Jason Sheppard, Twinkie & Ann Arbor - Lamplighters, Leicester
The lamplighters in Leicester, known these days primarily as a Rock
Bar, hosted a superb collection of bands on a drab October Thursday.
First up were Ann Arbor, an instumental two piece comprising of Matt Jones
(bass) and Tony Waterfield (guitar). Backed by a powerfully programmed
drum machine, the duo bludgeoned the audience with a brand of noise which
is as compelling as it is unusual in todays musical climate. Only
15 or so minutes but breathless stuff. At times Ann Arbor appear
almost determined to blow the venue up such is the power of what they
Twinkie (from Nottingham) followed next. Fresh from supporting Fugazi
no less in front of 3000 fans, the way they connected to the audience
at the Lamplighters is a credit to their charismatic stagecraft. Great
visually, combining indie chic with a stylish 1940's moustache provided
by the singer/ bassist, with a bit of David Byrne eccentricity thrown
in for good measure. However Twinkie are not merely good lookers
their sonic range goes from earth shattering chord progressions and guitar
riffs, to the subtleties youd associate with Portishead at their
most endearing. Vocals combine masculine resonance with feminine softness
the perfect mix. See this band!
Jason Anderson is the singer and driving force behind the band Wolf Colonel.
They have recorded an eponymous album that interestingly, Jason chooses
to promote himself with a series of acoustic gigs, rather than involving
other band members. Previous to this he was in London, and following the
Lamplighters gig was off to Leeds.
The approach Jason takes is camp fire style. He stands in
the middle of the auditorium amongst the crowd, completely unplugged and
proceeds to deliver a 30 minute set of wonderful songs brilliant
lyrically, full of melody and connecting with the audience from the first
note. To see every member of the audience hanging on to every word is
testament to Jason as a performer. The songs are personal and intimate,
laced with humour and improvised lyrics.
She threw away all her bras /
Started listening to Was not Was!
The audience listened, laughed and queued up 10 deep to buy copies of
the album within seconds of the last song (Death Face). Brilliant.
And so to the evenings main attraction. Taking to the stage well
behind schedule and after top performances from a classy supporting line
up, Econoline provided a passionate and strong performance. This is a
band on top form right now tight, appearing to believe in what
they do and again, moving from deathening crescendos to moments of subdued
quietness within seconds.
A jangly chord led opening warmed the set up nicely. I wish more bands
would do this play with the audience for a minute or too
almost prologue style.
Vocalist Steve Morris provides energy and feeling in his delivery. Matching
the bands style perfectly, projecting lyrics in the way they are
sung as much as in what they actually say. One of the stand out points
of the band is their expressive drummer. Combining jazz and full rock
styling, this undoubtedly adds to Econolines power as a live unit.
Im sure I saw her actually hitting the mike stands to give more
flavour to the atmospheric mid set centrepiece! The band appear to enjoy
the live setting plenty of smiles on stage!
Stand out point is the single Breakfast for Champions. A gorgeous
twangy guitar riff provides lifeblood for a tune that has apparently received
Radio 1 evening airplay. So the evening ended with Econoline drawing out
the last energy from their instruments. Comparisons to Doves spring to
mind in their emotional and passionate performance.
The evening was immensely enjoyable, and should have been by rights witnessed
by more people. You have to go looking to find bands and artists this
good they wont drop on your doormat.