Tracy Redhead, supported by Ken Watt, July 16th, Indian Ocean Hotel, Scarborough
Entertainment at The Indi Bar is a bit like Mark Harvey’s top lip; you’re never really quite sure what’s going on there. Seemingly endless residencies by stoner bands are erratically punctuated with one-off appearances by bands THAT YOU ACTUALLY WANT TO SEE (and the occasional fire) with little or no advance warning.
The Indi is pants at promoting these one-off gigs (in true third-best-rock-pub-in-town style their own visually arresting gig guide often operates in the past tense) so you have to keep your ear to the ground to have even a faint chance of knowing who’s actually playing. Luckily, I had my snout MikeyD, at the pub who rang and told me that cool-as-fuck JJJ darlings Tracy Redhead were on.
Tracy Redhead are touring to promote their new album Walking Home A Different Way and it was a free gig – probably the best Wednesday night’s live music in town – but there were only about 40 people there, and most of them were just the regular drunks. Fack me, get your promotional act together Indi people.
To open proceedings, Ken (Killer) Watt, the frontman for local eardrum-destroying outfit The M-16’s put in a solo set. His suit was natty, his voice was good and the man is a talented songwriter (and I dig the whole troubadour thang), but the sum total failed to add up.
He started with a hot-wired acoustic guitar which lent his first song a kind of bluegrass feel but he ditched that in exasperation and went electric which I think was the hitch. He was trying to finesse his playing style around some complex songs and, well, it mostly didn’t work. I dunno if a guitar is the best choice for his solo stuff. My snout suggested piano might work better and I tend to agree.
Alt-diva Tracy Redhead and her eponymous band hit the stage next and sounded astonishingly good (not a small accomplishment given the usual mixing quality and acoustics at The Indi). This girl can sing. Gorgeous effectively describes her voice and it lends the band’s nouveau-folk melodies an assured and confident quality that’s not often found in shoe-gazing indie outfits.
Unfortunately, my snout had attracted the attentions of an overly predatory cougar so we had to depart mid-gig, which was a damn shame. Tracy Redhead are playing around this weekend if you want to catch some triffic toons.