Nice, Not Ordinaryby Jess Henson / 08.06.2009
Oh, great. Another gig review. What’s new? Everyone knows Indie is everywhere. And since ‘underground’ went overboard and found itself on everyone’s lips and hips, pop cult cool is more a handy lubricant for social intercourse and a cheap commodity for plummeting profit margins than a rare experience. Seems Pulp’s hit song wasn’t far wrong, because there are loads of bands on the bloc and originality is in short supply. (No, that’s not the name of Posh’s new perfume; it’s a je ne sais quoi that gets the groove on when the booze doesn’t.) So Saturday night’s semi-sit-down to three acoustic-ish trios at the Assembly could have been special or second-rate. Instead it was sublime, though it took its time to get there. (A bit like this review)
Don’t get me wrong. Miss Texas 1977 were sweet, but they weren’t superb. They’ve borrowed the trawling southern growl from other more established artists of the faux-trash Nouveau Folk niche. Crabs In The Florist seem to have inspired the foot-tapping, and the guitar effects were Andy. Definitely want to hear more of the lovely lady Julia whose name was on lots of lips.
The Simon Van Gend Band weren’t bad, either. Their man-in-the-middle-of-the-road appeal and catchy song-writing is less mundane than it once was. Beyond unmodulated vocals, and blithe and inappropriate attempts to transform acoustic spirited songs into rock anthems, they’re enjoyable. And, despite being secretly disliked by certain media mouthpieces who never seemed to have an opinion in the first place, they were likeable because their charm is their own. But they weren’t brilliant.
What took the night from pedestrian to profound was the last trio. Hearing them was one of those rare experiences that put hope back on the guest list. Extremely understated, their rhythms are cheerful, their lyrics distempered with sober insights, and their melodies are unusual yet easy on the ear. In some senses, it suggests elements of the song writing and singing of Simon and Garfunkel, John Mayer and Michael Buble. Thing is, they’ve only just started, and already they have a distinct voice that will take them far beyond common comparisons. While there is something defiantly dapper and effortless about them on stage that gives the audience the go-ahead to feel good, there’s something disarmingly unaffected that smacks of the making of real stars. In a world drowning in ordinary, I’m happy to say that the night belonged to Nice.
*Pic – James De Stadler