Live Gig Review: Babe Shadow, Boy Mandeville and The Caulfield Beats

April 14, 2010 § Leave a comment

Venue: Notting Hill Arts Club

Time: 13th April, 9pm – around 2am

My name is George, I am the younger brother of this blog.

I guess it was spur of the moment that ended me up at an 18+ Notting Hill gig at the dark part of yesterday. I was lured by Lawrence Northall’s The Caulfield Beats, an artist who we have blogged before and seems to be causing a stir beneath the busy roads of England’s capital. He’s been getting sniffed at by giants like and the International magazine LOUD AND QUIET where he was featured amongst artists like Mystery Jets. I was very interested to see a live set. In fact, I was quite unaware that there might be others performing.

I heard the guitars. And I saw these two fellows on the stage opening up to their respective microphones, every so often glancing at eachother with a reassuring look, reacting fondly to the sounds they made. The harmonies were more of a happening than a forcing, in fact the whole harmony that radiated between these performers seemed delightfully spontaneous, it felt good to watch, it felt good to hear. Maybe the spontaneous vibe was due to the fact that Babe Shadow are usually a four-piece, so maybe I didn’t get the whole package of what this band are about. Nevertheless, I caught a half hour snippet, and I enjoyed it hugely.

So, Boy Mandeville were next to make an entry. Right from the off, it was clear these guys were special. The lead singer huffed and howled appealingly over his sprinting drums and his dancing guitars; he was up for it.  They came together to combine a seemingly strong but sweet eye-contact with their smiling observers – not one spectator who was standing in front of that band were left outside of the performance, we were all in that performance together. It was amazing.

Last of all, after all the sweat and tambourines (even maracas!), a somewhat shabby-looking figure took to the stage. He didn’t have a guitar. In all honesty, The Caulfield Beats had a big act to follow, it was hard to think that the perhaps tired legs of the audience wouldn’t stand in the way of confidence or even optimism as to how this live set would turn out. He started pressing the buttons though, the dials were turned, the lights flashed consistently, the whole entire performance arpeggiated into something beyond sweet, something beyond what his predecessors had been nosing about, something beyond all those trodden chord schemes. The sounds that were coming out to the dancing onlookers were brain-blowingly good and well-timed. The decisions he took were so effortlessly shiny that you didn’t even realise they existed. You didn’t need eye-contact with this guy, you just needed to be there, you just needed to hear it, to soak it up, to cut-off and release all urge to stand still.

The Caulfield Beats – Take Push Take

Babe Shadow – Sea Serpants (live)

Boy Mandeville – Raisin Snake (live and seemingly acoustic)

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