The Bobby McGees, The Lovely Eggs
Miss Fliss 05/02/2009
Walking in halfway through a Bobby McGees set has to be one of the more confusing experiences in life. Has Rab C Nesbitt formed a twee indie band, one can't help but wonder upon hearing the first strains. Then I see a strange bearded fisherman looking man with a syrupy thick Scottish accent (if you don't understand Glasvegas, you might struggle even more here) is mixing performance art with folk music, play acting and idle conversation, whilst a twee girl in a fairytale story dress with a big red bow in her hair sings sweetly one moment and chats back to him like an argumentative lover the next. It is by turns amusing, entertaining, irritating and cringe-worthy. The clap alongs are frequent and there is interaction with the crowd in spades, interspersed with repetitive samey anecdotal stuff, all of which isn't my kind of gig, as it gets to the point of grating. The anecdotes go something like: This song's about a shag! Who in this room's had a shag?, said in the kind of voice a kids' theatre company might employ - I don't know whether to feel disturbed or amused.
My conclusion is that when The Bobby McGees stick to strict performance of songs, the melodies and fun shine through, but all the other stuff detracts and bothers.
Thank Goodness for the lovely Lovely Eggs. It was pure joy just to see the one-time member of Angelica again. Holly hardly looks any different, with her cute cheekbone high smile. Her voice is the equivalent of that cheeky smile, quite child-like and innocent and sweet else turning into a strop and sounding snappy. The remembrance of Angelica hangs heavy - songs like Why Did You Let My Kitten Die? and Bring Back her Head I am dying to shout out for. It's the Lancastrian twang that makes Holly's voice so ace, the emphasis on the vowels so muddy and crass sounding yet from such a pretty voice and face.
Accompanying Holly is just one man, a drummer who is lo-fi fantastic, and follows her punk pop guitar snarls perfectly. And that's it, no bass or anything else, just the power of two. And a mighty power pop racket it becomes.
If you can't stand the thought of being in the same room as an 8-year-old's birthday party where all mayhem breaks loose and jelly gets flung, best not check out The Lovely Eggs. The vocals can turn you off, as they go from wide-eyed cutesy to emphatic angst edged and fierce, like the flurry of a tantrum.
I've never seen a pair of sawn-off handlebars from a kids' bike on a drum kit on a stage before. We find out just why they're hanging around halfway through The Lovely Eggs Set when the bell is rung in time to the music. Moments like this, the music switches to a sense of kiddish naiveté and playfulness. On record, the band also use xylophone, recorder, and all sorts of other magical odd things.
This gig was all part of a low key Ladyfest event, but perhaps due to snow, location and a weeknight fixture, was not as busy as it could have been. Live music was spread across two or three venues, and I hot-footed it over to the student union bar of Goldsmiths after The Lovely Eggs and the Bobby McGees to catch the start of Betty and the Werewolves' set, and to wait it out for An Experiment on a Bird in the Vaccum Pump and the mightily spiky Kasms - only to my frustration, Betty's set seemed to be just closing to a halt, and it was getting late (the gig was to go on till 1am or so) so it was time to depart the incredible wilderness of south east London.