Okkervil River, Jaymay, A. A. Bondy @ The Luminaire, Kilburn, London
16th December 2007
2007 was a long year, packed with live music and great times on the London gig scene. Ive seen Big bands (Stereophonics), Small bands(Bullets & Octane), Rock Bands(Black Stone Cherry), Metal Bands (Metallica), Pop-Punk Bands (Motion City Soundtrack), Prog Bands (Biffy Clyro), Pop Bands (Apples In Stereo), Glam Bands (Aerosmith), Electro Bands (Thunderbirds Are Now), Punk Bands (The Thermals) which leaves one major category unchecked.
Folk! Consider it strange? or if I’m honest…a deliberate swerve of the genre,this is my first Folk orientated outing. It had a lot to live up to with the standards set over the last 12 months mind you, but being held in The Luminaire, one of my favourite venues it has a faint hope. Kicking off the sonic waves of melody was a solo guy called A.A.Bondy. His melancholic mix of meandering tales of woe and love haunted with simple guitar picking did nothing for me this evening. In fact I was struggling to stay away (that may have something to do with a long weekend of action packed fun times). This was plainly monotone and drab.
Jaymay on the other hand was far from dull. Her sweet innocent voice was amazing and you felt like she had something to say you really wanted to hear. A very cutesy performance filled with the usual interlude banter of “I’m a small town American…and England is a weird place” Plus story’s of public transport woes (England Welcomes you with open arms!). I roused from my near slumber and enjoyed this acoustic treat.
Headliners Okkervil River took to the stage with absolute modesty and armed themselves with their trusty weapons of melodic choice. Far from the musical simplicity which preceded them, their songs were packed with multi instrumentation and cracking melodies designed to get the toes a tappin’. Vocals sounded great in this tiny venue and drove each track fantastically.
Okkervil really have the melody making craft down to a fine art, each one sparked the gathered onlookers to jaunt about uncontrollable…all in a controlled I’m really too cool and have far to much indie credibility to do this kind of way (unlike myself may I add). Highlights were the thumping pop tracks Unless It Kicks, Our Life Is A Movie Or Maybe and Black Sheep Boy. The great songs were coming as thick as they were fast and the only drawback was the show had to end and I had to miss the encore to get a train unlike Mr Flowers who stuck it out… damn living so far away!
It was well worth waiting for a special Folk gig, and if they are all as good as this I may me back for more.