Call me Russ L

Wandering down the (Magic) Garden path

Posted in Music by Russ L on 25 February, 2007

Saturday the 24th was the night with a squillion billion gigs all happening at once, as previewed here. What I didn’t know when I wrote that was that Beverley Knight was playing at The Ricoh Arena in Coventry, too. I’ve no idea how that one slipped under my radar, but Our Bev would probably have just squeezed all of the others in terms of what I intended to go to. As it was, I found myself heading off to The Varsity in Wolverhampton.

They’ve had gigs on there since prior to forever, but I’d never been there before being tempted by The Destroyers on this particular night. I’ve always thought it was unusually cool for the overseers of a chain pub to allow live music to take place in the upstairs room, though. You wouldn’t expect it.

This, anyway, was the Magic Garden Studios showcase gig. Other than The Destroyers, I had no idea beforehand who was playing. A quick consultation of a poster on the wall when we got there explained to me that they were headlining, Cantaloop were on in the middle, and that The Lines were opening. These last-named (and first-on) played mostly up-tempo shouty indie type stuff, in the range of The Cooper Temple Clause/Kasabian styled bands. While not without their moments (I loved the bit where the singer started playing extra percussion, it gave them a much more dynamic and climactic feel for a little while), I was fairly indifferent to the songs. They definitely have a following, with a loads of people singing along and bunch of lads dancing up the front/invading the stage, and this at least made their set more fun to watch. Far from the worst band I’ve ever seen, but… meh.

I knew Cantaloop’s name was familiar, but assumed I must have just seen it around in gig listings and so forth. They were a little way into their set before I realised I’d actually seen them before. Lord, I am useless. I definitely should not have forgotten about them, either, since they’re fantastic. Funk/hip-hip type business, with a bit o’ rock and a bit o’ jazz and… yeah, the lot. As much groove as one might want (and if it’s a day of the week with a ‘y’ in it then I want a lot of groove), with some blinding songs, what sound like they might on closer inspection be some interesting lyrics, and a great frontman. I will try very, very hard not to forget about them again.

Finally, The Destroyers, who I know I’ve been waffling on about far too frequently lately but they’re just so good. I don’t tend to make this sort of claim, but I really can’t see how anyone could possibly dislike them. This was (interestingly. Well, for me, anyway) the fourth time I’d seen them but the first time at what you might call a proper gig, and while they didn’t have Paul Murphy with them they did have Feva (I think) to perform the song you can see in the Youtube clip on their MySpace page. It’s a shame that the crowd had thinned out a lot by the time they were on (that’s what happens when you have late runnings, though. When will folks learn?) ‘cos I think as many people as possible really should have their chance to see this amazing band, but there we are.

I’d call this a very good gig overall. Nicely varied line-up, I like it.

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