I had a *really* good night out last night. First on were a band called The Retro Spankees and I'm like "never heard of them" and Tom's like "cool!". Tom of course was right. One of them's in hospital scrubs, the bass player has sparkly eyeshadow and is wearing an apron which is obviously a tourist present from the Australian bush. One of the keyboards is sitting on an ironing board, which is also covered in cuddly toys. Something told me they weren't a band who took themselves very seriously. But that means all the more *fun* which they were in spades. I picked up a badge of theirs and their single, which I'll look forward to listening to later. Particularly enjoyed their closing track which is a tribute to Richard Whiteley. I grabbed their setlist when they were done. Perhaps I should write to them and tell them it's a bad idea to use the back of an envelope for it unless you don't mind people knowing your address!
Next up were Bearsuit who were the reason I was there. Tom's raved at me about them being one of his favourite little almost unheard of bands, so I said I'd come along next time they played London and so I did. Tom said of them "HBearsuit were a bit more shambolic than usual (which is really quite shambolic)" which seemed not entirely unfair, but they were playing what they said was a lot of new material and Ian was ill and dosed up to the eyeballs on lemsip, so I think they can be forgiven. Single "Steven F***ing Spielberg" was definitely the highlight - partly because I'd heard it before but also because it was a lot more polished, and it was one of the few featuring the fiddle. Other instruments included drums, bass, guitars, keyboards, but also shaky thing, tambourines, cowbell, flute and cornet. I've not seen an indie-pop band with a cornet player before. I think I'm in love. (OK that's an exaggeration). I really enjoyed it anyway, even if in places it was a little too much noise and not quite enough melody. The lass I briefly chatted to in the loos obviously agreed: she said it made her feel old, because she just didn't get it at all. Well, I'm older but I get it. And it's good. The single's out next week and in the absence of an album I might have to get myself a copy.
Help She Can't Swim were a complete contrast. Mostly they look like just another indie band with two vocalists (one boy, one girl), but they definitely rock, and pretty hard. They're still quite playful but without being so, well, *daft* as the other two bands. A bit of rock posturing, a bit of swearing, a bit of distortion, but good use of the two vocal styles both singing and shouting. Loud bits, quiet bits (less of those), fast bits, slow bits. A fairly fluid set list apparently, with a request from the audience near the end. Might have to pick up some of their stuff at some point, they mentioned an album out later this year. I shall look forward to it.
They overran the nominal 10:30 curfew by about 40 mins, and I was delayed on the tube at Holborn, so had no choice but a 20 min wait at KX for the last train home and a very late bed. Well worth it though.