Speakeasy (QUBSU), Belfast
Saturday, 2nd October, 2010
It's all very mysterious and dramatic; hallowed darkness cloaked in a thin dry ice, as two string musicians sit at the side of the stage with trembling violas and violin. It's certainly not at all the scene you would imagine for a shaggy haired indie boy to step out into, grinning as he picks up and slings on his guitar.
If anyone can manage such a contrast, it's Fyfe Dangerfield. The Guillemots singer took time out from recording his band's third album last year to work on Fly Yellow Moon, an unexpectedly paired down record of silky vocals, and piano and guitar arrangements. Although slated for its overindulgence and unbearably sweet sentiment by the press (and listening to it does drift off into the bland tedium of grown up pop you would expect to buy in a major supermarket chain and give to your mum) somehow onstage he manages to do something entirely different.
The songs are still the same, but there's no doubting his charisma, that voice or his unquestionable musicality. The effect of his solo performance with occasional string accompaniments to give extra depth and warmth is an enlightening and interesting experience. With a wry sense of humour, and smooth, rich singing he adds an extra sparkle to Faster Than The Setting Sun, changing instruments and coursing through the melodies with gentle sampled beats.
Sometimes all this intense emotion rings hollow, though, and for an hour long set - entertaining and bemusing though it is - the moments when he's at his best come when the mush is left aside for a song or two: when he takes to the piano and rips through the Guillemots First Train To Brazil in a whirl of unexpected energy, or does a cover of Girls Aloud's Call The Shots, his sincerity is very much under threat.
There's a wild child trying to hide away in there somewhere that's desperate to come out to play. But given that it's all very enjoyable and Fyfe is clearly very talented, let's not rain on his parade. Everyone's entitled to a bit of self indulgence every once in a while.