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Review: Hot Club de Paris / Tantrums / Barnesy @ The Rainbow

Hot Club de Paris / Tantrums / Barnesy
Birmingham Promoters
The Rainbow
8th February 2010

Last minute replacement for (silver) souvenirs, who keep losing drummers, is Barnesy who’s rasping out his gritty city soul as The Rainbow starts to fill up. His twists of lyrical phrasing and perceptive witticisms, on tunes such as ‘Estates in a State,’ are compelling as they are stark.

He has the wry cynicism of Ray Davies thrown in with the bantering honesty of Jamie T, forming blunt and confrontational narratives of disillusionment backed by bluesy jazz chord progressions and accented with fancy work on his fretboard. His smokey, folky 5am comedown music has touches of Leonard Cohen’s stripped back, black humoured finger pointing that can be imagined decorating some hazy bordello before the whiskey hangover kicks in and the sleep deprivation starts to singe.

There has been a lot of talk about Tantrums across various blogs and podcasts of late, gushing over how ruddy fantastic the band have become. So, the announcement of a line up change has been greeted with a sense of bafflement amongst a number of people – why would you meddle with the formula if it’s working so well? New addition Anna Palmer aka Little Palm has also been courting the attention of many of Birmingham’s music aficionados, leaving some to question the distraction of her own career.

Tantums are widely accepted as brilliant, Anna equally so in her own field. But together? The vast majority of adult men would profess to both loving their mothers dearly and admit to watching the occasional blue movie. But never the twain should meet.

Has the band’s creative restlessness led them down a dodgy path? We look on with anticipation, hoping that it’s not a complete frickin’ car crash.

The new five member Tantrums take to the stage and from the tentative and tidy performance it’s obvious that they are anxious as to how they will be perceived. After a slightly wobbly start on opener ‘Mek Ya Feel Hype’, the vocal pairing of Anna and Simon Gregory starts to gel and the new line up appears to be a less hasty bolt on than we had initially feared.

If anything the band are a lot smoother arrangement wise as guitarist Stuart Boyd-Crosbie is concentrating solely on guitar while Anna has taken on the battered Casio mantle -whether she kicks ten shades of crud out of it as Stuart has done in the past remains to be seen.

Although Anna has the obvious juggernaut of a voice, the slight irony is that it’s Simon who impresses with the power of his vocal, perhaps a conscious raising of his game since Anna has such a good reputation for him to contend with. The result of their harmonies over the top of patches of dirty laptop backing tracks forges a kind of 35 Seconds meets Fleetwood Mac pop beast.

So, an augmentation as smooth as Don Draper with an air hostess and a new, as yet untitled, set closer tonight illustrates that Anna’s songwriting input is sure to widen the Tantrum’s already magnetic appeal. Panic over.

Hot Club de Paris agree by asking; “How amazing were Tantrums?” which is answered with whoops and whistles from The Rainbow crowd. The Liverpool three piece’s stop start almost barber shop like harmonies with cutting guitar licks are particularly bright for a freezing Monday night in a Digbeth side street. Their knack is making short tangents of rhythm seamless as celebratory vocal lines glide like kites through the room which playfully splash colour around in endorphin overdose fashion.

From Barnesy’s candle lit darkness to the full, glowing spectrum of Hot Club de Paris via the radiance of Tantrums, this night has covered all textured bases.

Andy Roberts

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Video for ‘Lin’ by Arc Vel

Awesome video for Arc Vel‘s ‘Lin’ found via an interview for Scene Not Heard.



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Free Jugend Klub ‘Camp Dance’ Mix

The below ‘Camp Dance’ tracks listed have been selected by John Napier, musician and resident DJ at Jugend Klub – a monthly night of post punk, synth pop, new wave, italo disco, E.B.M. and other guilty pleasures held at the Victoria, Birmingham.

Jugend Klub @TheVictoria - Friday 22nd Jan

John explains his choices: “This is not exactly a top 10 people will be that familiar with. I imagine if Heart FM did a similar sort of list we’d get Donna Summer, Gloria Gaynor and such-like but we’ve heard those songs so much over the course of our lives I thought it might be nice to give some of the unsung heroes of camp dance music a look-in. So here are ten of the most joyously camp party tunes ever, and not a Weathergirl in sight (sorry ladies!).”

Ten Camp Classics (Part 1) by Jugend Klub

1. Telefon Boys – Get Up Get Up

Almost every other Italo Disco group of the 80s had the word ‘boys’ in their name, needless to say gay clubs were integral to this scene of which Telefon Boys are a perfect example. All pulsing synth bass and minimal Kraftwerk style production, this music is very physical. It has no desire to make you reflect on the greater issues of life, its function is to make you dance.

Maxi - Boytronic

2. Boytronic – Brylliant

You can hear the Pet Shop Boys all over this song. Indeed, the “Sweats” (as they’re known to their fans) were big fans of this sort of electronic European dance music (German in this instance). Speaking in an interview with Record Mirror in December 1985 Neil Tennant explains:

“A lot of the records we like are Italian. The other thing about Euro Disco records is that they always sound like they’re cheap to make. I think that’s their appeal. They’re a bit like punk records – they go in and get very excited by the most banal sounds…”

3. Gary Low – You Are A Danger (Romeo Erotic Remix)

More Euro Disco now, this time from Italy. Gary Low’s 1982 hit ‘You Are A Danger’ has been given a reworking here by L.A. duo, Romeo Erotic. The melodies and synth lines are really banal and there’s a ludicrous whistle sound that may be hard for some ‘serious’ music fans to swallow. It has, however, got one of the best drops in history, never fails to shatter the dancefloor (in a good way!) whenever played.

4. Bang! Bang! – Shoot The Model (teen remix)

Is that David Bowie singing?! Unfortunately, no. I think if it had been it would have rather confused his fans. Cock Rock Guitar? Euro Disco beat? I don’t know how, but this track just works. A gloriously happy sound juxtaposed with some very ambiguous lyrics.

Ten City

5. Ten City – That’s The Way Love Is

House music has always been rooted in gay culture. In fact, most early house DJs in Britain (before the genre really exploded into the mainstream) used to DJ in gay clubs as these were the only venues open-minded enough to accept this new and refreshingly un-macho music.

6. Farley ‘Jackmaster’ Funk – Love Can’t Turn Around

This was the song credited with bringing House music into the mainstream. Before this was a hit House music was mostly just an underground scene. This track (actually an Isaac Hayes cover) made the UK top 10 in 1986 and their performance on Top Of The Pops is one of the most exuberant and ridiculous things I’ve ever seen!

New Order - Fine Time

7. New Order – Fine Time

This track was heavily inspired by the band’s visit to the party island of Ibiza and the new Acid House music filtering into the Hacienda, the Manchester club in which New Order were financially involved. Bernard Sumner’s boyish vocals give it an endearing naivety and the synth lines are straight-up Euro Disco.

Pet Shop Boys - Heart

8. Pet Shop Boys – Heart (Dance Mix)

It wouldn’t be right to have a list like this and not include these guys. Apparently, the boys originally wrote this song for Madonna but having finished it decided it was frankly too good to just give it to someone else, even the biggest pop-star in the world. In the end I think they were proved right. Its hard to imagine how Madge could have improved on this version. Glossy, catchy and slightly bizarre – classic Sweats.

9. Clio & Kay – Keep On Dancin’

This is one of the most perfect pop songs I’ve ever heard, its like the track Neneh Cherry never got round to making with Madonna. The lyrics aren’t particularly sophisticated but the female rapping and bouncing beat make it a joy to listen to.

10. Pineapples – Come On Over

I love the voice on this song. Its the most unashamed pop croon I’ve ever heard. It has none of the angst of Rock ‘n’ Roll or cool of Hip-Hop, its just some fun-loving Europeans singing about sex. It also contains the immortal lines “Come on closer you’re really turning me on / Come on closer you won’t be wrong” – hardly Morrissey but who cares?

Part 2 is available to download (along with other FREE mixes) at the Jugend Klub blog.

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