Mistys Big Adventure, Dirty Scavenger, Peep Show Voyeurs
Owain Paciuszko 11/05/2009
A rather dissapointingly under-filled upstairs at the Prince Albert awaited as I joined Peep Show Voyeurs halfway through their set. This two-piece play stripped down blues with a dark heart, as if Mark Lanegan and Seasick Steve had pro-created, except nowhere near as good as one would hope from such a union! Their songs stuck to very similar patterns and, like broken records, seemed to get stuck on the same segment for ages. As much as I like the minimal, raw, emotional sound this is one act that could probably improve with further instrumentation. But, as it stands, they were a poor start to the evening.
Three-piece Dirty Scavenger were up next and the first and most apprarent thing about this group was the technical skill of both the lead-guitarist/singer and the bass player, not to belittle the drummer's contribution, he was good. They played occasionally proggish, emotionally charged rock and did so with huge skill, intelligence and an ear for a good tune. Lead singer Jo's lyrics were acerbic, bitter and fiery, and coupled with the eye-popping skill she was simultaneously displaying on the guitar, it was an amazing sight; especially on the song The Grudge. I look forward to seeing them again.
With swift changeover headliners Misty's Big Adventure filled the stage, quite literally; with a keyboardist, saxophonist, bass player, drummer, guitarist, trumpeteer, lead singer Grandmaster Gareth and - from I Can't Bring the Time Back onwards - Erotic Volvo, they are a widescreen stage presence.
I had been talking up the band to my friends for a couple of weeks - maybe more - and had already compiled many 'dream' set-lists in my head. The first time I saw Misty's was in late 2007 at the Fandango club in London, it was an evening filled with great acts including Eugene McGuiness and Tim Ten Yen; but the host of the evening, some Radio 6 DJ, kept on talking up Misty's Big Adventure - probably unwise because they weren't the headliners, and the headliners (Electric Soft Parade) seemed rather miffed at the fact that they had been pushed as an anti-climax! Anyway, that night Misty's absolutely blew me away, they were on the verge of releasing their album - their finest work to date - Funny Times and had the benefit of its incredible array of songs.
Now, seeing them here, after the release of their dissapointing concept album Television's People I was curious as to what songs we would get. Misty's did not dissapoint, opening with the glorious instrumental Start of the Century this lead perfectly into the bitter, growl of The Long Conveyor Belt. One Erotic Volvo - Misty's red cloaked, blue-faced, glove-covered dancer - took to the stage the energy levels in the room, which had filled up a bit more, kept rising, with some pretty energetic dancing going on near stage left! The ensuing set-list was exactly as I'd hoped, and more; Serious Thing, Fashion Parade, Evil, How Did You Manage to Get Inside My Head? all crammed into their stage time.
Some new songs were premiered as well including the delightfully witty Mickey Mouse and the skittering, 70's funk of Atonement; both of which seem to suggest that their next record mixes the huge-multi-colour pop grandiose of Funny Times with Gareth's ever-improving knack for lyrics that cut to core of modern disgruntlment. The set climaxed, after a request for Two Brains and the band visibly trying to play as much as humanly possible before the 11pm curfew, with the anti-consumerist ska-rant of Hey Man and the band were treated to a huge burst of applause.
Misty's are, without question, one of the finest bands in the country at the moment, both on and off the stage and they deserve your attention. They're currently touring the country so make sure you get up, get out and go see them because they are a smart, funny and extraordinary group.