With the Grandaddy show tomorrow, I'd hummed and haahed about this one; 2 nights in London in a row is tough these days! But when Tim offered to treat Rachel and myself to tix as a thank you for handing out his You Are Here tapes to our US friends, we just said, "hmmm, OK thanks, we do!" So Tim and I left at 5, joining the increasing traffic on the M4, getting over to the Garage at 8 and meeting Rachel in the Old Cock Tavern!
Decamped to a surprisingly quiet Garage well in time for support Russian Caravan. A couple of acoustic guitar-wielding blonde cowgirls with hairstyles like the Boothill Foot-Tappers, and vertical fringes like Cameron Diaz from "There's Something About Mary" (I hope they don't use the same hair product), they were god-awful. Sporting a gift for grating-ness that would have put the similarly awful Hangovers to shame, they totally murdered their dourly dark songs. Bringing Ken Stringfellow on at the end of their set must've been as embarrassing for him as it was for us.
Anyway, Ken was here to earn his money with "The Posies", basically just Ken and Jon Auer tonight, the 2 musical and creative brains of the band, on an acoustic show to celebrate the canon of work of this apparently now-defunct band, and have some tequila and a laugh in the process. As usual with these kinds of tours, the material reacted differently to this treatment; slower, heartfelt and melancholy numbers, such as the touching "You're The Beautiful One", or their stark and stunning encore rendition of Big Star's "Thirteen", gained depth and emotional honesty, whereas the big rockers, such as my favourites "Solar Sister" and "Fall Apart With Me" were groovy and melodic but a little shallow sounding. Either way, however, the boys were enjoying themselves; calling for tequila shots to accompany any requests, and receiving at least 7 by my count, all of which were downed in one, with the plastic glasses being tossed contemptuously away. And the set was, like Dando's in Boston recently, a complete encapsulation of the work of this most melodic of bands, whom nevertheless I never really held dear until their last 2 albums, when they added passion and vitriol to the pure melodies.
The encores were particularly fun; the aforementioned "Thirteen" was accompanied by 2 other Big Star-related numbers, namely "September Gurls" and "I Am The Cosmos", and, amazingly, The Psychedelic Furs' "Love My Way" and REM's "Man On The Moon" followed as the guys got drunker and drunker, before trashing their strings and doing a capella versions of "The Star Spangled Banner" and Sinatra's "New York, New York" with the chorus altered to "London UK", before they finally staggered off, 2 hours after kicking off, presumably to collapse in a crumpled inebriated heap backstage.
Fun, though! And thankfully the drive home took half the time of the drive up. Thanks for this one Tim!