Live review: Bachelorette, Hook And The Twin, The Title Sequence at the CAMP, London, 22nd June 2011
I went to my 12th gig of the year last night, so I thought it was about time I tried to write a review of one! The venue was The City Arts and Music Project, near Old Street tube station in London. The stage is in the basement, which is accessed by a staircase next to the main bar. It’s a spacious room with a decent-sized elevated stage, with décor which is very much “tatty urban chic” – or maybe it’s just never been decorated. Anyway, it has the right feel for a gritty indie venue. The bar in the venue area only serves bottled beer, and it’s not the cheapest.
The band I came to see was Hook And The Twin, who I have been following since I first saw them play live in January 2010. They were the second of three acts playing tonight.
As is usually the case, I turned up too early, and I was the first one into the venue. A couple followed me in a few minutes later, although one of them disappeared for a while.
Rather embarrassingly, by the time the opening act The Title Sequence took the stage at 8.45 pm, I was one of only two people in the audience! This was rather a shame, as they were excellent. A duo comprising David Bailey on guitar and Nick Crofts on keyboards, the centrepiece of their stage set is a reel-to-reel tape deck which provides extra backing to their sound. The music is a kind of indie-folk, at times dreamy and hypnotic. The closing number “Evening Spent With You”, the b-side of their debut single, was particularly impressive, building to a soaring crescendo. They are a band well worth investigating, and I have already purchased their single from iTunes on the strength of this performance.
The audience had increased to 17 by the time The Title Sequence finished their set, and continued to grow as Hook And The Twin set up their equipment. When I saw them play live last year, it was just the duo of Tom Havelock on guitar, bass, keyboards and vocals, and Marcus Efstratiou on drums, the live sound built up using layer upon layer of looping. This year, they have added James and Anna Vincent from indie pop band My Tiger My Timing to the live line-up. James shares the guitar and bass duties with Tom, and Anna adds extra keyboards and backing vocals, creating a more organic live sound. They opened with last year’s single “Bang Bang Cherry”, although it didn’t go to plan as Tom’s effects microphone failed to produce the required vocal effects! Nevertheless they played on, and completed a superb set of six songs, with new tracks “Tribes” and “We’re So Light” standing out.
The headline act was Bachelorette, which consists solely of New Zealand-born Annabel, who has been around long enough to have already made three albums. Her stage set is somewhat unusual, two tables supporting a huge flight case, on top of which sit a couple of laptops, a keyboard, and various other mixing/sequencing boxes. Her music is built around electronic looping and ethereal vocals. The most obvious reference point is Laurie Anderson, of “O Superman” fame. It’s all very impressive how she controls all the gadgets at her disposal to build up the sounds through looping, but much of the time it seems she is more focussed on fiddling with the laptop than looking at the audience. It just feels a bit lacking in performance value, rather like watching a DJ at work. Interesting, but not as engaging as I would have hoped.
An enjoyable night, anyway, and excellent value at £6 for two hours of original and diverse music.
The Title Sequence:
Hook And The Twin: