Lovvers, Dignan Porch
Miss Fliss 02/09/2010
It was a real thrill being back in the Bull and Gate venue. That rare thing of a longstanding venue, still standing in its own right, free of sponsorship from energy drinks or beer brands or phone companies. A simple old north London pub. It's staggeringly beautiful too. The divide of its two bars remains, as does its sculpted ornate nature/decor, with a plain simple backroom for bands. No need to dress anything up. This is a starting point for many a band. Nice to see Club Fandango return with force too. Because this is a venue crucial for bands either just starting up and new to everything, or in that pleasant land where they're likely to make a name for themselves and this is their last gig on a scale of this wonderful sort and then it's a treat for the fans.
I love hiding in the dark black of the shadows, the simple square of the room here, the way you can see the whites of the eyes of the band and vice versa, the way beer crates are support aids for stuff around the stage, the way you'll bump into a band member somewhere in the snug friendly venue after they've come off stage whether you approach them, or by accident.
I made sure to arrive in time for support act Dignan Porch. One listen on Myspace was enough to convince me - On a Ride in particular took me by wild surprise; a song all fuzzy sung, with summery tremelo tones and a cheery chorus all of a lo-fi. They had a great female drummer whose sticks just glided into and out of the air like extendsions of her arms - she was complemented by her female bandmate striking a free-standing tambourine to nice effect. The guitars were all wobbly tremelo sounding to good old-fashioned indie effect whom was also on vocal/key duties. I suppose the influence most would think of is Pavement, and the name Dignan Porch is very much cut from Malkmus's phrasebook, but I didn't concentrate on that too much. Lovvers in headline mode had to put up with shouts of "Pavement!" during the early bit of their set and I could sense the frustration it caused. Lovvers' singer commented that he could very well play that band's songs, only his own bandmates wouldn't have a clue.
I don't quite see any sort of Pavement influence at large, anyway. Discordant guitars thrashing at uncomprompised angles comes from many an indie band - mainly American in influence in this instance - but it to use Pavement as shorthand for Lovvers is just tiresome. They're clearly fans of American underground bands - the fashion of trucker caps, porn star moustaches, and bad t-shirts and jeans screams of American lo-fi influence as much as the wayward chord progressions and structures at work, but Pavement aren't the be-all and end-all. Lovvers are of their own making, I think. That vocal is somehow tuned into the mic to resemble a menacing, grating baby for a start - in a strangely melodic and suitable way. The guitars scrape and pound away, but the melody is always there, strong if yelling.
I must admit I far more enjoyed Dignan Porch's support set here tonight. I just fell quite in love with this band I had only discovered about 4 hours before their set started. It didn't help that Lovvers were scheduled for such a late headline slot for a small venue (gig-goers fro the next door Forum came out earlier) and the gig seemed set to finish at a time that would leave a fair amount of gig goers stranded, so perhaps that ruined my concentration and fun somewhat. I must say that I enjoyed the new songs that Lovvers played, though, and I probably only missed the last one or two songs. There was no escaping that OCD Go Go Girls was their best song, but it was dealt with swiftly as the opener, so maybe they see it as an anchor.
I stand by the brilliance -and ebulliance - of Dignan Porch, my new-found musical love. Instantly bought the 7 inch single, On a Ride on my way out, before a brief chat with the band's drummer in which I recommended she buy a turntable to play her vinyl on, from Argos (mine's been going strong for 7 years from there, anyway). I look forward to buying Dignan Porch's album too.