Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Review: Chairlift Instore @ Pure Groove

Chairlift @ Pure Groove

I think that one of the best aspects of living in London is the abundance of free instore gigs at record stores. Today I visited Pure Groove Records for the first time to hear the Brooklyn based band Chairlift play a free lunch time concert. After 13 years of living here I still managed to get lost trying to locate the store and ended up walking through the nasty, fresh meat smelling part of Smithfields market before I figured out where I needed to be. It reeked!

The shop was a lot smaller than I had expected with a selection of about 100 records dangling from the wall, sort of boutique style (a world away from the crammed market stall I used to scour for decent music as a teenager in Wales.) Most of the records were by artists you'd probably not expect many of your over 30's friends to have heard of yet (unless they work in the music industry or read this blog). They also had a decent selection of interesting t-shirts going for a credit crunching tenner and loads of merchandise amongst which I spotted a “We Smoke Fags” necklace and little mini cars that somehow play your records – unfortunately these were kept in a glass cabinet so I couldn't pick one up to have a look at how they work, that's probably why they're kept in there to keep inquisitive people like me out! So can anyone tell me whether these things actually work? Anyone used one?

Back to the gig; After a delayed start which got a few of the people (on a lunch break from work) understandably twitchy (ah, these musicians and their late starts!) a very New York looking Chairlift launched into the first of their four song set. We were told by singer Caroline Polachek that they wouldn't play anymore songs in order to not give away too many of their secrets before their gig @ the Dublin Castle in Camden tonight.

Some of you will have heard Chairlift already without knowing it. Their song “Bruises” was recently used in an advert to launch the ipod nano – remember the song that goes “I tried to do handstands for you”? Incidentally I think this is one of their weaker songs and most likely to turn me off them if I hear it too much.

Chairlift are Aaron Pfenning (songwriting/vocals/electronics/guitar), Caroline Polachek (songwriting/vocals/tambourine/synthesier) and Patrick Wimberly (drums/bass guitar/keyboard). They have just released their second album called “Does You Inspire You” on Kanine Records. Their music is essentially pop with plenty of keyboards, a dash of Peter Gabriel, a sprinkle of 80's Cure and a great big dollop of Brooklyn’s own brand of experimental cool, which has recently revealed itself in a few other homegrown and heavily hyped/blogged about Brooklyn bands such as MGMT and Yeasayer.

Aaron Pfenning

During this afternoons performance I was really impressed by Caroline's expansive vocal range which on times was strongly reminiscent of Kate Bush's past warblings adding an interesting and welcome dimension to the overall sound.

Caroline Polachek (Fantastic Vocals!)

During the last song I spotted Aaron playing his guitar with a small object that looked very much like a stapler! I'm quite sure it must have an official musical instrument type name because it had a little blue light on it-am I that easily duped? Someone else was also perplexed by the object and at the end of the show asked him what it was. I couldn't quite hear what he was saying and didn't really want to hang around so I'll probably never know. Whatever it was I'm sure it was very important, actually, maybe it was a stapler with a blue light on it, you ever know with these experimental type bands.

On a side note, I thought the guys and girls behind the scenes at the shop did a fantastic job getting the sound balance for this show just right, which meant not only could I hear all the instruments but I also came away with my hearing still intact.

Overall I did enjoy the concert and as I said earlier, Caroline's voice was really very impressive but I'm not sure they're writing style sits well with me right now or maybe I'm not ready to revisit certain parts of the '80's just yet.


Update: Just remembered why they started late-problems with the electrical plugs -my bad, sorry musicians!


Upcoming Tour Dates

18 Nov 2008 Dublin Castle London
19 Nov 2008 Coalition - Club NME Brighton
21 Nov 2008 Retro Bar - Up The Racket Manchester
22 Nov 2008 Crawdaddy Dublin
23 Nov 2008 Cyprus Avenue Cork
24 Nov 2008 Magnet Liverpool
25 Nov 2008 Madam Jo Jo’s London
26 Nov 2008 KoKo [EARLY SHOW w/ White Lies] London
26 Nov 2008 Club Fandago - 229 London
27 Nov 2008 Fleche D’Or Paris
28 Nov 2008 Showcase [w/ Santogold & Uffie] Paris
3 Dec 2008 Sixth & I Historic Synagogue [ w/ Yeasayer ] Washington DC
4 Dec 2008 First Unitarian Church Sanctuary [ w/ Yeasayer ] Philadelphia
5 Dec 2008 Music Hall Of Williamsburg [ w/ Yeasayer ] Brooklyn



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