spot on; I could even make out the bass clearly which doesn’t happen all that often!

Not a bad start for this year in gigs at all.

The Joy Formidable – Cradle (live)

Kitty, Daisy & Lewis @ The Flowerpot – 02/07
July 6, 2009, 12:25 am
Filed under: gigs, music | Tags: , ,

Another day, another Flowerpot gig. I’d not heard of this group before but they came highly recommended so I went along with no idea of what to expect, apart from the fact that they were an old school ‘rockabilly’ band.

Kitty, Daisy and Lewis, themselves, are all siblings aged 16-21 and live fairly localy, coming from Kentish Town and last year released their self titled album, which they recorded in their own front room.

With all this in mind, I headed to The Flowerpot which turned out to have a good crowd of locals, regulars and the odd teddyboy. After a few drinks, the band finally took to the stage in full ’50s gear, accompanied by their dad on backing guitar and their mum on the double bass.

The band themselves were pretty special with their ’50s rock and roll sound that got just about everyone in the venue dancing in what little room was available. What they played was nothing new, obviously, but they played it with such energy, it was impossible not to enjoy it. The three main band members were also constantly swapping instruments, giving each song a slightly different feel; between the three of them, they covered vocals, guitars, drums, harmonicas, pianos, keyboards, ukeleles, banjos and xylophones.

There were a few problems with sound levels for them but that was no surprise with the amount of instruments they were switching between. On top of all the instruments they played, they were also joined on stage by Eddie ‘Tan Tan’ Thornton on trumpet.

Despite the overwhelming heat, it was a great night and it’s incredible to think how young the three of them are. Their set also seemed to go on and on as the crowd loved it so much; I’m sure they played about 4 encores! Best of luck to them on tour this summer as they support Coldplay!

Mean Son Of A Gun (live)

I Got My Mojo Working (live)

Frank Turner Videoshoot @ The Flowerpot – 26/06
June 29, 2009, 8:16 pm
Filed under: gigs, music | Tags: , ,

A short review for a short set (but plenty of pics).

Having seen Frank at the Flowerpot less than two months ago, he returned as part of the making of the video for the upcoming single “The Road”. The idea behind the video was to do 24 gigs in 24 hours, visting fans’ houses all across London before ending up at The Flowerpot which is where I caught up with him (damn university getting in the way of other shows).

Frank was understandably knackered by the time he get there, and a bit merry as well it has to be said, but that didn’t stop him rattling through an hour long set though, playing a load of his old songs and a couple of new ones for good measure. This included a special version of “Dan’s Song” with Evan taking harmonica duties; the first time he’d done so and in front of a slightly smaller audience than he’ll be performing in front of on Frank’s American tour with The Offspring!

There was also a brief interlude during the set for the videoshoot with the crowd singing the chorus for the track and also singing along for the final part as well. You never know, I might just make it in!

It was a great little set that was followed with drinks all round. And it was this gig that finally made me realise why I enjoy his shows so much; the music’s always great but the crowd are also brilliant too with everyone being such cool people.. hopefully see some familiar faces at his next show!

Heartless Bastard Motherfucker (live at the Flowerpot) – WITH ADDED BANTER!

It shouldn’t be forgotten that Frank wasn’t actually the main act of the night; that honour went to Klezma Villanova, an unusal indie-rolk-folk-ska band. Sadly, I didn’t get any pics/audio (damn camera battery) but they were a great laugh and played their tunes were good fun that got a number of us dancing/skanking along. Their bass guitarist, in particular, was very very good. Well worth listening to/seeing if you get the chance.

Frank Turner @ The Flowerpot – 06/05
May 8, 2009, 6:51 pm
Filed under: gigs, music | Tags: , ,

An artist that should be no stranger to followers of the blog, I got another chance to see Frank play another (free!) gig the other night at the new Kentish Town/Camden venue the Flowerpot.

Run and owned by the now deceased Nambucca, the Flowerpot opened it’s doors for the first time just under a week ago. They put on free, live music every night with just one artist playing each night and a DJ set beforehand. So having heard murmurs on the interweb and through various sources that Frank was playing on this date, I headed down bright and early to ensureĀ  I got in as the venue holds a mere 200 people.

It’s fair to say I got there a bit prematurely at 6 o’ clock but I was taking no chances! So after a few hours drinking and a long stand, the set finally started and I was in prime location of the front row, dead centre.

By the time he came on, the venue had packed out (or seemed to have done.. I couldn’t quite see from where I was) and the atmosphere was something special. As before, he came bounding onto the stage with a borrowed guitar, gave us a little welcome and then launched straight into “I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous” with the whole crowd singing along.

That set the night off perfectly and he played a great set featuring a couple of new songs (“Try This At Home”, which I’d heard previously, “Dan’s Song”, with Frank’s friend and fellow artist Beans On Toast playing the harmonica, and “Sunday Night”) which were both great and went down well. But he knew the score and knew that as nice as it is to get to hear new material, you can’t beat the classics.

The set consisted of a lot of tracks off both albums with a lot more off “Sleep Is For The Week” than the last time I saw him which was great. Songs off the old album included “Worse Things Happen At Sea” and “Back In The Day” which I hadn’t heard live before. Off “Love, Ire & Song” we were treated to an amazing rendition of the title track, along with “Substitute”, “Long Live The Queen” and “St Christopher Is Coming Home”.

We also got to hear possibly the shortest rendition of “Jet Lag” as Frank forgot the lyrics once he got to the third line. But no fear, after a bit of banter from the crowd, he just launched straight on with the rest of the set. The setlist was entirely done as he felt on the night so getting to hear one of my favourite songs, and one not played very often, in “Heartless Bastard Mother Fucker” was one of the highlights for me as was “Photosynthesis” which is easily one of the best songs live.

So after almost an hour and a half of jumping around and singing at the top of my voice along with the rest of the clearly excited audience, we got to the final track which, in almost obligatory fashion, was the brilliant “The Ballad Of Me And My Friends” with Frank actually singing none of the vocals. But that wasn’t the entire story as halfway into the first verse I got a little look of Frank and the next second was up on stage alongside him, and a few others who followed, and got to sing on stage with the man himself!

All in all, one of the best gigs I’ve been to seeing as it was such an intimate venue and everyone there seemed to love him as much as I do and getting to get on stage with him was simply amazing. And I even got a photo and a hug with the man himself as well!

The smile still hasn’t left my face from that night..

I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous – live at the Flowerpot

Worse Things Happen At Sea – live at the Flowerpot

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