P.J. Emms Jnr:- Stand Up Drums, Guitar and Lap-steel
Heddy Korachi-Alaoui:- Drums.
Natty Defriend:- Trumpet.
Charlie Berringer:- Trumpet
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18 March 2009
Bookhouse Boys to Tour the UK
The nine-strong Bookhouse Boys have announced a short tour of the UK next month following the success of their first earlier this year and with a press release boasting adjectives such as "Cramps-esque", "Nick Cave" and "Ennio Morricone" (yes, they are both adjectives!), it sounds like a mix that`s not to be missed.
The band rose in popular through their underground vinyl releases `Tonight` and `Dead` and had previous single `Can`t Help Myself` picked up by all the right people at BBC Radio 1, BBC 6 and XFM.
Four guys? A tousle-haired singer and a shirtless drummer? Tight angular indie rock with machine gun pose guitar? Yeah, it doesn`t take the most perceptive to realise one of their key influences are a certain bunch of feisty, frosty primates. However, truly original bands come along less often than decent Fall albums and local outfit The Marionettes have a lot more going for them than most.
Their set shows massive promise particularly the dynamic between bassist / lead vocallist Padraic and ultra-enthusiastic drummer Derek. Conversely, their twin guitarists Daryl and Andrew appeared a little unsure at times, particularly around the third song of the set, but with no discernible slip in sound quality.
"It`s quite good and quite cheap and you can get it in One Up" says Padraic of their new single. It`s also very fast, very loud and very promising. At a time when the music business is running itself ragged to sign and promote synth-based and largely throwaway pop, here are a bunch of lads willing to turn the clock back all of four years to remind us guitar music still has a lot of unfinished business.
It`s Easter Sunday tonight and, with another four eggs to get through and Borat on the telly, many have chosen to stay at home tonight. However, fifty or so punters have made their way to Moshulu to see the highly-rated nine-piece The Bookhouse Boys and it`s quite a spectacle to watch the black-clad nonet (including, yes, two drummers) play a chilling spaghetti western piece as they gradually assemble before the stage. This may be the smallest band member to crowd member ratio you`ll ever see and it`s probably an undeservedly close relationship - especially when the sheer noise of `Shoot You Down` would have the power to reach an audience a thousand times the size.
For the uninitiated, key reference points you`ll need to imagine the sound of the Bookhouse Boys live range from The Tindersticks crash-landing fifty miles south of California and being greeted by a dehydrated, warped and maniacal Quentin Tarantino to The Last Shadow Puppets fleshed out by a chance meeting with Billy Childish. While Alex Turner and Miles Kane have merely scratched the surface of an "epic soundtrack" scene, The Bookhouse Boys are already the lifeblood. If I were a scene-obsessed, NME staffer from the 90`s I would call it Psycho-Billy-Fury but I`m not so I won`t.
With `Yer Blue` - a cross between Sabres of Paradise classic `Wilmot` and the sound of someone discovering two dismembered bodies in their freezer - the pace of the show changes dramatically and the slow, drumless follow-up track falls foul, irritatingly, to the audible chatter of a large part of the audience - who clearly have paid to chat through the headline act. At this point the band seem to lose the crowd altogether with another banjo-led ballad. Standing next to the sound desk, what I hear is more than a dull audience murmur, more a full-on debate of where bank-holidaymakers plan to head next. It doesn`t help that the song in question, one with a twisted carnival outro, would barely work on record let alone to a difficult to please audience. A "new track" pinches liberally from `You`ll Never Walk Alone` but does little to pick up the mid-set ennui and at this point it looks as though the Bookhouse Boys may have successfully cancelled out their spectacular start.
Of course what better way to get everyone back on side than the gigantic instrumental clap-a-long that follows. It may be no more than a variation on Dick Dale staple `Misirlou`, but finally the band are rewarded by a drunken cheer then another following an impressive duet from vocallists Paul and Citty, the diminutive yet charismatic Paul leaping on to the drum riser with a seemingly voracious need for extra height. With the small crowd well and truly back on side, a gloriously rockabilly `I Can`t Help Myself` is rewarded with the biggest cheer of the night before the darkly theatrical `I Believe` closes the show, spurning a grand exit in favour of leaving quietly by the back door.