Three bands from the reign of John Peel's sessions (and not the pseudo shows that now rule his slots: the whole point of Peel was the unpredictability of the music from records to record. That's rather busted by having three different DJs with style genres). Anyway, I felt this was destined to be good.
First up, Misty's Big Adventure. Now this was THE unexpected delight of the evening. Melys, we knew they were good. But this!? This was an entirely awesome spectacle of weirdness and delight. I haven't grinned so much watching a band for ages. It was just so darn enjoyable! You have to admire a band led by a chain-smoking dude called Gareth who looks like the offspring of Paul Giamatti and the dry comedian Steven Wright, that features children's toys, saxophone, a trumpet and - along with assorted more usual band instruments and players - a man painted blue in a big red suit covered with blown up blue rubber gloves.... dancing pointlessly (or, depending on your view, entirely with point). Called - if I am reading the website corectly - Erotic Volvo. [You can check out some photographs of them here, but they hardly do justice!] With performances such as "Elevators, Escalators, Stairs", "Love is a Story with a beginning, a middle and an end", "Home taping is killing Music" (featuring the sentiment that all the money saved by people exchanging compilation tapes led to friends buying more cigarettes... and thus home taping was not only killing music but also your friends...!) and "I am Cool with a Capital C"... oh darn it... they were just really really enjoyable. Their album, "The Solar Hi-Fi System", is out now on SL records. SL are the people who brought you Ballboy, and though radically different in style you can't say fairer than that!
Second act up - and believe me, MBA were tough to follow - were Persil. A mild mannered duo of male and female from Amsterdam, they needed to be mild-mannered as the shinnanagens of MBA had pretty much buggered the sound system. Persil's electro musings and beeps and whistles - not unlike St Etienne crossed with Stereolab - were great when they worked. But they struggled with a series of disconnected leads and instruments, keyboard jams and lost vocals. If MBA hadn't been so good, they would have come over as talented but screwed by the inadequate sound system of Nottingham's Social. A pity... I think their records probably do them better justice.
Finally, FINALLY, we got to Melys and the stage presence of the delectable Andrea Parker. With a mix of old and new - including the glorious "Eyeliner" - this was a model of professionalism. They had no monitor feedback to assess how they were playing, and the first song had a couple of rough moments, but this was a delight to see. Andrea strutted like the star that she is (I want to look just like her) and as their first gig in Nottingham it was a real pleasure. The BBC description of 'bittersweet pop' is spot on. They also did "Chinese Whispers" and "Baby Burn", "Skating" and Casino el Camino" from the new album, and several other tracks that george will kill me for not recalling the titles of (I'm out of practice at scribbling in gigs the set list as it is played and wasn't close enough to grab a copy from the stage afterwards!)
Anyway, all in all a VERY worthwhile £5 gig. Next up - unless something occurs in the meantime - is Patrick Wolf. Look out for the next review!