Indie Girl & Pop Boy

We Need A Little Edge With Our Electro Pop

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Long Blondes Live Review

[Lust In the Movies/Weekend Without Make Up/Madame Ray/In The Company Of Women/Fulwood Babylon/Giddy Stratospheres/Only Lovers Left Alive/You Could Have Both/Appropriation (By Any Other Name)/Once & Never Again/5 Ways To Heaven/Separated By Motorways]

Let’s not beat around the bush, The Long Blondes are one of the most exciting to happen to music in a long time. Yes, the Pipettes have the style, and yes, the Fratellis have the swagger, but the Long Blondes have both the style and swagger, in abundance. And then some.

Cool enough to be devoured by the indie population, fun enough to be pop and clever enough to last, Long Blondes’ sensational album ‘Someone To Drive You Home’ is timeless. Not in the Pipettes/Fratellis heavily influenced, mish-mash way, but in the fact that it could easily have been enjoyed five years ago, and may still be enjoyed fifteen years from now. The album dips into every genre and period of rock and roll so subtley and so effectively that you almost don’t even notice it.

One thing you do notice is Kate Jackson, who brings the front woman back to the fore, in an indie environment majoritively filled with Y chromosomes. Kate provides both the style, dressed coolly but not showy, making an effort, but not too much, and the swagger, delivering empowering, man-hating anthems for the indie generations and flipping between empathy and blood-spitting rage faster than it was physically thought possible. Without Kate the Long Blondes would be like any other good indie band, nice, catchy songs but no staying power. With Kate the band is transformed into a world-beating non-stop indie dance machine.

The point is, eventually, that I went back home to the West Midlands on Saturday (thus missing Girls Aloud at G-A-Y – dammit!) to see Kate and co. perform at the Birmingham Academy and despite being contained in the smallest room in the building, they raised the roof and rocked the house. The crowd was not, as I’d expected, full of teeny-boppers attending their first gig but instead a lot of ‘too-cool-to-dance’ older fans. This didn’t kill the fun factor though, as the crowd was still electric, and submitting to Kate’s every wish. Quite simply, everyone was too busy enjoying the show to dance and spill beer over people.

Kate’s voice is much better than I’d expected. Perhaps it’s the ‘atmosphere’ that adds to it, but she sounded ten times better live than she does on record. Her voice is stronger, her Sheffield accent strengthened and weirdly sounds much less strained than it does on record.

‘Giddy Stratospheres’, in particular, comes into a league of its own live. The song is somewhat let down by the verses, but the chorus comes alive, literally when it’s spat in your face turning it from one of the lesser album tracks to a potential 2007 festival favourite.

But, from the reaction to ‘You Could Have Both’ and ‘Once And Never Again’, the Long Blondes needn’t pull out any kind of magic tricks in order to win the crowd over. Kate has us all bopping in the palm of her hand.

The Long Blondes put on a top show, promoting their album, which I think you should all play at Hallowe’en/Guy Fawkes’/Thanksgiving/Hanukah/Christmas parties/shindigs/box-socials as it will set any mood you want, it’s open to interpretation. They finished their set with the meteoric ‘Separated By Motorways’ (made particularly poignant as me and my friends ARE) which had the atmospheric effect of setting of fireworks on stage and handing out sparklers. They were dazzling, they were shit-hot.

Easily one of 2007’s big live bands, not be missed. And who knows, maybe ‘Christmas Is Cancelled’ will get the release it so thoroughly deserves. Here’s hoping. It’s my Christmas Number One. And we’re only just into November.


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