Friday 14 November 2008

Oh No Oh My, Scanners, The Pan I Am - 229, 13 Nov 2008

Things don’t start well. The doorman is not letting people into the venue. “I’m in the band!” says one guy. “I’m working here tonight!” says another. Sorry mate, you are not getting in until the tit on the door decides that you can. So we wait in the rain until we are eventually waved in.

And the first band is already in mid set and presumably wondering whether it was worth their bother.

This is The Pan I Am, the new rather awkwardly named band that features Ed Larrikin, who generated a lot of goodwill in his previous incarnation as Larrikin Love. It is fair to say that there has been a major shift in musical direction.

This band are dressed in black and prominently feature an electric cello, whose operator also sings along with Larrikin on songs that borrow very heavily from the growling blues punk of mid period Birthday Party and Gallon Drunk. It’s dark, it’s gothic, it’s nothing new, but it’s done well and with gusto.

Larrikin stares at his feet throughout, flops his fringe and wonders whether to leap off the stage or not. He teeters a bit and then decides against it. The venue fills up and a general air of approval prevails.

In the lull between bands we wander into the other half of the venue where, in complete contrast to the downbeat rumblings of The Pan I Am, a stage is bathed in light and an African drum and dance troop are pounding away to the delight of a small but wrapt audience. The rhythms are infectious, bodies glisten with sweat and despite the fact that we almost certainly shouldn’t be in here (it appears to be an end of term student bash), I am mightily impressed.

After the MC announces that everybody should go upstairs and take part in karaoke (and after my recent Japanese adventures, boy, am I up for THAT) we go back to our own gig and await Scanners.

Tonight the band is showcasing new material, and is pleased to have just finished recording their second album. There seems to have been a musical rethink – while it is clear that Sarah is still the main stage presence, the newer songs also feature Amina in a much more prominent role than before.

Scanners are a band with which I have an unfortunate blind spot. I recognise that they are good, and that they press all the right buttons to be a band that I should like, but somehow I always end up feeling slightly indifferent to them. For me, they will always be a ‘seven out of ten’ band rather than anything higher. I can’t put my finger on the reasons for this, but it might be that to me they always seem to have a rather cold demeanour, which has a distancing effect.

However, that’s just me, and they are well received tonight. The new stuff sounds good and the songs from the first album (which is definitely worth getting) are well presented too.

I have been a fan of Austin Texas’ Oh No! Oh My! for a number of years now, and even corresponded with them in the early days when they would burn off a copy of their demo CD and send it to you.

Tonight they are here ostensibly in support of their new record Dmitrij Dmitrij, but disappointingly don’t play very much from it. In fact this evening’s set seems more backwards looking than when I saw them when they were last in London at the beginning of the year.

Not that this matters a jot when songs as jaunty as ‘Walk in the Park’ and ‘I Have No Sister’ are played. Birthday boy Daniel Hoxmeier has a clear voice and a cheerful strut. The vibe is upbeat and I notice lots of girls dancing, both on their own and with each other – a pretty much infallible sign that a band is delivering the goods.

Unfortunately, due to the late starting time and the vagaries of transport, I am unable to stay for the full set. I leave a band enjoying themselves with a contented crowd bouncing lightly in front of them.

A pretty decent evening, all told - although I hope the doorman got wet.

1 comment:

Dapplesauce said...

Hey sorry you missed part of show. We actually played 4 out of the 5 songs from the new EP, when the night was said and done, though.

Anyway, thanks for the support