Tuesday, 3 August 2010

392 DRUGSTORE, Annie Christian, Lapland, Oxford Zodiac, Saturday 5 December 1998

Drugstore? Again? Well, at the risk of sounding obsessive, I never miss 'em when they're on the road, so a 2 car posse headed to Oxford for my 5th Drugstore set this year, and 13th overall! We'd passed over the more predictable Fleece gig in favour of a weekend gig at a venue where, due to their slight Radiohead connections, they'd always gone down well. Convened in the Bullingdon Arms and toddled in out of the cold to catch the final third of local act Lapland's set. They were reasonably good in a considered, thoughtful guitarry way, and moreover they overheard me mentioning that to Clive during the set and commented on it from onstage!

The venue filled out a little more for Annie Christian, on at 9.15. Not a fey acoustic-strumming hippie chick with big braided skirts as the name suggests, but a bright, spiky, spunky and punky Scots rabble, with a fine line in incendiary rock tunes. Clive and I were down the front, giving it the usual "loads" (and being given space to do so by the "too cool to dance to support bands" Oxford crowd), particularly to current amphetamine blast single "The Other Way". They disappointed a little by not indulging us with their version of Joy Division's "Transmission" (particularly as they played "Decades" on the PA prior to their intro music!), but instead, played a clutch of unfamiliar numbers, with less of their adrenalised speed but more of a dark, angst-ridden feel similar to Ian Curtis' troubled troubadours themselves. They also reminded me of the always-excellent-live Marion, so a name to watch!

So, Drugstore. What do I write about them that I haven't already done so 5 times this year? Isobel, charming and charismatic as ever, Daron coy but a beautiful guitarist, the recently added cellist providing tender touches where needed, and big Mike, now restored to health, holding the rhythm together. Another spellbinding and dazzling set, from a consistently splendid live band, with a couple of surprises - a majestic "Black Star" to end the set proper ("we're not going to get out of Oxford alive not having played this," joked Isobel), and after a haunting encore "Superglider", Isobel decided to lighten the mood with a remarkable cover of "(She Don't Use) Jelly"! Aside from the triumphant "El Presidente" - dedicated to the finally-extradited Pinochet - "Jelly" was the highlight of another fine Drugstore set. There, I haven't written that very often... yeah, right!

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