Friday, 24 July 2015

Of Arrowe Hill and The Teamsters: A Night Out in Camden

Of Arrowe Hill - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
A review of the Camden performances of Of Arrowe Hill and The Teamsters at two separate shows in two different venues on the same evening submitted by Blue Oystercard Cult.

Taking the stage at exactly 9.15 Of Arrowe Hill proceeded to play a set consisting of songs from their recent, and jaw droppingly brilliant “ A Conspiracy of Clocks” album,  and not content to rest on their laurels, several  impressive  new and as yet unreleased  songs.  Whenever I see this band play live a couple of things strike me.  The first is obvious. The song writing ability of Adam Easterbrook. Whether they are story songs such as “She’s Leaving? (No she’s Gone)”.  A song that puts me in mind of “Squeeze” at their very best, or whether its the intense lyrical rush of “And That’s What Really Happened Blues”, it feels like there was NO choice in the matter, each song HAD to be written, usually clocking in at around 2 minutes, they are sometimes melancholic, containing detailed, poetic accounting of life’s joys and sorrows, and never too far from a wry aside to ever allow proceedings to get maudlin. The other significant aspect is the three band members; appear to be “singing from the same song sheet”.  There are obvious collective “Mod” influences, whether they be in the clothes or guitars, and as a consequence, some of the songs from their recent aforementioned album are given added power and flesh to the bone live with great success. A new song with its “” references gave me the cold shiver of reality as this was the time I had to get up for work the following morning,  but you know what ,  when Of Arrowe Hill are playing,  (to nick one of their song titles) “Friday Night Applies”. 

I left the Dublin castle with a rough idea of how to get to The Constitution, and after confirming directions with the outside drinkers at a nearby pub (Keeping with the Mod referencing) all of whom could have passed the audition for Phil Daniels part in “Parklife”, I got to the venue. Initially I wasn’t sure if the band had already played or not. But fortunately they were still to go on. (It turns out about 15 minutes after I get there). With vintage records on the turntable and several examples of fine vintage clothing on display in the audience, The Teamsters took to the stage. The first thing I noticed is that they had changed drummers from last time I had seen them play. The drummer tonight was Bruce Brand, who I have heard of, but had never actually seen play before. It proved to be a good thing for the audience as on this evidence he is clearly a great drummer. His playing style is a perfect fit for The Teamsters. So, on with their set, despite them producing a relatively recent and excellent album, they played only a track or two from it. Tonight there were many new songs. 

Now, on some occasions, with some bands, this can put something of a dampener on proceedings, but this certainly was not the case on this occasion. For me, The Teamsters great strength is they  have a real understanding of the ”less is more” approach to the ‘beat’ style of music they play, a sound that many bands have tried to create , but very few pull off with such success. Singer and songwriter Tom Wing appears to have found the “sixties dust” in his guitar and speakers that Lee Mavers from the La’s was once searching for.  Songs that are direct, catchy, with choruses and hooks that draw you in and also have a real intense edge to them. It struck me that their new songs are closer now to the early Kinks sound (even throwing in a Kinks cover for good measure), and on first listen the new songs were immediate and impressive. As their set ended   I was left feeling lucky to have spent an evening watching two great bands who are both clearly, from tonight’s evidence, at the top of their respective games, and continuing to create great new music. And I also felt lucky that the timing of their sets meant I could get to see both bands at two different venues! 

Thank you very much to Blue Oystercard Cult for the great review. You can hear tracks by both bands in previous episodes of our Retrosonic Podcasts, please check out the full archive at Soundcloud here. The Teamsters photograph by Jason Baldock courtesy of Tom Wing. Please visit the websites of each band for news and information Of Arrowe Hill and The Teamsters.

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