Wednesday, 24 February 2010
Panda Su/Julia and The Doogans/Sophie's Pigeons at Brel
Walking into Ashton Lane you would think you would be forgiven for thinking you were in continental Europe. Cobbled roads, fairy lights hangings across the top of the lane, wonderfully quaint buildings. The location of the gig compliments the bands playing to varying degrees.
Shuffling in late, my friend and I feel it polite to stand at the back, we are promptly told to sit at the front by Sophie's Pigeons front-woman, Sophie Nelson, who throughout the gig would laugh during songs, sing Sharika and generally have a good time. It rubbed off on me, as I was the only person in the crowd joining in a falsetto sing-a-long. The three piece from Manchester thundered through their set with their feel good bastardisation of Regina Spektor crossed with some disco biscuits. Their cover of 'She Wolf' by Sharika was a personal highlight, with Nelson's vocals yelping, while she demonstrated some top notch piano tinkering. They finished up with 'Boring Fucking Cunts' which I can only assume was aimed at the lackluster crowd, who were very reluctant to join in with anything that the band requested them to (apart from me, of course, always one to make a 'Stupid Fucking Cunt' out of myself).
Next up were Julia and The Doogans, a Glasgow five-piece whose foot is very much in the folk camp. Julia's vocals are reminiscent of Amy Millan (Stars, Broken Social Scene) and tonight she demonstrates her ability to transfer her songs into a live setting. Songs such as 'New York City' and 'Borderline' are almost lullaby-like, accenting the sleepy venue and crowd perfectly. Flanked by a cello and flute, The Doogans add depth and extra warmth to Julia's already soothing vocals. Many people in the crowd had their heads in their hands when Julia started her rendition of 'The Scientist' by Coldplay. This snobbery came back to bite them, as Julia nailed it, making it sound like just another Julia and The Doogans song. Lovely stuff.
Panda Su took to the stage next, I was excited to see her live as it was, shockingly, my first time. I was disappointed that she wasn't donning her panda face paint tonight, as I love a good bit of gimmickry. Su was backed by her usual accomplices Red and drummer Chris. Her blend of folk-pop had highlights such as the superb 'Eric is Dead' and a new working of 'Moviegoer'. I couldn't help feeling that through her set Panda Su were playing with a certain amount of restraint. As soon as a song seemed like it was about to climax, it didn't, and I was left waiting for the killer punch. This could have been due to the subdued crowd, with the sitting arrangement giving the venue a definite jazz bar feel. However, Panda Su are going to be massive, I have no doubt about that. With one of their songs about to be featured on 'a lesbian sex scene' (I presume they meant Skins), and an excellent e.p to boot, Panda Su have all the makings of a band who could actually transfer success into the charts. I just hope the next time I see them, the rest of the set grabs me like 'Eric is Dead' does.