Hot Club de Paris / Tantrums / Barnesy
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.