Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Feisty and her Sounds

I've been neglecting the old blog of late, busy times. I saw a gig so good on Sunday though, IT HAST AWOKEN ME FROM MY SLUMBER; Leslie Feist at the Royal Albert Hall.

I am a big Feist fan but for whatever reason was not expecting the show to be that great. I have grown to be a bit 'over' all that folky-dolky shit, you know, bands called 'Mountain Wolves', 'Horses of Destiny' or something. That reminds me; at one point my band was going to rename itself from 'The Brian Jacket Letdown' to 'Horsepower'. Great names both.

Feist has transcended that scene (not that she has ever been part of it, but tends to be categorised alongisde beard-sporting, cardigan-wearing types) by virtue of having a schmlash worldwide hit '1234' (included on her awesome 2nd album 'The Reminder'), propelled into the stratosphere via the only way white people's music can; the ubiquitous iPod advert.

She somewhat retreated into the background with her new album 'Metals', a subdued, defiantly alt-country record with no obvious 'hits', but the genius of Feist is her songwriting's ability to get under your skin in a completely cool and understated way.

If 'musical enjoyment' were a female, then mainstream pop music is the equivalent to a rapist, molesting you with brute pop force, screaming hooks down your ear in a guantanamo-music-torture style, and then running away into the darkness after 3 minutes. Feist and her ilk would be more of a casanova-type, seducing you instead over the course of an evening with fine wine and intelligent banter; a generally much more enjoyable experience.

Anyway, I digress. This evening was all about this new album; it was played almost in it's entirety, and even old favourites like 'Mushaboom' (tune) were given a sonic makeover, as if they had featured on this new set of tunes. Line-up wise, it was Feist on guitars and vocals; a dude on a tasty setup of keyboards (I spotted an Upright Piano, Jenco Celestette, Rhodes Piano Bass, Vox Continental and Juno 60); a drummer; a crazy Holger-Czukay-looking-motherfucker on all manner of weird stuff (bowing things, custom-manuscript-wind-up-music-boxes, guitars, mallets, sound effects) and as if that wasn't enough; the amazing (but appallingly named) Mountain Man on wondrous three-part harmony backing vocals.

As if this weren't all amazing-o enough, Feist herself was a monster on guitar. Great feel, great touch and a uniformly BRILLIANT sound on every single guitar she played; Nylon Strings, Parlour Guitars, Gibson 335 (?) and even something that looked like a Les Paul. I think her workhorse guitar is an old Martin Acoustic; again, absolutely gorgeous sounding. All electrics I could see were mic'd esoteric amps, old combo amps from the 50's.

So yeah, it was an amazing gig and she was hilarious (think she has been involved in comedy in the past), and it just made me think how attention to detail is so important. This is a group of people who truly, truly care about their sounds, and the audience reaped the rewards. The live show sounded fucking ANALOGUE. To the musicians out there, next time you pull out that Guitar Rig preset, or Software Synth, or take a Nord Lead to a gig, just don't be such a pussy. Get that shit REAL sounding. Take time over your sounds. ETC ETC ETC ETC

OK bye

P.S My friend Karin snapped that photo on her phone. Normally I would have slapped her about the head for being 'that person' that gets their phone out at gigs, but this was an experience to capture. I'll remember this gig for LONGTIME