Call me Russ L

We Are The Destroyaaarrrrgh

Posted in Food, Music by Russ L on 15 January, 2007

I’m sure The Destroyers will strike all of us who know of them as a good choice for the first live act to see in a new year. Aptly, a bit on them has just appeared on Created In Birmingham.

This set (on the 12th) was part of the weekly ‘Rush Hour Blues’ affair at the foyer of Symphony Hall, in the ICC. This is, as I’ve said before, a genius idea – a band playing at 5:30pm every Friday, free entry. If you work in Birmingham the traffic at that point in time will be beyond stupid anyway, so why not stop by? Well, the main reason not to stop by is that the majority of acts booked seem to be ‘musicianship’ bands who go diddly-diddly-diddly-diddly-diddly-diddly for about ten minutes at a time, at the expense of everything else. Still, it’s a fantastic idea, and occasionally they get someone a touch more interesting to play.

The Destroyers, then, who don’t sound anything like you might imagine given their name (no matter whether you see it as a misplaced scary metal moniker or as George Thorogood’s backing band). I’ve seen them twice before and been absolutely enamoured with their lively and dancy East European/Gypsy folk/klezmer both times.

I was slightly perturbed as we arrived and took up seats – they didn’t seem to have their customary silly hats on. This came as a great disappointment to me, and appeared to actually have an effect on them. Their first little turn (they played for a bit, had a break, then played for a bit more) wasn’t quite what I expected from them – pleasant enough, but a much more earnest and serious sound. It was presumably closer to the original sources, but much less fun.

During the break, a silly hat was spotted… then another… soon enough, headgear a-plenty was in sight. “This looks more promising,” I thought, and so it turned out. From the moment they began playing again they sounded more energetic, more raucous, and more… well, the aforementioned fun. This is the first time I’ve seen them where nobody got up and danced (perhaps not surprising, given the surroundings), but I certainly had to mouth a few “Hey!”s under my breath at the end of a few phrases. They were eventually joined again by Paul Murphy, as they were the first time I saw them. He adds a lot of wild-but-loveable ranting and raving to proceedings.

They really are a fantastic band, and one capable of appealing to a lot of different people who might ordinarily not be regular gig goers.

After that it was over the canal with us to Cielo, as great now as when it was when I last went a couple of years ago. Great food (I had fried calamari rings with a garlic sauce to start and pork & oregano with salami on the side for main, lovely jubbly), cosy but classy surroundings and nicely attentive service. Not as expensive as I’d expected, either. Highly recommended.

~ Russ L, who enjoyed this Eastern/Southern European combo evening a lot.

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