Spotted Dog @ Sound Bar
Corporation St., Birmingham
Having recently heard on the grapevine that Miles Perhower, frontman of Miss Halliwell, detests the vast majority of music journalists and more specifically, the words that they write about his band, Blue Whale is slightly put off its game tonight.
As a performer Miles is certainly an intimidating figure, frantically orchestrating band members, adjusting their amplifiers and stamping on their effects pedals as he sees fit – the phrase ‘control freak’ doesn’t quite hit the mark. (See intro of the recording of ‘I’m A Puppy’ from the Pre-dateoralbum Launch Party EP where he can be heard shouting, “I fucking had to nod because you didn’t play the right fucking thing, that’s why.”) Not to mention the the acidic lyrics which make you feel for anyone unfortunate enough to be the subject matter of.
However, speaking to him briefly before going on stage, the vitriol is reserved for the performance as he politely and enthusiastically talks about the new material that Miss Halliwell are playing tonight and how he has had to adapt song writing to the band members individual abilities. This is something apparently preferred over technically accomplished musicians who would perhaps not play with as much honesty. Or could we be as cheeky to suggest this is more to do with maintaining creative authority? Whatever, it makes for an enthralling punk rawness and democracy only compromises beauty where art is concerned.
Every Miss Halliwell gig seems to take on a completely different aesthetic, partly to do with the much reported revolving door for band members, but more as a result of the unsettled artistic energy that Perhower has at his disposal. Tonight we see a smoother version of the band rather than an earlier garage violence, basing much of the set around a driven 4/4 beat along the mould of the excellent ‘Let’s Do Business’.
As you will have gathered by now, Blue Whale is fascinated by Miles Perhower. He is in a bubble singing through two microphones, standing on a chair, sitting on it staring hypnotically at the wall or even waving it about in the air. At points it’s as if he’s completely oblivious to the fact that there are other people here at Sound Bar, which may be just as well as most are choosing to ignore the band judging by the weak applause.
Despite a largely unappreciative audience, it takes nothing away from how exciting and interesting this band are to the converted ear. Tonight Miss Halliwell played in front of a quiet and apathetic crowd – previously we have witnessed them effortlessly conquer venues, namely at Island Bar as part of the recent Oxjam festival.
Still, without apathy we wouldn’t have bands like this, railing against mediocrity, safety and conformity with such vitality.