Monday, 2 August 2010

397 MADDER ROSE, Dark Star, Bristol Fleece, Monday 1 February 1999

I was Mr. part-Driver tonight, but not a very good one as I knocked a wing mirror off my car driving down Rachel's road! D'oh! Nevertheless, I picked everyone up, then headed over to Clives, from whence he drove, hitting the venue at 8.30. Fuller than I thought it'd be, but there were still tickets at the door. Bumped into Bristol gig buddy Tim before Dark Star's set; they were more dynamic than previous sets, the smaller venue suiting them well at the moment, methinks. Their libidinous groove and spiky gothic rock was quite impressive as a Fleece support.

I ran into another old Bristol gig buddy, Rob, then missed the start of Madder Rose's set due to the queue in the bogs! D'oh! They checked in with "My Star", from the new, mellow and slightly trippy "Tragic Magic" LP. This one, available in the US since 1997, has only just received a UK release which has stalled their career somewhat, but the 'Rose seemed set to make up for lost time with a fine, slightly spooky set of laid-back, late night US coffee bar smoky guitar soul. They've veered towards the more mellow element of their work recently, and this set encapsulated this. A splendid "Car Song" and almost jolly "Swim" were set highlights, but overall "Beautiful John", their final encore, was the top toon of the evening - indeed the only one that had us really rocking all night!

A chat with vocalist Mary Lorson after the gig confirmed that this was the new mellow Madder Rose direction. Shame they're not going to kick out anymore in their Belly-meets-Violent Femmes white noise pop way anymore, but the songs always did it for me, so hopefully that will still be the case!

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