By Kenny McMurtrie
October 11, 2011
Quite a night for seconds this – only Chapel Club’s second time in the city, the second time they’ve played their new songs and their time on stage was split into two, albeit loosely. This last fact though was, along with some beer-on-electrics related volume issues, a minor sore point with some in the audience. Punters expect to recognise what they’ve paid to hear, at least within the first couple of numbers after a band takes to the stage, but as the intention to play half a dozen new songs first and then unleash the album material wasn’t articulated at the start of the show bemusement was the common theme after about twenty minutes.
Having been advised what to expect though, the spare, bare bulb lit new material (particularly the second track with its New Order-ish bassline) went down well with me on the whole. Only one track was named (‘Shy’) and a further one had rather an overdose of mellotron and synth but that could have been as much to do with the beer incident as anything else. Either way these songs exhibit clear (but not massive) experimental dabblings with the sound you’ve come to expect and it was a pleasure to in a sense be witnessing the lads’ evolution in person.
Having been sufficiently primed by the “first set” the small but appreciative crowd got exactly what they wanted from the opening bars of ‘Surfacing’onwards. Chucking in the Facebook downloadable ’Waterlight Park’ before creating a small, pogoing sea at the stage front for closers ‘Five Trees’ and ‘The Eastern Girls’ this was a necessarily short but sweet blast through the highlights of Palace before the assembled faithful left suitably happy with a night of cutting edge indie under their belts.
First support tonight comes from locally based The Nature Boys so upon first stepping down to the performance space I’m confronted by the audience standing at the back of the hall whilst a hairy and half naked singer roams around the greater part of the dancefloor, interspersing the songs with complaints of bad indigestion. With a sound akin to that of The Parkinsons and the obvious influences that brings to mind, their’s is a solidly punky performance, one that I’d like to catch right from the start in the future – although maybe without the partial nudity, thanks very much.
Second on the bill are Clock Opera, Guy Connelly’s outlet for his burgeoning collection of messed with found sounds (so that “steel band sample” could in fact be anything). Coming on like a muscular ABC flirting with A Certain Ratio there’s a lot of instrument swapping as well as obvious talent and a commendable beard on display but for all the talent evinced in songs such as ‘Lost Boys’ and single ‘Lesson No. 7’ the overall effect is not unfortunately very emotionally engaging. Music of its time but not posterity, as things currently stand.