Tuesday, 15 May 2007

if it's a question of timing, I'll wait....



Ghosts / Tiny Dancer @ The Social, Nottingham - 15th May 2007

I’ve heard lots of good things about Piccolino’s restaurant in Nottingham, but last night was the first time that I have actually eaten there. And it was very nice indeed… I had an absolutely splendid spaghetti carbonara, some tasty cheesy garlic bread and a couple of nice glasses of red wine. Of course, it was the company that really made it a special meal. Welcome back Hen.

But enough about my tea.

The main purpose of my foray into Nottingham town centre on a school night was to watch a double-header of Ghosts and Tiny Dancer at the Social. The ticket cost me the princely sum of £6.60, so I was expecting great things. I’ve vaguely heard of both bands, but I wasn’t sure that I had actually heard any of their material (apart from the little snippet of Ghosts you can hear in the background to that lovely clip of Maddie dancing to their instore appearance at Fopp a couple of months back). Not to worry though, I’ve read good reports of Ghosts in particular, and it’s always nice to go to a gig at the Social. It’s a small venue, with a capacity of perhaps a couple of hundred people, and even when it’s full you can almost reach out and touch the stage from anywhere in the room. Well, almost anywhere.



We arrived at perhaps 20:45 and the bar was pretty far from full. We duly wandered up to the front and admired the stage decorations. The stage is (of course) pretty small, but Tiny Dancer had crammed it full of flowers, fairy lights, stuffed toys, loads and loads of effects pedals and a picture of Alan Partridge pinned to the drumkit. Lord B had warned me that the band might not be entirely my cup of tea, but as we stood and waited for them to emerge, Faith No More’s cover of “War Pigs” was playing over the PA, followed by a bit of Muse. I hoped that was a good omen and wondered if I could get away with doing “War Pigs” at karaoke sometime. When Tiny Dancer picked their way onto the stage at a little after nine, I admired the guitarists vintage 1986 Dave Lee Roth tour t-shirt, noted that the singer appeared to be wearing my wedding shoes and settled back to enjoy the ride. They’re quite a hard band to pigeonhole. They’re not very heavy, but they use quite a lot of guitar. I honestly couldn’t tell you who they sound like, which is probably a good thing, isn’t it? The singer looks a tiny bit like Luke Haines but plays a funny little acoustic guitar. The drummer has full-on 1970s hippy hair and a groovy moustache. The bassist just looks like a bassist, albeit one in pointy shoes.



As you can see, the singer has a rather unique fashion sense. As well as my wedding shoes, tonight he was wearing the skinniest of skinny jeans, a rather odd t-shirt from Arizona with a tribal design on it, and he had some glitter stuck to his cheek. I saw him later on as the band were packing up (I love it when a band tidies up after themselves) and he had a load of masking tape stuck to his face.

He told us how he had been quite excited to be offered a gig in York, but had been forced to turn it down when he realised that they would be on the bill with an Oasis tribute act and that the headliner would be Pete from Big Brother. Oh, the giddy heights of fame, eh? They released a lot of balloons, and threw themselves about the stage with as much giddy abandon as they could in the space available (i.e. not much).

I liked them.



Ghosts came on at about 22:15 – apparently this was their second gig of the night, and they had just made their way back over from opening for Thirteen Senses at the Rescue Rooms (this news appeared to annoy Lord B a touch as he had been forced into a difficult decision by two bands he really wanted to see playing in the same town on the same night in different venues. Groove Armada were also playing at Rock City, but whether he fancied or not, he didn’t say). What can I say? Their singer looks like a cast off from the Charlatans, but they have quite a nice line in melodic and tuneful soft(-ish) rock music. They were also very drunk. Much to the singer’s annoyance, the comedy drummer kept interrupting him and moaning about his kick pedal being shit. In the ensuing pause as he tried to fix it, we were treated to renditions of “King of the Swingers” from Jungle Book and the theme tune to Neighbours. Kick pedal issues resolved, the band then played their single, “Stay the Night”, which sounded really good. They don’t seem quite as edgy as Tiny Dancer, but they have got some tunes and I think with a bit of luck they could easily get a bit of success. The banter between songs was pretty good too, with the drummer rambling on, moaning about this and that and asking the bassist to pass him a beer from behind the speaker stack, and the singer grumbling at the drummer and telling us how he wasn’t sure that six vodka red bulls were the ideal preparation for a gig. It was a touch shambolic, but it was the last night of their tour and they didn’t fluff any of their songs.

It was a good night, and they’re both bands to look out for (even if Tiny Dancer have now given me a chronic Elton John earworm problem).

6.5 / 10, and thanks to Lord B and to Hen for sharing their evening with me. Well, that bit anyway.

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