Wednesday, 4 November 2009

758 SCARCE, supporting Heather Nova, London Shepherd's Bush Empire, Monday 13 October 2008

I'd picked up a flyer at my recent Band Of Horses gig at the Empire for this one, and it nearly bowled me over. Scarce? No way, surely not THE Scarce? The Providence, RI-based trio of post-grunge glam sleaze merchants who'd blown my socks off Saturday lunchtime at Reading Festival 1994, subsequently releasing the singularly appropriately-titled CD "Deadsexy", then, when poised for serious crossover success, splitting asunder in the wake of singer Chick Graning's near-fatal brain aneurysm? Further investigation revealed it was the same Scarce, reformed following bassist Joyce Raskin's authoring of a book depicting those crazy times, so tix were duly snapped up!

This being the first gig for ages that I'd been solely in it for the support, I made sure I left damn early - 4.30 - and arrived in Shepherd's Bush at 6.15, needing to lurk down a side-street before I could use street parking at 6.30! Joined the queue of musos, older couples and, yes, lesbians, that seemed to comprise Heather Nova's audience, and hit the venue just after doors at 7, gunning for a spot right down the front for Scarce. Spent time chatting with a fellow Scarce fan who'd prepared a "Welcome Back Scarce!" scarf! Well, I'm glad I'm not the only one...

On at 7.45 and straight into "Honeysimple", the rabid, ramshackle opener to that "Deadsexy" album, Scarce immediately rolled the years back. It looked as if they hadn't missed a beat, with Chick the epitome of rock'n'roll cool in embroidered black shirt, leathers and studied poses, rasping that evocative rusty drainpipe voice, and Joyce, a mom of 2 now, yet still throwing wild outlandish shapes with abandon, and playing as if each number was her last. "Days like This" saw me abandoning my scarf-holding friend and stepping right down the front to dance to a wonderfully wistful, melancholy yet upbeat glammy pop classic. Brilliant stuff.

This still being early doors on the comeback trail, the high energy was punctuated with moody, slow-burn newies, but the set reached a crescendo with the jagged "Karona Chrome" and "All Sideways", the anthemic Pixies-ish number and the sexiest car-crash song - ever! My cries for "Freakshadow" were then sadly ignored, despite Joyce's attempts to persuade Chick, as a desolate "Break Your Heart" climaxed a remarkable resurrection and a ridiculously quick 1/2 hour set.

Grabbed a coke to calm down, and hung around for 1/2 hour of Heather Nova's popular yet dull set, which did little for me yet a lot for her massive. Then I decided to go Scarce-hunting! Found Jo Propatier, the current incumbent of the revolving Scarce drumstool, hanging out front, then hit backstage door for awhile, eventually running into Chick, whereupon I introduced myself and compared survivor stories and Gigolo Aunts/Big Dipper/Gravel Pit tales of Boston Rock. Eventually made it a full set by meeting the tipsy yet friendly Joyce and talking more Dipper, kids and rock'n'roll. Photos, signed set-list and fulsome greetings later, I finally hit the road at 10.30, after a quite superb evening!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks David for the kudos, word of mouth, and support all these years. Your blog made us smile and feel so thankful for you helping keep the Scarce name out there. We are looking to get the new tracks done in the next couple weeks so we can come back over in the spring, fingers crossed. Hoping to have the tracks out there for mass consumption no later than spring of 2010. Just takes a bit longer between working and life and no money, lol. Promise it will be well worth the wait.
    Rock on,