Saturday, December 22, 2007

With The Band of Holy Joy at the 12 Bar

Out through the freezing fog, wrapped in layers of tartan and kapok, down to the 12 Bar to meet up with cousins, brother, brother-in-law and cousin's partner. We sat in the chilly coffee bar before going in to watch the Society of Imaginary Friends. They are a band that I'll definitely go to see again; they are very funny but very dark at the same time, and they have this air of knowing exactly what they are doing in their own weird world. Their singer, Louise, has a beautiful voice which she uses without being posey or annoying, just blending into the music and sometimes soaring out of it. It's also a really unusual line-up, singer, accordion and violin, with samples that never intrude unless they're meant to. I loved it.

I really enjoyed playing myself, despite messing up some chords in the first song- I'd taken the Hofner acoustic out of it's case so I could carry the Gretsch in it easily on the tube through the crowds, and couldn't resist a play, and of course it plays entirely differently to the Gretsch and it stuck in my muscle-memory. Just one song, though, and then I was away in fantasy land living the songs as they were written, and that's the best sort of gig to have. Actually, it was really good fun, one of those gigs you just feel bloody amazing to be able to do. Gina had a gig last night too and I was thinking how lucky it is to be able to go out and play gigs when you are ancient and have commitments that threaten to strangle you at every step!

The Band of Holy Joy were brilliant- I'd forgotten what good songs they had and Johny is a charming performer. I think the same thing has happened to them as happened to the Horns when we got back to play together- in the intervening time everyone has become much better musicians, and learned to play their instruments; the band were really tight and very exuberant. They are definitely carrying something on from punk but in a much more funny and sophisticated way; the audience was grinning from ear to ear (they were satisfyingly nerdy, bit like The Chefs' audience who really did wear anoraks!). The stage at the 12 Bar is tiny and the band were crammed into all its crevices and spilling off it into the audience, which all helped to give it a great atmosphere.
I have some of their music on vinyl and I will excavate it and play it immediately. I had to leave early to catch the tube but it's another band I'm going to go to see again soon, because it was very difficult to tear myself away. I wanted to keep on grinning and my bodily dancing mechanisms were straining at the leash.
Like the photo?

P.S. Eddie Tenpole was there. I'm sure he's got smaller- maybe it's something to do with his hair not sticking up any more. I always thought he was the best of the swashbucklers.
P.P.S. I have twice seen a green woodpecker pulling up worms on the lawn. I would give it some bread, but the rats would come, wouldn't they? It's a very fancy-dressed bird and it's an honour to have it drilling for food through the frosty grass.


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