One of my favourite things about living in London is the live music scene. There are bands and musicians playing every week, from the totally unknown to the internationally renowned. Being a huge music fan I've taken advantage of this as much as possible (though not as many times as I would like - an issue I intend on rectifying fully over the coming months, especially now that I live so close to one of London's most preeminent musical suburbs), but I've not really talked about it here because I figured hearing me gush about how great any gig was would be considerably less exciting than actually being there.
That said, I also love it when people put me onto amazing new music. So, in the name of musical education, I wanted to tell you about the brilliant band I saw on Saturday night.
I have to admit, my track record for getting places on time has been shocking this year. I tend to think London is much smaller than it actually is (Australian spacial arrogance), and so allow myself rather less time than I really need. But I went to see the Kooks with a friend of mine who is incredibly punctual, so I made it to the venue in time to see not one but both of the supporting acts. Which, in hindsight, was a very happy coincidence because the first support act was Scoundrels, a four piece indie/blues outfit who turned out to play the best live show I've seen all year.
We were so impressed by their performance at the Kooks that my friend and I went home and immediately bought tickets to their next London show. But come Saturday I was beginning to regret the decision. Having worked seven days a week for the past fortnight I got to the club wrecked, starving, and starting to worry the band weren't going to be as good as I seemed to remember. I could not have been more wrong; they were so much better than I'd thought. They play this fun, exciting blend of Brit-pop and southern zydeco that in words sounds ridiculous but in reality sounds phenomenal. Hearing a bunch of English boys playing the kind of deep south blues usually associated with older black men with harmonicas is something of an unexpected surprise, but by no means an unwelcome one.
Admittedly I was brought up on a steady diet of zydeco care of my mother (who once even took me to a blues fest to see her favourite zydeco band. I was the 12-year-old who danced like a crazy person in front of the stage and got to chat with the lead singer. I'm beginning to think my mum brought me up to be either really cool or a groupie), so I'm possibly predisposed to love this kind of music. After all it does remind me of my heady glory days, before I became an awkward teenager who bopped carefully at the back in a way painstakingly calculated to keep me out of the spotlight.
But putting to one side for a moment my own weakness for the siren call of the blues, this band are still mind blowing. They play with enjoyment and talent that conjured images of jamming for hours in garages soundproofed with egg cartons on lazy, rainy English afternoons. And they were charismatic. I swear, show me some guy with a guitar and I'll show you my "whatever, my brother's in a band" face; show me some guy with a guitar and charisma and I'm done for. The music is energetic and cheeky, the lyrics occasionally wistful but mostly tongue-in-cheek. There are honestly no words to describe how much I enjoyed this band. Which is why I usually don't try. I just end up sounding like an over-excited fangirl. Or my 12-year-old self.