Wednesday, 13 January 2010

644 CHARLOTTE HATHERLEY, The Subways, Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms, Monday 27 September 2004

A Monday trip to Pompey to see Ash guitarist Hatherley doing a solo thang, after she'd released an album this year which surprised in its' poppy approach and mature tunefulness. We normally get to Portsmouth too early and, despite leaving at 6.30 this was no exception. We had an hour to wait (D'oh!) before openers The Subways, on at 9. They were actually vastly improved from the shuddering noise of their drum-dominated Zodiac set recently. Still primal and part-formed, we at least remembered some of their numbers, which is a start, and they recalled early punk bands such as the Buzzcocks in their approach this time.

We got a good viewing position centre-stage and got swathed in too-early dry ice before Charlie joined us at 10. The entrance music gave the game away, regarding her solo aspirations - despite being the alleged rock chick that toughened up Ash's buzzsaw pop sound, her entrance to "Kids In America" proves she actually wants to be Kim Wilde! That the zigzaggy, breathily pop set opener was actually called "Kim Wilde" only underlined this.

Charlie and the band, for me at least, didn't give the songs the punch they deserved until the excellent, flippant "Bastardo", a Sleeper-ish tale of one night stand woe, when the band finally matched Charlotte's level of energy and conviction. An excellent "Grey Will Fade", a moody, considered number recalling Lush's more ethereal moments, followed, but these were far and away the highlights of a set which left me wanting more. Oomph, that is, not necessarily more songs.

I don't mean to damn with faint praise - the album is one of my favourites this year, with its' pop mix recalling both 90's Britpop girly pop and Boston college pop faves such as Fuzzy, and I certainly enjoyed both the set and Charlotte's conviction (often in the face of adversity from a sparse, quiet Pompey crowd); I just wanted her to kick more butt. Maybe next time!

No comments:

Post a Comment