Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Frankie Rose and The Outs, Hawnay Troof at The Luminaire - December 14 2010

Frankie Rose and The Outs by Tim Griffin

The Luminaire shuts at the end of the year, so this is my last chance to savour the place. I’ve not been uncritical of the venue in the past, as I’ve always associated it with a frustratingly lax approach to band timings. However, I’m still sad to see it go. As a breathless and sweating Hawnay Troof exclaims later in the evening “Venue shuts, venue opens, it’s the circle of life!”

We start proceedings with Amelia Rivas and Christian Pinchbeck, who perform as Elephant. Amelia dabs at a keyboard, while Christian wrestles and frets away at a guitar. Theirs is a rather plaintive and melancholy sound, as desolate as an empty ballroom, but also somehow ineffably lost and sad.

Not a party band then.

We follow with the latest live incarnation of Alessio Natalizia, who works under the name of Banjo or Freakout. Tonight he is joined by two other musicians to form a fuzzy low-fi three piece unit who experiment with lengthy drum and guitar work outs. These jamming sessions are leavened by Natalizia’s quiet voice as he imposes structure and song craft over the din. I think that it works very well.

I’m particularly intrigued by the drummer, who watches his band leader like a wide-eyed hawk, apparently terrified of landing a beat out of place.

Vice Cooler aka Hawnay Troof is a man of the people. In fact tonight he is a man among the people, an army of one with a mission to get the party started and to get London to make some noise!!!

His is an exhausting non-stop power ball of a performance, leaping on and off the stage, executing full tilt forward rolls and getting the audience down on their knees. He does a fantastic job, as initially the crowd is too self conscious to do anything but look nervously at each other. By the end everyone is yelling and whooping on command and well warmed up for the main act.

I’m a big fan of Hawnay Troof and am delighted to see him in such surroundings. Last time our paths crossed, he was stuck on a big stage and unable to properly interact. But boy, does he work hard. If he keeps this up he’s going to end up very fit or very dead.

I’m also glad to see him, because it gives me an excuse to post this marvellously stupid video footage of him being humped by a bulldog while performing earlier this year.

Hawnay is wearing the same costume tonight. Sadly, the dog could not make it.

Frankie Rose has spent time drumming in bands such as Vivian Girls, Crystal Stilts and Dum Dum Girls and it is not altogether surprising that she and her current band The Outs tread in similar territory.

It’s the final night of the tour and I can’t help but feel that the band are a bit frazzled, tired and just glad to bash out one last show so that they can get back home.

Not that Frankie and the rest of the gang aren’t having fun. They play a simple, stripped down take on classic Sixties girl groups, without as much of the amplified reverb employed by Frankie’s previous bands.

Frankie Rose herself is very nervous and anxious to please. She tells of how she was originally scared to come to the UK because she thought that we were fierce and unfriendly. However, on this tour she has been introduced to strange concepts such as the savoury pie and football and as a consequence feels a lot happier. I wonder if her unease is because in her own band she plays guitar and leads proceedings, whereas in the past she has been by necessity, stuck in the background.

Included in the set is a version of the Vivian Girls' “Where Do You Run To” and it rather unfortunately sounds better than the bands’ own material. That could be down to my own familiarity, of course.

The band finishes and I wave goodbye them. As I prepare to do the same to the venue, I’m slightly confounded that the evening has run like clockwork and has actually finished slightly ahead of time. Incredible! Well done, and good luck, Luminaire.

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