Betsey’s Autumn Fayre, Saturday 13th October, 2018

MELANIE XULU runs through a fantastic day at the Betsey…


Robert Chaney

Entering through the doors of The Betsey Trotwood, I was immediately consumed by a sea of double denim, paisley and velvet. Over the sound of happy chattering and clinking glasses, autumnal folk and psych sounds played through the speakers. Artificial autumn leaves and fairylights were draped across side boards and found hanging from chandeliers across the three flours of the characterful Victorian pub, all the more emphasising the Betsey’s rustic charm and folksy quirkiness.

The autumnal all-dayer boasted a mixture of folk, psychedelia, jingle-jangle and country from 3pm-1am, holding host to an impressive line-up of bands and musicians including Italian folkstress Emma Tricca, fresh from her European tour with legendary Pink Floyd founding member Nick Mason, Wolf People bassist Dan Davies, Swedish Grammy nominated alt-country singersongwriter Christian Kjellvander, Welsh multi-instrumentalist Gwenifer Raymond, as well as, San Antonio Kid, Bob Of The Tops, Robert Chaney, The BV’s, and of course, cosmic country quintet, The Hanging Stars.

Gwenifer Raymond

The DJs carefully maintained the blissful autumnal mood throughout the fayre, spinning seasonal folk, psych and country songs by the bar of the Betsey, including Shindig!’s own Jon ‘Mojo’ Mills who set the tone of the evening perfectly.

Rich Olsen, The Hanging Stars

Stand out act of the evening had to be Gwenifer Raymond, the Welsh musician brought the American South to Clerkenwell, playing a tempestuous set of instrumental tracks alternating between guitar and banjo, from ‘Sometimes There’s Blood’ and ‘Requiem For John Fahey’ to the manic “Bleeding Finger Blues”, all of which can be found on her outstanding debut album, ‘You Never Were Much Of A Dancer’. Raymond, an accomplished adapter of the distinctive American primitive guitar style developed by Fahey, left the crowd in a stunned silence.

Co-hosts, The Hanging Stars, who started the day off with an acoustic set, finished the fayre off with a set in the basement. Betsey’s Autumn Fayre was an international coming together of fans of cosmic country, acid folk, and psychedelia. I can only hope the seasons roll around quickly and the autumn fayre returns once again next year.

 

 

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Temples, Oslo, Hackney, London, October 6th 2016

New tunes aired… Stronger performance… TEMPLES are back. JON ‘MOJO’ MILLS approves


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Pic: Carla Salvatore

Shindig! hadn’t seen Temples since Green Man 2015, so it was with baited breath we entered Oslo to see them in this small venue show leading up to the long-awaited next album. Having heard new single ‘Certainty’ expectation was high. What would the new material be like? Would they wig out the known material? After more than a year touring the world how would the performance be?

‘Certainty’, the new single, has a late ’70s/early ’80s Euro prog/pop/electronic style, that suits the band incredibly well; ‘Strange But Not Forgotten’ almost, and I say almost, reminds this writer of a-ha, via it’s high yearning vocal and anthemic Euro vibe kissed by an underlying ’60s pop melody,  ‘Roman God-Like Man’ has a far more Eno-esque mid-’70s art-rock borderline glam edge, and is particularly memorable, whilst ‘Mirror’ has a definite psychedelic edge filtered through a late ’70s post-punk sheen that is a clever melodic, experimental reinterpretation of older music via the early ’80s. Temples have a knack at making crowd pleasing pop that is both psychedelic and commercial. Judging from the new material, they have the “sound of 2017” nailed.

And yes, years on the road have really shaped this most photogenic band. That needs to be mentioned, as bands should look like bands… not regular Joes. Temples look every bit stars, and always have. If their early shows were often a little coy and muted, now when playing old faves they colour the music with a confidence and a patina of Harvest era Floyd and Charisma era Hawkwind. They extend songs, reshape them, add shimmering textures, effects and create a room filling pulse. Bold, loud, assured! Playing extensively has really grown the band, and in the live setting they stun.

We look forward to seeing what 2017 brings.

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Pic: Carla Salvatore

Set List
Colours To Life
Certainty
Sun Structures
Roman God-Like Man
Keep In The Dark
Move With The Season
Mirror
Ankh
Strange Or Be Forgotten
Mesmerise
Shelter Song
——–
A Question Isn’t Answered
Sand Dance

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Pic: Carla Salvatore
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Pic: Carla Salvatore
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Pic: Carla Salvatore
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Hipsville 2016

PHIL SUGGITT reports on camping, frugging and the music of the UK’s premiere garage/frat gathering


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HIPSVILLE FESTIVAL, Bordon, Hants, 13-15th May

After three years as a mostly indoor event, this years’ Hipsville festival was held in the open, essentially a cricket ground in the woods. Fortunately the sun shone, although the vibe might have been different had it rained all weekend. Small scale festivals have many advantages; they are always friendly, and it was a pleasure to walk straight up to the bar, food stalls or toilets without queuing.

Hipsville

This year’s novel attraction was The Demon Drome, a ’20s Wall Of Death. Saturday saw many spectacular stunts on vintage Indian motorcycles. In keeping with Hipsville traditions, Go-Go dancer Wanda De Lullabies premiered her “Cosmic Rider” burlesque at The Demon Drome, ably accompanied by US organ duo Archie & The Bunkers.

Friday’s headliners were garage veterans The Wildebeests. Clad in Paul Revere costumes, it was obvious that the band were having a lot of fun on stage, which transmitted to the audience. Throughout the weekend, the bands that didn’t take themselves too seriously were often the most entertaining. Davros & The Deep Space Deviants (aka The Stags) played a whole set of tunes reworked with Dalek lyrics, such as ‘Sweet Home Planet Skaro.’ France’s L.A. Brats glammed it up with covers of Dolls and Hollywood Brats tunes, whilst on Sunday the reliable MFC Chicken delivered a really tight set of chicken-themed frat r&b.

Japan’s Stompin’ RiffRaffs, three girls and a guy, were a pleasant surprise, and went Theremin crazy. Possibly the best set of the weekend came from The Missing Souls, whose English/French/Spanish line-up should convince the UK never to leave Europe! They played a dynamic set of ’60s garage with outstanding girl/boy vocals.

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The Zombies, Orlando

THE ZOMBIES & GRINGO STARR
The Plaza Live, Orlando, Florida
February 24th 2016

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Orlando, Florida – land of Disney fans out for some kid-friendly fun, and not the most likely place to watch original ’60s popsters The Zombies perform their singular brand of wistful English psych. Yet here we are, in a strip mall on the edge of town, where St. Alban’s original hitmakers are kicking off a tour across the Sunshine State en route to Miami, where they’re due to join a cabal of fellow ’60s survivors like Vanilla Fudge and The Strawbs on The Moody Blues’ annual cruise round the Bahamas.

Support act Gringo Star out of Atlanta play a neat line in Elephant 6-ish indie pop, suggesting The Zombies don’t intend to entirely appeal to an oldies crowd – yet fans who probably saw them the first time around make up the core of the audience. And unlike 2015’s tour which saw the band recreate their seminal 1968 album Odessey And Oracle with the help of Wondermints main man Darian Sahanaja and all surviving members of The Zombies’ original lineup, this gig is performed by the current rock heavy iteration of the group in service of their new album Still Got That Hunger. The overall effect is somewhat schizophrenic, a show in service to an audience expecting hits like ‘Sticks and Stones’, leavened with the occasional “And here’s another one from our new album.”

Colin Blunstone remains a gracious, debonair presence, however, his voice as strong as in his ’60s and ’70s heyday, whilst Rod Argent is a killer keys man, one of the most underrated and sublime players of the psychedelic generation – and when they play a mid-set Oracle medley closing with ‘Time of the Season’ it’s clear why fans who fell in love with them in the ’60s remain as devoted to the band as ever.

Thomas Patterson

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Gold Celeste, Sebright Arms, London

Norwegian psychsters London debut


Gold Celeste
Sebright Arms, London,  December 7th 2015

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With perhaps more melody and harmonies than an East London boozer deserves on a Monday night, Oslo’s Gold Celeste lay waste to Hackney’s leaden December gloom with their particular brand of “Golden Psych Pop”. Their live London debut is part of a brief two-date (self-financed) jaunt to promote new LP The Glow (released on Riot Factory last September). Gold Celeste’s sound centres around the dual vocals of Simen Hallset and Eirik Fidjeland which are carried along by a slipstream of McCartney-esque bass shapes, West Coast guitar motifs, baby keyboard electronics, and the solid-but-loose drum dynamics of Petter Andersen. Highlights from the set include ‘Is this What You Should Not Do’ with its call/response dual-guitar chord theme sounding like a manic church bell being rung within an inch of its life. ‘Open Your Eyes’ shows flashes of The Flaming Lips, Caravan, and even Mad River’s dissonant chord structures which bubble up quickly before being washed over by the band’s trademark euphoric urgency.  New single ‘The Wonder Of Love’ is drenched in sugar-coated reverb and sounds like The Turtles dropping in for a jam with Tame Impala, while its wistful coda is permeated by the spirit of Saucerful-era Rick Wright. The quality of the song writing is refreshingly strong with the emotional compass pointing to sounds which soundtrack life’s highs (‘Time Of Your Life’) as well as tunes for those long, dark nights of the soul (‘You And I’).  Set closer ‘Like A Poem’ is transformed into something less ethereal live, and is extended to a brief jam with Simen remarking on the number of CCTV cameras on London’s streets before riffing on the main vocal melody of Neil Young’s ‘Don’t Let It Bring You Down’.

An interesting mental leap for sure.  If these gigs serve as a calling card for a future visit, then Gold Celeste are handing out the aural equivalent of those of the luxurious, thermographically embossed variety.  Hopefully 2016 will see them return to pick up where they left off. Be sure to catch them when they do.

Ian O’Sullivan

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