Shepherds Bush Gig
Reviewer: Julie Davis
Damien opened with The Professor, the first half of the song was
acoustic with just him and the guitar and then the band came crashing in
when he started singing the 'I don't know' parts....they then morphed
the song into David Gray's "Babylon" which was received really well.at
the end of the song, Damien treated us to the longest "held note in one
breath" since Bill Withers set the previous record on 'Lovely Day'!
As he prepared to sing 'I Remember', Damien made a comment about being
in a relationship with someone that is based largely on fantasy and then
having said 'relationship' broken off. It raised a laugh from the
crowd. As Lisa started singing, I overheard a woman behind me just say
one word, 'beautiful'. The band treated us to a real live rock and roll
ending to the song with crashing cymbals and flashing stage lights.
Before launching into 'Older Chests', Damien described how he came to
write the song. He was making romantic comparisons to the architecture
of old (made me think of Hardy's 'Christminster') and the energies put
into it compared to the "cardboard boxes" of the modern day. He said
the same of old cars and even old guitars. I'd like to add jukeboxes to
the list - give me the warm bubbling glow of a Wurlitzer in a cosy old
bar any day.Damien was saying that he'd been round a friends house and
there was this old fake plastic chest of drawers that was falling apart
and there was a crack in the wall and he wished things were slower these
days and had more substance.
The next song performed was 'Amie'. At this point, we left our vantage
point in row three (my vista up until this point had amounted to the
side of a drum through two sets of shoulders) all the way to the back of
the Empire where the floor is raised and I had a distant but entire view
of the stage.
Damien then made a comment about technical problems with their tour
before starting to sing Cannonball without any amplification. My
initial reaction was to kick myself for moving to the back of the venue
but then the whole place fell silent. We could hear Damien clear as a
bell and the only ambience that could be heard was the sound of the cash
register keys at the back bar. The audience started singing along in
whispers. It was a 'hairs on the back of the neck' moment. When he
finished singing, the crowd around me went berserk.
It got harder at this point to hear what Damien said in-between songs as
lots of people were talking loudly at the back but he was saying
something about having certain appendages 'hanging off your body' that
you don't know what to do with. It raised a laugh and then he started
playing, 'Me, My Yoke and I'. Not one of my personal favourites but he
performed it well and the crowd loved it.
Next up, Damien played 'Prague' which was amazing, followed by
'Childish'. Again this was received well and he performed a 'vocal
zither' effect which sounded great.
Vivienne then performed a stunning version of the White Stripes, 'Seven
Nation Army' and the crowd clapped along in time with a lot of
'whooping'. She got a massive response from the audience before being
joined on stage again by the rest of the band again to perform
Again, from the back of the venue, I couldn't hear Damien's chat
in-between songs but I heard enough to piece together that he must have
been talking about David Arnold because they then played a fantastic
rendition of 'Play Dead'. By now, there was a violinist on stage along
with Vivienne and so the strings were sounding great.
"Eskimo" was next along with a guest opera singer at the end. I assume
it was Doreen but I've never seen her in the flesh before so I'd be
grateful if someone could confirm that.
They then played 'Volcano' and Damien started thanking the band before
starting 'Cold Water' in the dark. At peak of the song at the end, they
pointed floods on the audience and the effect was really stunning.
Then just a single spotlight on Damien and he sang 'Hallelujah'. Again,
the people around me at the back bar fell silent and reverent. I think
the cheer that followed was possibly the biggest of the night.
For the encore, they played 'Woman Like A Man' and then 'The Blowers
Daughter'. The audience were by now so plastered that they sang like
football hooligans along to 'I can't take my eyes off of you' which was
pretty funny to watch (er.and join in). Gone was the subtlety we had
Damien then announced that there was only a few minutes left and so Dave
from support band Slovo joined them on stage for 'Cheers Darlin' and
then a storming version of Prince's, 'When Doves Cry' with a very
dramatic flamenco sounding crescendo turning into a rock and roll
Lisa then ended the show singing Portishead's, 'Glory Box'.
It was a fantastic night!