Friday, 7 November 2008

Langhorne Slim and The War Eagles @ The Borderline, London

Members of the audience enjoying a dance on stage with Langhorne Slim

On such a historic day for America (and indeed for the rest of the world), it seemed fitting that I had a couple of tickets to see the American Langhorne Slim play at the The Borderline in London on Wednesday evening. Failing miserably to continue the American theme beyond concert tickets and politics, we dined on Southern Indian food and Kingfisher beer in a very reasonably priced (and highly recommended) restaurant nearby called Sagar.

Slightly lost in the soaking rain, me and mine had never been to The Borderline before but had a rough idea of where it was. I popped my head round the corner of what seemed a to be a respectable looking bookstore (I noticed later it advertised a sex shop downstairs) and asked the security guard if he knew where the music venue was. "Go across the street" he said pointing at another bookstore, "they might be able to help you". So we dodged the double decker buses, asked a guy serving at a kebab store and he started laughing and said while pointing at the bookstore we'd just come from across the road "It's just over there, around the corner next to that bookstore!". Yep, the security guard had displayed a dazzling lack of knowledge and awareness of his surroundings but never mind, we’d made it.

I was surprised by how small The Borderline was, but happy for once to not have my bag searched before entering a London music venue. Unfortunately the price of a drink wasn’t as small as the club and I suddenly didn’t feel very thirsty! We settled down to check out the support acts, The Smoke Fairies and Congregation, neither of which left a lasting impression. By the time the second act had finished the room was full and I was pleased to find myself standing at the front next to the stage. I bumped into a fellow music blogger. She has some amazing photos from the evening you should really check them out and her blog.

I spotted a relaxed looking Langhorne Slim (real name Sean Scolnick) wandering through the audience a few moments before his show started. "That's him!" I overhead one guy say excitedly as he tried to catch his friends attention without looking too obvious. Sean is unmissable with his flat cap, slim frame and cheeky smile, like a grown up Oliver Twist.

So the concert began. Drums thumping, double bass plucking and a very energetic Sean finally gave the audience the boost we all needed following the lackluster performances by the support bands. One song in and I got that feeling I get when I’m really enjoying a show by a band I don’t really know that well, a mix of self satisfaction and pride that I didn’t just in stay at home thinking about how the evenings are so dark so early and doesn’t it feel cold. Instead I’d got out and found something new and fun that was helping me shrug off my winter blues - geez it could have been summer outside for all I cared!

The pace of the drumming combined with the folksy guitar style and supporting double bass was like the kind of sound you might get if you introduced Bruce Springsteen to Pennywise and Louise Attaque at an Irish jig in New York. I kept thinking of the HBO series The Wire where a few of the scenes involved very boozy wakes in an Irish pub – McNulty would have loved it!

Bursting with energy, and looking like he was getting a real kick out of the performance, Sean also played a few slow songs, including the touching "Diamonds and Gold".

A quieter moment

I was impressed with the strength and expression in his voice on both the fast and slow paced songs. The audience was simply loving it, there was a group of four or five people right at the front who had energetically danced their way through the whole set and just at the end, Sean jumped into the audience and picked them off one by one and sent them up onto the stage. With the band still playing, they danced bravely (or very possibly drunkenly) in front of everyone while Sean danced in the crowd and then jumped back on stage to join them. He undoubtedly made their evening and it summed up the great atmosphere we were all sharing in this tiny London club.

Members of the audience enjoying a jig with Langhorne Slim

More members of the audience enjoying a jig with Langhorne Slim

Fancy a dance Langhorne?

My other half (who doesn't mince his words if he doesn't like a band) had never heard of Langhorne Slim before Wednesday evening and came away from the gig a fan, that’s usually a good sign that other people will also enjoy this style of music. Langhorne Slim and The War Eagles overwhelmingly proved they are natural entertainers and I felt lucky to get the chance to see them in such an intimate venue.

Just wondering whether anyone actually reads this blog? Please say hi if you do.

Langhorne Slim MySpace:


Huggle said...

I read your blog. Was directed here by Langhorne. Great review. Ain't he great?

chalky said...

Yey! thanks for dropping by!

I hope he keeps creating music for the long term, can't wait to see him again


dan said...

langhorne said to read it so i did. nicely done. fortunately, he plays in my area pretty often (since the bass player is from two towns over), so we get to hang out with them when the roll through town. great guys. they probably won't be back in england again soon, but check them out again when you can

Anonymous said...

Great review, I can't wait for him to come back!

chalky said...

Dan - you lucky guy!

Anika - Great photos of the evening on your blog, can't wait for the next show as well.

Thanks to you all for dropping by

Guy Gibbs said...

That's me in the picture at the top of the page! And yes, we were drunk.

Anonymous said...

They are playing tonight at the borderline again. Kx

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