I first heard the Guillemots when I bought The Sunday Times ‘Best songs of 2006’ compilation on iTunes – such a good idea, it’s a shame they didn’t do it again for 2007. The single We’re here was included in the collection and it grew on me with its interesting chord changes, wistful lyrics (“…the world is our dancefloor now – remind me how to dance again…?”) and Fyfe Dangerfield’s soaring vocals.
Here’s what they played:
Made up love song #43, Clarion, Through the windowpane, Falling out of reach, Last kiss, Standing on the last star, Words, Don’t look down, If the world ends, Get over it, We’re here, Kriss kross … Trains to Brazil, Sao Paulo.
I promised myself at the beginning of the year that I’d go to more gigs and have pretty much failed to go to *any* since then! This week marks the end of the drought, I hope. While I enjoyed the gig, I did think it was just too loud. It started to go downhill sonically during Don’t look down, where the second half of the song – on the album an interesting piece of programming that nods towards the band’s shared love of Bjork – became a noise fest. I realise it must be difficult to reproduce something live that is so crafted but I felt a bit short-changed by the reliance on noise. The single, Get over it, suffered from a similar dependence on noise; drummer Greig Stewart fairly melts the drums!
The last song of the set, the epic Sao Paulo saw every member of the crew on stage at the end brandishing a percussion instrument – Fyfe bashing a bin lid! I don’t know if they do this at every gig (this was the last night of their tour, so it may have been we’re-going-home exuberance) but it was just way too much and, for me, spoiled the night.
One thing I do like about seeing bands live is that it adds a visual element to your subsequent listening, for example there’s a great guitar riff in Clarion that really stood out when guitarist MC Lord Magrao played it in the gig – I hadn’t really noticed it on the recording but now I love that song because of my enjoying it so much at the gig. Thankfully it takes a lot more for a band to put us off a recording by doing a bad performance…
Another visual highlight was When the world ends, which was lovely. Magrao played some atmospheric bird/dolphin type sounds high up on the guitar as the others laid down a rolling 6/8 groove; shafts of light shifted on the stage giving it an undersea appearance which set the tone for more wistful lyricism.
We’re here was performed in a stripped down, slower solo version by Fyfe, playing a lovely big guitar with f-holes.