04 November, 2008

Review: Crayonsmith live at Whelans, 31/10/08

As readers of this blog will have noticed, this writer is trying in her small way to instigate a revolution in the world of music journalism by de-personalising and re-contextualising her own music writing, pop, rock or otherwise. They would probably also have noticed that she is nevertheless (cheerfully) failing at both revolutionary attempts, general and personal. Oh well, no matter. To this end, however, I usually try my hardest not to use words like 'favourite', but I can find no way around saying that Crayonsmith are currently my favourite band playing the Irish music scene (yes, even above Fight Like Apes).

Readers will probably also know that I would even consider White Wonder a favourite album of the last few years, but it was not until this year’s HWCH that I could finally catch the band live, and while the difficulties inherent in converting something so reliant on multitracking and samples to a live setting must be acknowledged, honestly the Crayonsmith live show is not going to change the entertainment world. But they have something that too many bands overlook: an easy-going, relaxed and comfortable attitude. The fans are, almost to a man, equally easy-going but energetic. Crayonsmith’s gigs are, simply put, fun.

Unfortunately, turnout to this Halloween (the band themselves dressed as the Three Amigos) was disappointing. Which in a way was probably just as well, as trying to dance (yet again unsuccessfully) like the 60s chick I was dressed as proved to be quite difficult when you end up acting as the filling in a Grim Reaper/Jaws/Large Hadron Collider triple decker sandwich. Evidently, many people decided that a good-natured musician from Cork was an insufficiently terrifying a Halloween musical treat as, say, the Warlords of Pez. Certainly Crayonsmith failed to come even close to the soul-rending awfulness that was their support. First, a 'humourous' storyteller with piano accompaniment whose terrible punning and poor grammar hurt roughly two-thirds as much as Talula Does the Hula's charmless noise, although it soon became apparent that the reason they hadn't noticed the horrifically out-of-tune guitar is because they have almost no musical talent, apart from cheap hooks.

A last complaint is that Crayonsmith, while playing an excellent set, had so little new material to showcase. Although songs from heavily production-reliant White Wonder are given such new life and a whole different spin when played live, more new material would have added a greater sense of discovery and interest to their gig, instead of being akin to a retelling of old stories. But, as already said, this Crayonsmith gig was fun, ending in a stage invasion which bouncers seemed not bothered enough about to prevent.

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