Saturday, May 07, 2011

Eva Eden at Ship of Fools

This event happens on a boat just next to Temple tube and actually I am a week late in reviewing it; the week has been a cacophony of car repairs, boiler repairs, selling stuff on eBay, lectures, tutorials, the Cleaners' Choir and teenager minding, so here it is.

I have been listening to Eva's music for a few years; she has carved out a unique place for herself with her twisted fairy tales and was supported by a following of motley Bank Holiday bohemians, who stood at the bar in deep concentration nursing beer bottles as the boat rocked gently in the wind.
Eva has a deep, uncompromising voice (a bit like Nico's) and her lyrics darkly explore the story of Hansel and Gretel, or Sea Monkeys (remember them, in American comics?). She plays guitar and was augmented on this night by drums, bass, sax, accordion and Paul Davey on clarinet (he of Helen and the Horns and Daniel Takes a Train). The combo was the perfect foil for her songs: Insect Suicide reminded me of Inside Your Heart (the Velvet Underground song) with its grooving bass-line and skittering drums. Whoever Brought Me Here Has To Take Me Home is an exercise in catchy paranoia, and this song signalled a move into up-tempo songs that she finished the set with.
Eva is a one-off but there are better places to see her than the boat, whose PA system faces the bar. It must be very difficult to sing with your audience mainly to the left and to the right of you and only a line of barflies to perform to directly in front of you. The boat is charming and odd (the squeaky door in the Ladies that whined as the boat tipped from side to side was so spectacular that I recorded it!) but I think the stage should be at one end or the other so the performers can actually see the audience and build up a proper rapport. Eva is so charming that she managed to carry it off, but it must have been difficult.
If you would like to hear her music go to

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