Three teams in the Boat Race

As gigs go tonight’s was brilliant. If you can imagine a concert with three bands, each of which was worthy of headlining on their own, you might get the picture.

First up was Byrne who I can only describe as indescribable. They were rocktastic, musical, and just god damn lovely. They really should be at Wembley rather than a tiny club in Cambridge. Great things will come of them, I promise you.

After a brief interlude Saloon came on who were a lot more pedestrian (much to my embarrassment since I mentioned to the bass and violin player how much I preferred Byrne). They sounded an awful lot like Stereolab.

The Broken Family Band were, as always, fantastic. Not as much banter as usual, but I think it’s because they were nervous. Instead of the usual floating backing singer (Mary happened to be in Bulgaria) they had a guy playing the accordion/squeezebox and I have to say it worked rather well, lending a very Cajun sound to the proceedings. I would hope that both accordion and female backing singers become a permanent fixture as this would give them a much needed boost to their sound.

And to top it off, some of us headed to KamBar, which on alternate Saturday nights is indie. T’was rather good and to prove what a small town Cambridge is Mick, the drummer from the Broken Family Band was there, giving the sign of the horns as was strange Forbidden Planet guy.

Herman’s Broken Hermits

Cover of "King Will Build a Disco"
Cover of King Will Build a Disco

The first gig of 2003 turned out to absolutely fantastic. We went to see The Broken Family Band, Herman Dune, and Of Montreal at the Portland Arms. All three bands were great, but Broken Family Band stole the show with their mixture of Crowded House style jangles, country affectations, and tongue in cheek humour. They’re a local Cambridge band and seem to be destined for big things – keep an eye out for their EP that’s just out.

Herman Dune were very different. A strange mixture of the Velvet Underground and They Might be Giants they sported some regulation length CAMRA beards and made for a fun and interesting kind of band.

Of Montreal were more typical Indie rock and ended the night with the crowd going wild, which wasn’t bad considering the venue was smaller than our living room. Very much a standard punky sort of thing, they had a great sound and seemd to enjoy what they were doing. Ending on Black Sabbath’s War Pigs made sure that we all left feeling pretty high. Those of us who knew what War Pigs was – naming no names, of course…

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