Sunday, January 27, 2008

Scaledown, King & Queen, 25 January

Good intentions butter no parsnips, I'm told, and having determined after the last time I went to a Scaledown night to get along to another really,really soon, I find myself here, almost exactly a year later. So much later, in fact that one of the acts tonight is making a return visit to the Scaled Down world. Still, I made it eventually, and this year I'm definitely going to get along to another one in less than a year's time.

So anyway, this time we had another varied menu of sounds. It's the sort of evening where you're unlikely to like everything, but you're bound to like something, and so it proved. After the customary turn by hosts Mark Braby and Andy Coules - a unique take on "Smash it Up" by the Damned - we have some entertaining spoken word stuff from saxophonist Mark Norton, of which the funnier poems are the better, not a million miles from John Hegley territory. Next up is Dogs & Stuff, a duo who somehow put me in mind of Flight of the Conchords. They're good fun, although they make the fatal error of putting their best stuff at the start of the set, so that after a song called "Monkeys v Robots" (Monkeys! Robots! How can you go wrong?) and a song featuring the wearing of a toy octopus on the head, the rest can only seem dull in comparison. Still, I saw a man with an octopus on his head, so I am pleased.

Next up is Martin White, of whom I've spoken before, so I shall simply say that he was his usual thoroughly entertaining self, and gave us a preview of some songs from a new musical he's writing about a 19th century German flea with magic contact lenses (or something).

Hong Kong in the 60s is a trio plying a C-86/lo-fi electronica type sound, which you may find intriguingly gentle or just fey, depending on whether you like it or not. I wasn't sure at first, but I found myself warming to it fairly quickly and by the end of their set was happy to let it wash over me in its unobtrusive way. And they do good badges too, which is an important thing, I think.

Finally is John Ellis, former guitarist with the Vibrators and the Stranglers, whose pedal and ebow-driven guitar noodling just didn't really do it for me, I'm afraid (and that's mild compared to what my companion said. She really didn't like it). But it doesn't matter, because I heard plenty of stuff I did like, and had a good time. Which is of course what it's all about.

The next Scaledown's on 22nd February, and I'm going to be there, definitely, honest.

I did take pictures of everyone, by the way, it's just they didn't come out very well. It's difficult taking photos in a dark room without a flash.

By the way, the Scaledown boys have moved into the world of recording, and I picked up their first release, a lovely 7" single by a band called Pocket. Get it at the Orchestra Pit.

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