Hot Silk Pockets, A Classic Education, My Sad Captains
Miss Fliss 02/10/2009
There was a sprightly verve to the start of this White Light night at The Lexington. A Classic Education were a surprise find, turning out to be performers of dramatic indie. It would be wrong to slip into Arcade Fire comparisons, but their name was aroused, albeit in same spirit and fervour more than sound. A Classic Education make dreamy, somewhat holy songs with sudden percussion that really grabs you. The male Canadian vocals are commanding, the guitars, drums, and assorted string instruments (couldn't quite see what was in use but I thought I heard cello or violin) all combine to make pefectly lovely and emotionally stirring rock. Interesting to learn that they are based in Bologna in Italy where indie rock is far from worshipped, but they've had some US success, having played South By Southwest and are now set for New York's famed CMJ. They warrant great attention. I immediately snapped up their seven inch single, Best Regards.
Sweet tambourine pop and lilting sixties melodies poured from the speakers, in between bands, to much delight; this was a quality night of music.
Hot Silk Pockets were the draw of the night for me. I've been longing for a London show from the band who perform (and apparently practice) so seldom. On record, their scratchy sound would seduce any fan of lo-fi/bedroom recorded indie of the vinyl only variety. Sugary vocals make a show of the heart, and it's impossible not to tumble into love with the Pockets' endearingly chaotic indie. Live, things sounded much more polished and accomplished, which was to no disappointment since it made their songs sound bigger, bolder, more brilliant. Panda Eyes, Ooh Ooh, and What's the Matter scream of pure pop. New song Baby Don't Run joins this slew of established songs as a guaranteed winner, with its charming, lovelorn vocals and jangle aplenty. At one point, it becomes abundantly clear that The Velvet Underground are an influence - the way each song shimmies with vintage guitar, the dominance of tambourine in Her Best Friends are Songs, the speak-not-sing vocals, the 'ba-ba-ba's, the weight and role of silence in some songs. There's something else at play with the Hot Silk Pockets, though, and that's what makes them special. There's spades of personality and a real feel of enjoyment from the band themselves, no seriousness or career ladders in their eyes, this is a bunch of mates having fun, but mates that happen to be bound in joyous, riotous melody. I'm dying for more songs to be committed to vinyl.
My Sad Captains headlined the night, but were absolute anti-climax after the fun I'd had with the other bands. They do have one shining lovely pop song in Bad Decisions, but live tonight they made me think of certain bland, weak male acoustica acts of the late 90s/early 2000s.