Oxford band Stornoway were in Crawdaddy on Friday night, and a couple of The Clink were down there to sample some of the vibes.
While the Chocolate Bar may look nice, by God does it smell. A distinct smell of eau de toilet greeted us on the way in, and we swiftly made our way into Crawdaddy. Warm up act Land Lovers were playing, and while a couple of girls insisted on talking very loudly all through their set, they continued playing to receive some mixed reactions. I’ve heard some of their stuff before, but not in great detail, and found their live performance decent, if a little lacklustre. Others thought they were pants. There is work to be done there lads.
Moving on, the main event took to the stage to do their own set up. Struck me as a good sign, showing the lads to be down to earth if nothing else. Taking to the stage a second time saw them begin their set. And a very good set it was too. Comparisons were made to James and Cat Stevens during the night. Playing a mixture of instruments including a banjo, their music is mellow, laid back indie. A touch of folk, a dash of melody and a bit of kick for good measure make for some magical songs.
For a taster of their stuff, head over to their MySpace page and sign up the newsletter. You’ll receive a free track, On The Rocks, which is what they opened the gig with. A slow starting number, it picks up and builds to become what I can only describe as a haunting tune.
The star of the show is lead man Brian Biggs. The man has some truly piercing vocal ability, leaving listeners mesmerised, as you might have noted while listening to On The Rocks. Add to this a very dry wit and you’ve got yourself a lead man of true class. Biggs was telling us with his deadpan humour that we should be watching out for the Red Hot Chili Pipers, a band they discovered on they first trip to the Scottish island of Stornoway. And to calls from one fan for Zorbing, their best known track, he calmly replied “Ya, we’ll probably play that one.”
Zorbing has been on my radar a while, and should probably have made it into a Weekend Tunage slot – check it out.
The encore of the gig was a bit special too. Stornoway went unplugged for two tracks, and delivered both beautifully. The last track of the night was The End Of The Movie, which they deliver live quite often.
With a debut album, Beachcomber’s Windowsill, due on 24th May, I am very excited and am sure that they are a band I will be listening to for a while.