Tuesday, February 16, 2010

mv&ee at The Cube, Bristol 14/02/10

This was the last night of Matt and Erika's latest European tour. Just the two of them joined by Mick Flower from Vibracathedral Orchestra on bass.

This was some kind of Valentine's Day all-dayer. I saw The Doozer play a set to a tiny audience. He had a bass player with him this time, and seems to have been busy writing songs in the style of fellow Cambridge resident Syd Barrett (musically, that is - he doesn't attempt Barret-like vocals). They finished with "I'm Too Old For Public Transport" (the only song I recognised from seeing him before), joined by mv + Mick Flowers, which was turned into an extended noise jam.

I met up with Melski between bands and we ended up at the merchandise table chatting with mv about the endless proliferation of recordings which they seem to generate. We stuck our heads into the auditorium to get a snapshot glimpse of the utterly incomprehensible Orchestra Intangible (two people with cloths wrapped around their heads, one on his/her knees playing clarinet, and another seated, holding what appeared to be a tiny kettle, against a backdrop of sequenced beats and psychedelic projections).

Golden Ghost were quite good - lovely drawly dreamy vocals like Mazzy Star or Patti Smith gone country or something, nice electric guitar/drum interplay and a painfully shy backing singer.

mv&ee started with "Cold Rain" and then the old gospel song "Get Right Church" (a boogie version with The Doozer on harmonica - not bad). Erika was playing quite a bit of lap steel and wah-wah electric mandolin. Matt broke out his banjo and we got an earsplitting, yet beautiful and crystalline lapsteel/autoharp(?)(Mick Flowers)/banjo feedback jam...trippy lightshow and typically oblique mv announcements. I really don't know what to make of his guitar solos these days, though. Some people seem to think he's an incredible guitarist, but an uninitiated audience member could easily think that he could hardly play the thing - some *really* odd choices of notes...so odd that it's hard to imagine this was "avant garde" or "experimental" - it just sounded *wrong* to me (and I'm a fan). mv is undisputably a master of making weird noises and textures with an electric guitar and a rack of effects, but beyond that I just don't know. Everything Erika was doing was spot on. The music would build up to a peak of intensity and then it seemed like Matt would be seized by an urge to play a wild, ripping guitar solo, but we ended up getting these curiously random sounding (and very loud) things instead. Melski and I were just laughing out loud at one point (still enjoying it though) - the best word I could think of was "inappropriate".

I would have left after that, but there was one more act - old friends of The Cube visiting from their new home in France, Jesse Morningstar & This is the Kit (Jesse's partner Kate). This was a nicely English constrast to the very American mv&ee. Kate's got an amazing presence, vocal and otherwise; Jesse's general persona, guitar style and arrangements were just lovely - beautiful harmonies...an owl mask...an incredibly sweet cover of Sam Cooke's "Cupid". I couldn't help thinking of the Incredible String band. Nice way to end the evening...


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