Deerhoof / Anabel's Poppy Day / Rumspringa

Scala, London

I dunno, I suppose if you're used to living in somewhere really hot like Australia or the Nevada desert, then maybe the thought of leaving your nice cool house to make a journey on public transport into a stifling metropolis would be no challenge, just normal really. Here in southern England, where the indiginous population carry a complexion that is like the ghost of skimmed-milk, 30-degree plus temperatures make us feel like we're hog-tied in a duffle-coat. There was supposed to be a motocycle protest in London today - I should think that went well - bet they couldn't wait to put on leather, crash helmets and sit astride a slow-moving combustion-engine. Anyway, it's hot, and I didn't much feel like going into London.

Glad I did tho', otherwise I'd have missed a gig that I could easily put in my all-time top 10. The Scala (perhaps London's perfect venue) played host to this triple bill, and first up were Rumspringa - which I'd been rather mistakenley informed were an Amish Ska band. They weren't, and I'm glad. A blues-based guitar and drums duo, the larger half of which is guitarist/singer Joey Stevens. He has a fantastic voice, and plays great blues guitar, writes good songs, so what's not to like? A good start to the evening, in the nicely air-conditioned Scala. Second on the bill was French band Anabel's Poppy Day who came over from Paris on the bus for this gig. Well done, and all that, but an extra rehearsal and the Eurostar might be better next time.  A bit too naive and sloppy to be really good, but there were a couple of catchy melodies and some charming audience chat from squeaky singer (you guessed it) Anabel.

Seeing Deerhoof was one of those rare and wondeful experiences for me - when a live band just takes you to that "other place", when their sound, the atmosphere and the performance all came together just right. They are undoubtably a band at the top of their form, the perfect blend of tight and energetic playing with sweet pop melodies and keep-you-guessing arrangements. The guitar interplay of John Dieterich and Ed Rodriguez is world-class but never in the form of noodle-based fretwank, while drummer Greg Saunier flails his kit with some kind of furious joy. Singer and bass-player Satomi Matsuzaki is so tiny she barely rises above the audiences heads - and she's on stage. She has the most wonderful clear flat-toned voice and an onstage presence which says so much more than "just cute". The band play a lot of material from their two most recent albums (Reviews: 1 / 2), plus cover versions of The Ramones Gabba Gabba Hey and Canned Heat's Going Up The Country. Not a note out of place, and the crowd really showed their appreciation. Everybody left happy AND I had a totally smooth ride home on the train.

#Harris Pilton

3rd Jul 2009 - Tumblr