Call me Russ L

GDFAF #4: Elliot Jack/Trial Of Origin/ Circadia/Rick Wellings (9/10/7)

Posted in Going Deaf For A Fortnight 2007, Music by Russ L on 10 October, 2007

Goodfaff number four. I’m not entirely keen on The Bulls Head in Moseley as a pub, but I love the room upstairs as a gig venue. The Bohemian Jukebox night that runs there every second Tuesday is a lovely little affair, mostly centring around singer-songwriters but with other stuff too (some quite surprising other things at times, as we shall soon see).

Rick Wellings started things off, and turned out to be just yer basic singer-songwriter. Interestingly, in P’Ashton’s account of the GDFAF #4 down the road a bit, he spoke of singer-singwriters all sounding the same in a live setting. I don’t agree, or rather I would shift emphasis – they have fewer tools with which to sound different than a band has, but I wouldn’t say it’s an intrinsic quality. Loads of full bands sound exactly the same too, after all. Everyone has to do something special to stand out. I didn’t dislike young Rick, anyway. My attention didn’t drift too far, at least. I fully approve of writing songs about “New Street Station”, although everyone should be warned that doing so will invite a direct comparison with Chinook and that you probably won’t win.

Weapons-grade electro wasn’t something I was expecting to hear at this particular gig, but that’s what Circadia provided. The sequencer/keyboard/laptop provided a storming groove, with plenty of funk but also some nasty bits too. The high ‘n’ low vocal duo varied nicely between ethereal, sassy and playful (and the young lady was as cute as a button, too. I mention this purely for the sake of completeness). The bongo player provided… bongos. Band of the night for me, and a pleasant surprise to boot.

Trial Of Origin were also a surprise, but not an especially pleasant one. Possible contenders for the ‘most misleading description on a poster in a good long while’ award, they played Jimmy Eat World-ish angsty emo-rock. No interesting songs or anything. The keyboard/electronic-y bits that I could see being played/triggered weren’t actually audible, so maybe that would have made a huge difference and made them sound a lot more interesting. I doubt it, though.

A drunk began making a nuisance of himself after their set. He wasn’t as obtrusive as the drunk making a nuisance of himself at the last Bohemian Jukebox night I attended, but I’m beginning to wonder if this is a regular feature.

Elliot Jack finished things off and were a game of two halves. Their first few songs were hamstrung by technical difficulties (Malfunctioning Beatz, there’s nothing worse), but came across sounding like they’d have been a bit dreary anyway. They then pulled it out of the bag with a fantastic three-song-run to finish – an acoustic (genuinely acoustic, vocals sans microphone) thing which felt genuinely folksy, a pretty rocking instrumental, and a lovely electro-folk-pop type of thing to finish. Some lovely harmonies, too (and I’m not normally a harmony fetishist).

Lovely stuff, all in all. It’s a nice little night, this Bohemian Jukebox whatsit.

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8 Responses

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  1. John Roberts said, on 8 January, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    i’d agree with your analysis of the first acoustic act and the second band which i enjoyed.bit harsh to criticize the 3rd band who only got to play 4 songs because of circadias over run. you probably spent longer writting this than they spent playing!as im sure you know with in depth knowledge of live music its a sound mans fault if you cant hear a synth all you can do is put it too full volume!for what its worth i enjoyed the short set and checking them out on myspace i find your description of angsty emo/rock to be well aimed but miss the mark.whilst on the issue of sound thats the major problem with the venue fine for acoustic or small bands but there was just no room for bands with 5+members and the sound suffered.
    as for elliot jack maybe your more more open minded than me. but whilst I enjoyed one or two of their early tunes technical problems aside.i found it bizare when by the end of the set these grown men were sitting on the floor sparsely playing and singing lyrics remininscient of nursery ryhmes. folk?drake would roll in his grave.

  2. Russ L said, on 9 January, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    Thanks for commenting. Some interesting thoughts there.

    I’m listening to the songs on Trial Of Origin’s TheirSpace right now (for the first time) and I’d stick by my previous description. I did think it was a bit of a shame that they’d travelled down to Brum (from Stoke, did they say?) and only got to do four songs, but… well, they aren’t the sort of thing you’d usually find at a Bohemian Jukebox night (admittedly neither are Circadia), and combining that with the look on Ben Calvert’s face at a few points in their set I wonder whether there may have been a bit of miscommunication between band and promotors regarding what they expected of each other.

    Nursery rhymes hadn’t previously come into my mind with regard to Elliot Jack, but I think you’re spot on there. A fair few of their songs did seem to have that sort of quality about them. Nursery rhymes completely and absolutely are folk, though, and perhaps are one of the most enduring forms (‘folk’ in the ‘traditional music of any given culture’ sense, rather than the ‘genre of popular music akin to Nick Drake’ sense, of course).

  3. TRIAL OF ORIGIN said, on 19 January, 2008 at 5:58 pm

    Hey thanks for the feedback everyone, accept thomas Dolby, he’ bit of a runt, negative feedback is ok, but in small portions.

    for example ” Trial Of Origin were also a surprise, but not an especially pleasant one. Possible contenders for the ‘most misleading description on a poster in a good long while’ award, they played Jimmy Eat World-ish angsty emo-rock. No interesting songs or anything”

    oh well shame there are people like that in the world.

    anyway on a positive note, we have been picked to be on RADIO 1 on sunday 20th january, we are going to be annie mac’s house band for the week, so all is well in our world.

    thanks alot

    Trial Of Origin

  4. Russ L said, on 20 January, 2008 at 9:22 pm

    I sort of wish the first paragraph of that was comprehensible. Sort of. What in the world does Thomas Dolby have to do with any of this? Were you Blinded With Science?

  5. throughsilver said, on 22 January, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    I saw a poster advertising a band called The Tears a few years ago. Depending on how that’d be pronounced they could either have been scruffy punk noisemakers or over-sensitive emo boys. Never did find out.

    Are Trial Of Origin the next Orphic Soup?

  6. Russ L said, on 22 January, 2008 at 9:16 pm

    Possibly. I don’t know who Orphic Soup are (although the name dimly rings a bell) and the juiciest thing that the first page of Google turns up is this (Control & ‘C’ for ‘Orphic Soup’). I would appreciate it if you elaborated, though, ‘cos it sounds funny.

  7. throughsilver said, on 26 January, 2008 at 11:42 pm

    Orphic Soup is a reference to a band I heard on Radio 1, instinctual response to the ‘we have been picked~!~~’ deal and not much more. I loved Rock War.

  8. Russ L said, on 27 January, 2008 at 8:41 pm

    Ah right Ted (Chareth?).

    After numerous readings, I suspect I may have deciphered TRIAL OF ORIGIN’s first paragraph. I’ve had numerous inaccurate celebrity comparisons in the past, but (assuming I’m right) someone thinking that I’m Thomas Dolby reaches a new height of insensibility…


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