Hare and Hounds
A healthy swell of people are in the Hare and Hounds tonight, partly to do with the Freestyle photography and illustration exhibition unveiling downstairs in the back room, but mainly due to the appearance of Birmingham’s soon-to-be latest buzz band, Goodnight Lenin.
Out of the ashes of The Allies, come a Northfield five piece that are as far away from the unfortunately infamous concrete streets of the south Brum constituency as you may expect, sonically speaking. The grimey city sounds typically associated with the locale, such as Tantrums and Scarlet Harlots are bypassed in favour of a more earthly patter coloured with chimes of mandolin and pure, micro precision four part harmonies.
Think Band of Horses performing Simon and Garfunkel tunes, in fact, a version of ‘Cecilia‘ is given a robust airing that envelops the room in a warm melancholic glow. Another cover, Kings of Leon‘s ‘Four Kicks‘ is given a subdued melodic makeover, but falls short as arguably the weakest number of the set. Yes it displays a creative approach to reworking the song, but it’s Goodnight Lenin’s own songs that really illustrate a flair for captivating the ears.
‘Crook in The Creek‘ and ‘Wenceslas Square‘, currently doing the rounds on Youtube, mesmerise the audience and convince us all that their craftsmanship and conviction is both solid and accessible enough to connect with the masses – Mumford and Sons, you better watch out.
From a local perspective, to Blue Whale’s recollection at least, there has not been a native band in a long time gracing the hallowed stages of Birmingham that have sounded so immediate and (almost) ready to shift units on a large scale. All this without compromising the integrity of the art – given time they might just become our Crosby, Stills and Nash.