The Mariner’s Children – The Luminaire, London – 04 March

It’s an odd atmosphere at The Luminaire – as the feeling of the inevitable sweeps ever closer – the consensus seems to ignore it in the hope it will disappear, which I wholly subscribe to. The inevitable being it’s immediate closure after this final fling of brilliant shows. In an ever-difficult industry, the Luminaire has stood proud by its own principles and embalming a notion that a few venues in London could look to adopt:

The perfect statement of gig etiquette is plastered across the walls of this fine venue and abided throughout – through chorus ‘shhhs’ when the bands begin – a testament that the ever increasing yapping, annoying gig-goer should take notice of.

Lulu & The Lampshades are on stage first, Luisa – sporting her hair in a fittingly lightbulb shape perched on the top of her head – is in fine voice tonight. They rattle through their set in a slightly ramshackle motion, which in fairness suits their off-kilter, folk music and ever-rotating instruments. The set highlight is by far ‘Cold Water’, which is irresistibly infectious and almost, almost has even the awkward by-stander moving – just a little.

Second to the stage is late addition Peggy Sue. They set out with their new material – and it sounds brilliant. Returning after recording with PJ Harvey producer John Parish, the result is a moodier, guitar driven sound with pounding, almost tribal drums and even a megaphone. Still the harmonised vocals remain, so do the playful interplay of guitars, but there is more ‘umph’ to the songs, ‘All We’ll Keep’ and the opening three songs (titles unknown/or drunkenly forgotten) feature distorted guitars galore. Rosa quips ‘we used to be so smooth’ as they fumble some oldies, but ‘Matilda’ and ‘Yo Mama’ get the crowd going. Judging by tonight, Peggy Sue have far more to offer than their swashbuckling debut, keep your eyes peeled.

Finally the night closes with The Mariner’s Children. Admittedly I had known little about this troupe before tonight – they had flown under my radar – I’m glad this is no longer the case. After some reconnaissance on their Myspace page I felt I knew what would be on offer; a fluctuating folk outfit with some beautiful dual vocals. This is partially what they delivered, but it was the stunning command lead singer Benedict held over the audience from the off that grabbed the attention. Forget lazy comparisons to Mumford & Sons, the 7-piece boast melodies, clapping, yelping and intrigue. They even managed to get the disco-ball moving – which to their folk music was a pretty bizarre effect – but as the ‘climax’ hits, Benedict conducts the light-tech to flip the ball into action. It’s always a great night when something brilliant and unexpected pops up to bring it to a close. Much can be said about the venue itself.

All three of the acts have brilliant material out, Lulu & The Lampshades released 7” double A side Cold Water/Cups on 14/02/11, Peggy Sue look set to release their new album soon, but debut Fossils & Other Phantoms is a must have in the meantime. The Mariner’s Children released EP New More Island which is currently in the post…

-Scott Kerr

 

 

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