Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Admiral Fallow

24th January 2017

la belle angele, Edinburgh

Last year, when driving into work along Edinburgh’s Queensferry Road, I had noticed a cryptic message which had been placed on a lamp post, rather in the manner of those erected on polling day.  

But this sign, rather than advertising the name of some election hopeful or other, proclaimed “Mt. Doubt cometh” with an imminent date following.  I initially took this to be some slice of god-bothering nonsense, similar to the John 3:16 signs which would occasionally pop up at major events on TV.  

But I later found out Mt. Doubt to be the name of a local beat combo – the message being, I imagine, some retro low-tech form of advertising.  Intriguing though it was, it did not quite entice me to investigate further at the time, but I have to say I did make the effort to get along to La belle angele early to catch their support set this evening.

And although lead man Leo Bargery may look as if he rather wished he had been around to join the likes of The Groundhogs or The Edgar Broughton Band, his pop-flavoured alt-rock sounded freshly up to date.

Pleasingly complex sounding tunes like Sheer and Utter, Tourists and Afterglow were fleshed out with some restrained synth playing, and Annie Booth's reassuring acoustic guitar strumming.  Whilst the curiously titled Soft Wrists built from a moody Edwyn Collins-esque ballad into a really rather endearing Pearl Jam-tinged thrash.

Further digging on my part required. I feel.

Leo Bargery

Mt Doubt

Admiral Fallow - La Belle Angele - 2017

Louis Abbott - La Belle Angele - 2017

Sarah Hayes - La Belle Angele - 2017

Admiral Fallow - La Belle Angele - 2017

Headliners (if such a term is appropriate here) Admiral Fallow, I knew rather more about; Daughter having returned from T in The Park a few years back frothing about the band.  Built around the slightly horizon-tilted musical vision of Louis Abbott, the band, we learned, were actually celebrating the tenth anniversary of their debut gig this evening.  

A decade is no mean feat, I suppose, when one considers just how difficult it must be for non-Premier League bands to make ends meet these days.

Musical versatility is clearly this outfit's key to longevity, I feel.  For I noted four of the six band members had keyboards in front of them, which they were expected to play – although I don’t think we did get all four doing so at once.  Four, including drummer Philip Hauge obviously, had pieces of drum kit to bash away at, as and when proceedings required.  Add to this mix occasional flute and clarinet and an, at times, really rather mesmeric sound was the result.

Layered on top of was, of course, Abbott's unique vocal style.  Shamelessly singing in a broad Scottish Central Belt accent, he effortlessly negotiated his way around some odd lyrical twists and challenging time changes.

My only criticism was that Abbott did seem inclined to sing throughout pretty much all of what were, I assume, his songs.  On a number of occasions, the rhythm section had just set up a pleasing groove, over which the rest of the band had began to develop all manner of beguiling intertwining musical textures.  But then Crash – Down would come the portcullis – and the song would abruptly end.  Leaving me just ever so slightly unfulfilled; a musical equivalent of coitus interruptus, one might say.

I touched upon this observation with band member Sarah Hayes when blagging her set list copy, opining, slightly tongue-in-cheek, that “The songs were too short, and that he (Abbott) needed shut up occasionally, and let the band play.”

But I think she took me too literally, for I was presented with a stony stare as if I had just enquired whether she could possibly find her way clear to having a couple of my babies.

Clearly criticism of the boss, however light-heartedly intended, was not to be tolerated. 

Set list
(from the written intended set list – the band may have deviated here and there) 

Happened in the Fall
Guest of the Government
The Paper Trench
Liquor and Milk
Dead Against Smoking
Building as Foreign
Squealing Pigs
Easy as Breathing

Old Balloons

Admiral Fallow - La Belle Angele - 2017

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