Review: (by Fiona Clark, from Salient, 1 August 2005)
My favourite thing about the anti-smoking legislation is that it gives you an excuse to leave a venue. I don't smoke, but I took it up for this gig. I'll do anything to avoid the suffocating karaoke bar atmosphere of Blue Note; my lung capacity was a small price to pay for those moments of casual escape.
Because I had to rush off to buy some cancer sticks and take up smoking, I only managed to catch the tail end of Quarters of the Orange. Considering they only formed three weeks ago they did a promising job of warming the crowd up. They even got away with a decent Scissor Sisters cover - hell, if I believed in marriage I'd let them sing cover songs at my wedding. Give them a guy on a trumpet and they'll go places! By "places I mean regular Wednesday nights at Bristol.
Cue Tummybug - a guy doing his best to freeze the crowd out. He pretty much evicted the audience. Opening with a song in which the only lyric heard is a painfully delivered "kill myself" isn't a great set plan. I had my suspicions about his sound engineering until I realised he was the sound guy. This is my golden analogy; doctors should enver self-medicate. He did manage to make some interesting sounds which, if intentional, we rather impressive. And if his lyrics were supposed to have a Violent Feemes-esque irony then they were rather amusing. If there was no intended irony then... I'm very sorry. (I think the irony was intentional, but don't quote me on that - daph)
After that I needed to smoke. Inside the crowd became officially intimate. People often say a crowd is "intimate" when what they really mean is "incestuous". I should clarify that Daphne Lawless is a self-professed fan of the famously self-indulgent progressive rock genre. (A reviewer who did her homework first? I'm impressed! - daph) The thing is that, like prog rock, keyboard solo artists appeal to a limited fan base. Throw in militant politics and covers of bands as obscure as the Sisters of Mercy (??? If you think the Sisters are obscure you should see some of the stuff I listen to - daph) and you've got yourself a marketing nightmare. But Lawless seems to be riding the wave of a cult of personality. Her guttural performances and melodies with hints of Journey (GAAAH! Them's fightin' words - daph) are... fascinating, if a little petrifying. With a church organ and rows of tuneful shoop-shoop girls she could probably spawn a healthily disturbing cult.
My genre of choice is the kind of one-guitar folk music wherein witty banter is fundamental, and I'd say Lawless' intelligent between-song babble is probably her marketable talent. I also suspect devotees are anticipating the day she abandons all formality and just does bitter, manic, 1980s performance poetry. (Would any devotees care to comment? - daph) Add strobe lighting and her streaks of vulnerability and you'd have an act well worth seeing.
(There you have it, folks - another in the fine Salient tradition of reviews of my music which can boil down to the three letters "WTF"! By the way, the official new name of the fan club is "The Cult of Personality" - daph)
[Home] [About] [Discography] [Appearances] [Purchase] [Contact]