Monday, February 09, 2009

Ladyfest Goldsmiths

Phew... after an extraordinary few days in which I was convinced I was a goner at the side of the M1 (I malapropped 'the cold shoulder' at the gig yesterday, which indeed it was), her (leaving that typo!) is a little review of the Ladyfest and its performers.
The pub, the New Cross Inn, was inhabited by a Spectacularly Rude Sound Engineer, who clearly felt that the lady bands were squatters in his rock pub, and couldn't bring himself to raise his eyes from the Chinese meal he was troughing when I asked him a question about soundchecks. I was amazed, for Spectacularly Rude Sound Engineers have become an endangered species of late, and I really feel there is a place in London Zoo for this guy, where I am sure he will be cherished and happy, fed on a diet of oriental take-aways and heavy rock music. The walls of his cage will be painted matt black, there will be buckets of continental lager to drink and the loos will be disgusting.
Anyway, I digress.
The first band was called Rubella and were a late addition to the bill, they said. They were a 3-piece, competent musicians, drums, bass and guitar/vocals. They had helium-vocals and short, sharp songs with an air of bratty ennui about them. Because all three of them looked like models, I know they would be inspirational to many young female would-be musicians, and partly because of this I suspect, their set inspired two older male photographers to buzz about like demented wasps with their tongues hanging out, snapping away lasciviously. I don't know how the band coped, to be honest; the photographers had balloons above their heads with 'I'm a prick' written on them in felt pen. Not really, but, well really....
At this point in the evening, it appeared to be quite a man-fest (could it have been the pub?). I stood in front of the stage to watch and got physically shoved out of the way twice by a man with a pool cue who definitely didn't want women in his pub: well, not this woman, anyway, because I wasn't young and I wasn't wearing very short shorts. Or maybe I was just in the way. He liked Rubella, because he thumped his pool cue loudly on the floor at the end of their set, before seating himself at the bar and talking loudly all the way through the next act, The Bobby McGees.
I liked their style! Dorothy and the Gardener, they had a uke and a banjo, and made the stage their own by wrapping red lights, tinsel and blue feathers around the mike-stands to match Miss Bobby-McGee's dress (which was Disney-beautiful and made me wildly jealous). Their slightly spooky act is sort of retro-showbiz pastiche, a two-person condensed pantomime, so of course I loved them. They put subjects like insecurity under a 1940s microscope, with bluntly-titled songs like Please Don't Dump Me, singing words-each, and with Mr Bobby McGee fibbing about holes in his trousers (they weren't there; I could see, because I was sitting behind them). I liked the way they did words-each and shared the twilight; they were quick-witted as darting fish, and both were deceptively good instrumentalists. They were entertaining and knew how to defrost the audience and get them involved. I think they need their own daily 5-minute kidults TV show, actually!
Nest were The Lovely Eggs from Lancashire (I've left that typo too as I thought it was apt!). I preferred this sort of brattiness to Rubella's, as it was more genuine. I'm Having a Party and We're Killing Ourselves: what a title! Ms Lovely Egg was on electric guitar and she played a mean thrash. Mr Lovely Egg played drums and odd inventions, conglomerations of instruments that included bicycle bells, a glockenspiel, harmonicas and other things. They were very funny. The Bobby McGees had given them a party popper and Ms Lovely Egg let it off to prevent the drummer from collecting it, before launching into a song called I Collect Snails and I Collect Horses . I felt an affinity for this song, as I used to collect worms, which I absolutely adored, and I used to get very upset when McMum washed the front path and the worms all came out and drowned.
Honestly, they were very good, lots of spiky, witty, catchy songs, and Ms Lovely Egg has a great voice- proper rock, but at all the right moments.
Then it was my turn: I was daunted by the quality of the previous bands but gave it my all and enjoyed it, apart from mucking up the last chord of the last song. Thank you to the people who listened; I was lucky because the pool player had gone home earlier on and only listeners were left.
All in all, it was a brilliant group of bands, holding their own against a tough venue, and all three are worth seeking out.
One last thing- where were my CDs? they asked for some to sell and I sent them 25. I hope they haven't lost them, as I can't afford any more disasters this winter.


Blogger chimesey said...

"The pub, the New Cross Inn, was inhabited by a Spectacularly Rude Sound Engineer... ... I was amazed, for Spectacularly Rude Sound Engineers have become an endangered species of late"

I admire your perseverence in confronting this sort of beast... obviously your love of music transcends the awfulness of some gigs...

I know the Bobby McGees! Sometimes think they are immensly entertaining... once... dunno if the 'joke' lasts...

9:26 PM  

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