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Derby - The Venue

November 24, 2008

1 out of 5 2 out of 5 3 out of 5 4 out of 5 5 out of 5

by Mongomery Clift


Tired of big venue stadium rock?  Need a change from predictable ColdPlay type bands?  The Guillemots at Derby (24th Nov) were refreshing & unique.  How can a band with a lead singer named 'Fyfe Dangerfield' not be intriguing?!


A gig of no more than 800 but you sense that this is what the band wants.  They play music for music's sake & mingle with the audience afterwards.  This band should be massive because they are different.


Wiry, left handed guitarist, Mr Dangerfield struck the chords of opener 'Get Over It' - zany & powerful & during the course of the gig, each band member (& road crew) chipped in to play different instruments; keyboards, lead guitar, bass, handheld bontempi organ & bin lid for Fyfe alone!


Highlights included 'Made Up Lovesong' from the first album 'Through the Windowpane' and 'Don't Look Down' from the 2nd album 'Red.'  The sound is fresh & vibrant, underpinned by powerful drumming (Greig Stewart) & a double bass foundation, from female member, Aristazabel Hawkes, who also has her own mini drum kit, rotates to keyboards when required and beautifully backs up Fyfe Dangerfeild's extensive vocal range.  Songs such as 'We're Here' (see Guillemots website, Forum, for full set list) are poignant but are never allowed to be too commercial, before a zany sound effect (whistle, kettle drum, watch alarm, glockenspiel) bring you back to the subtle nuances of the sounds.


 After the haunting 'Falling Out of Reach' - sung as a keyboard solo by Fyfe, the gig exploded with the astonishing power of 'Kriss Kross' (you'll vibrate like a tuning fork without having to move) and the anthemic rocky buzz that is 'Trains to Brazil' - perhaps the best known track, played at The Mercury Prize Awards, 2 years ago and at the Cheltenham Festival.  The true diverse nature of the band was summed up by the unconventional finish - a speeded up 'Sao Paulo' with all of the band (& crew) given 'carte blanche' to chip in with the nearest instrument to hand - drums, bin lids, tweeters, woofers and the like.  'That was a new version of that song' ruefully commented Mr Dangerfield, who kept it fast & pacy with strong lyrics.  It is hard to think of a contemporary singer with as much vocal range.  And then he comes out alone to finish off the gig - with a hand held bontempi - the type you had for Xmas, as a 12 year old - to sing perhaps the weakest song on 'Through the Windowpane'  ('Blue would still be blue') - a strange wailing monologue - but sung to perfection and to a silent, admiring audience who throughout the gig,  had wondered what would be happening next.


 And when you shuffle over to the merchandising stand, intrigued to know more about the four that have produced this weird, wondeful & unforgettable set - Messers Dangerfield & Stewart are standing behind you - friendly, urbane, modest & be-lying the diverse & extraordinary talent that should have them filling stadiums nation-wide.  But then this wouldn't be the Guillemots - fresh, vibrant, diverse and incapable of categorisation.  Although they deserve commercial success, you would somehow feel let down.  If you get a chance to see them, if the Derby gig is anything to go by, it will be quite different from most gigs you've seen, at the very least for its intimacy & satisfaction value. 



This review is the subjective opinion of the individual reviewer and not of ConcertBuzz

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Rating: 2.5/5 (38 votes cast)

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Comments    1 comments on this document

On 12/07/2008 at 10:04:07 [PST] PeterP wrote:
Great review...almost felt I was there!
I'll look out for them if they ever come to the USA.


Comments    1 comments on this document


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