JOSAKA GIG LAUNCH
THURSDAY 5 OCTOBER 2006
CELLAR BAR, SOUTH HILL PARK
- DAMIEN A PASSMORE
- THE TROUBLE WITH ME
- THE COLOURS
- MY LUMINARIES
So Josaka.com is at the forefront of the Berkshire music scene and has been for the last seven years. So of course it's only natural that they start showcasing live gigs - virtual chats with bands on the messageboard just doesn't cut it like the sweat of a soloing guitarist flicked in your face.
Well, its launch night wasn't quite as frenetic as that. The dusky subterranean tomb that is the Cellar Bar at South Hill Park harbours a certain intimacy that doesn't correlate with manic jumping about. Besides, musicians would bump their heads on the low ceiling.
|"A sign of a great song is if it still sounds great stripped of all its flourishes - not so much the naked chef as the naked clef."|
And, to show that the Berkshire music site doesn't just champion angsty indie bands, the night kicks off with Damien A Passmore, whose bag is singing tongue-in-cheek country songs with a touch of controversy. As always his lyrics inspire hearty laughs of disbelief. His medley of 80s tunes, and an encore of Bon Jovi's Living On A Prayer is musical entertainment at its most alarmingly entertaining. Appalachia has Hayseed Dixie, Berkshire has Damien A Passmore. He puts the 'ass' in 'pure class'.
The Trouble With Me, despite sharing a name with a favourite Barry White hit, don't really do crooning like the walrus of love. Rather, the four serious-looking men are little more disheartened with the world, rasping out confessionals - tongue-stud glistening in the dim light - like they're busking for whoever will listen.
|The Trouble With Me|
Tonight their semi-acoustic set wipes the dust off their usually fuzzed-out rock. Clear strums add a golden sheen, a sedated set gives their songs room to breathe. And despite some hit and miss singing, songs like Taken Too Far and Highstreets stick in the brain.
The Colours don't go for the pared down set - and so try to squeeze their larger-than-life sound into the snug venue. Dirty electro, bashed keyboards, bellowing falsettos and a cover of White Stripes' Seven Nation Army is all good and well but it's not as successful within the tiny box we're all crammed into. Shame, as they're a great band. Look out for their new EP released end of October.
Headliners My Luminaries are now seasoned veterans at performing - it comes so naturally now for these young men, signed to V2, that when a guitar strap makes a bid for freedom and slips off its button frontman James's fingers continue to glide over the fretboard with bluesman ease. It gets laughed off and even inspires a guitar strap anecdote.
A sign of a great song is if it still sounds great stripped of all its flourishes - not so much the naked chef as the naked clef. And My Luminaries' 'skiffle' set, in which they show a penchant for scampish barbershop quartetting, shows why they're signed, even though they've hardly rehearsed for tonight - apparently.
Languid harmonies from the hirsute twins, a few 'oohs' from the even hairier drummer, James's Tom Waits impression during their single The Outsider Steps Inside, the constant smiles and jibes. The chemistry is all there tonight.
And for those who remember their old set, Gigolo makes a welcome return by special request. They've not played it for a year, busying themselves with a new musical direction, a result of which are songs like the more serious yet radiant Parasol.
Kevin Harrington, owner of Josaka, watches on like a proud dad, and so he should, he's helped raise the profile of bands like My Luminaries on his website. And if he can make such an impact in the virtual world, just imagine what his gigs in the real world will do.
MORE JOSAKA NEW MUSIC SHOW GIGS:
WEDNESDAY 25 OCTOBER
Wilde Theatre Special: The Race + My Luminaries + Mr Fogg + Big Wednesday
£6 in advanca/ £8 on the door
THURSDAY 2 NOVEMBER
Heartwear Process + Wire Jesus + The Enigma Projects
THURSDAY 7 DECEMBER
Rebus's first ever acoustic set + The Vice + TBC