It’s ironic, Paul Rhodes tells me, that two solo artists are playing as bands tonight in support of a band which is actually a solo performance by I Am Kloot’s John Bramwell. But Niamh Starkey have been a trio for a while now, as readers of this review will know, and Moll Baxter has been backed by her band before.
A grumbling bassline and tumbleweed guitar looped into something almost menacing form the basis of Niamh Starkey’s sound. It’s shoegazing with a darker undercurrent. Compared to last time I saw them Sam’s vocals are clearer and add to the hypnotic swirling groove of opener ‘Mystique’. Songs evolve into jams, Harvey’s delicate drum filigrees an adornment to Cameron’s taut basslines. Niamh Starkey have great potential, though their experimental edges may not be to everyone’s liking. They’ll get better.
If the sound was clear, despite minor glitches, for Niamh Starkey it went all awry for Mollie Baxter. I’ve felt in the past that playing solo Mollie’s passioned vocals and strident guitar work is a key part of their musical appeal. So I like the idea of adding drums and bass to her percussive strumming. Unfortunately tonight’s set is marred by a growing loss of clarity as it built in energy. Rob’s drums overpowered the guitar too often, and the separation of the bass and guitar drifted in and out. Not that it was all bad, Moll’s singing and the driving rythms held it up, the band tight enough that they do form a good unit.
There’s a good crowd for both support acts and they get a good reception from a lot of unfamiliar faces who maybe haven’t seen either act before. Each has a CD for sale and a few change hands for bargain prices. The reason The Yorkie is virtually sold out on a Monday night is I Am Kloot singer John Bramwell. “Better late than never” he jokes as he takes the stage.
From the start the warm lyricism of ‘Your Favourite Sky’ is reflected in John’s distinctly Mancunian voice. It’s not as common as you might expect for a voice to actually match the words being sung, but this does. I am not as familiar with the recorded band versions as most of the crowd are, but in this contect they are strikingly effective. The packed audience response to older songs like ‘Black And Blue’ and they reaction to the newere songs being road-tested obviously pleased John too. His sincerity also came across strongly, he seemed to be enjoying the gig as much as anyone, and indeed a very good time was had by all.
Monday night in lancaster, nowt ever happens, does it? It did tonight when TotallY wired brought I Am Kloot to town, and The Yorkshire House was packed. That says something.