Sunday, 24 January 2010

Live: The Golden Filter at Pure Groove // Piney Gir at the London Transport Museum

I’ve long held a theory that the thing that puts the beauty of going to gigs apart from, say, going to the cinema, is that you never know what’s gunna happen. Even in a venue you’ve been to loadsa times, seeing a band you’ve seen loadsa times – maybe even a band you’ve seen in that venue loadsa times still present something different, exciting, new people, a bum note, a longer set, a new support band, the potential to find an artist that engages so much that whole swathes are your life are soundtracked differently. It’s always a possibility.

So this weird combo was very welcome. First we dash up to the beautiful Pure Groove, the record shop/café in Farringdon which has put out so many great records it’s almost sick, to see an ‘in-store’ (cue images of thousands of teens queuing up outside Virgin Records to see Mel B sing solo or some shit) which is thankfully busy but without any acne-covered scamps armed with a black marker and crop-top they’re desperate to get signed. The Golden Filter, an NY three-piece fronted by model Penelope featuring synths and nice, heavy drumbeats take some time to drum up an atmosphere in the un-clubby atmosphere near the twee-tees but their sheer class shows through their net-happy hit Hide Me evoking the most reaction. Favourite Things, with its New York, Sydney, London, Paris mantra evokes both joy at the simple song at envy at the well-travelled gits. They’ve certainly been provoking plenty of reaction and there’s no doubt there’s any extra something, maybe in the league of St Ettiene, in there, I’ll be watching with interest.

A quick dash to the Transport Museum in Covent Garden (yep, that’s right) brings one-time ShadowPlay agony aunt Piney Gir happily to our ears. As part of an Arts Council funded monthly night the fulsome folkster follows a glorious screening of a video of some couples dancing in the 50s (on a screen 20ft up above a light up London 3D map). Piney, aka Kansas hailing and London-living Angela Penhaligon, takes the stage amongst the red buses and old taxis with a welcoming crowd cheering on her every accordion stroke. With some fine backing singers and a beefed up band in the shape of the Age of Reason, Piney has moved away from her original electronic-y ways to a much more traditional, perhaps ironic given her quite stringent upbringing outlined in several interviews, country-style with the twee but lovely duet Of All the Wonderful Things, the new single, a particular highlight. And as Gir finishes her set choo-chooing around the rather splendid, if nerdy, museum singing you have to say there’s a lot to say for having a night less ordinary.

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