Casiotone For The Painfully Alone (Brudenell): This show was one I went to on a bit of a whim. I didn’t know much of his music (it’s a one bloke project) until I started listening to it the week before, and went partly because it was his ‘farewell’ tour, so there would be no other chance! Plus he’s got some pretty good songs, which always helps! Problem was, I didn’t know enough of them well enough to make the most of the show (and because they all have a similar style, they blended together a bit), and as there was no ‘stagecraft’ to speak of (it was one guy standing behind some keyboards and samplers and singing with his eyes closed), it didn’t make so much impact on me. So from my perspective, it was only really a so-so show. It was livened up at one point by some people climbing onto the stage and dancing around, but Mr Casiotone shooed them off with moody irritation as soon as he finished playing. Lighten up Mr Casiotone; as someone said on the way out, ‘its no wonder he’s so painfully alone’.
(He’s a bit more jovial in this video from another show, so clearly he can be a bit cheerier given a better atmosphere)
(Note: the next 2 gigs, and the next 3 ones reviewed in Part 2 of this month’s reviews all occurred within just over a week of each other (8 days I think), which certainly makes it my busiest gig week ever. It also means that I was at the Brudenell even more than usual, for three nights out of five. I didn’t plan it like that, this was just the way the gigs fell…)
The Phantom Band (Brudenell): This was a very good show, from a band that I find hard to fault. A bunch of Scots (6 of them I think), they have a remarkably high level of really excellent songs for a band with only two albums, and we heard the majority of these songs at the gig. There were enough certified TUNES that when I needed the loo mid-way through the set, i thought ‘oh i’ll go after this song’ about 4 times before I actually did. And even then I was in a hurry. There are too many highlight songs to go into detail on, but of particular note was the encore, when they were convinced into playing an unplanned ‘Island’ (one of my favourites) by someone in the crowd, because it was his birthday. That was followed with an extended, 10 minute version of the potent krautrocky instrumental ‘Crocodile’, featuring as many as three melodicas in play at once. And they had a lot more stage presence than Casiotone too, evidently enjoying and feeling themselves, and with the lead singer occasionally moving to the very front of the stage to loom dramatically overhead whilst delivering his baritone vocals. A band that are quite simply very very good; go watch and listen. Do it!
Serious Sam Barrett (Nation): This followed on from a free screening of a film called ‘The Folk Singer’ (which I saw the last part of), and Mr Sam Barrett was, appropriately enough, just such a thing (plus a bit of country too). He was a good deal more upbeat than the rather morose character in the film though, and had some marvelous sounding songs (often about heartbreak) at his disposal, all played very ably with just him and his acoustic gee-tar (finger picking and slide guitar included). I liked this very much, and would be pleased to see him again; something that should be perfectly possible given his local status (in fact since i started writing this I have done). Maybe you should see him too…?