Monday, August 20, 2012
Tall Poppies and Acton Bell (and The Magnetic Mind) at Paper Dress Vintage
When she came round for tea'n'recording last Monday, Acton Bell said that she was playing at this rather fine vintage shop that Friday. So Champagne Friend and myself met early for ginger beer (having both outgrown even champagne) and watched as the staff rolled away the racks of clothes to reveal the Alice in Wonderland floor (as Acton Bell's friend Steve remarked), making way for an Alice in Wonderland evening.
It was still light when Acton Bell took to the stage, playing a solid bodied guitar (we've all gone Chrissie Hynde recently!) and singing a combination of Gerry and the Pacemakers, Searchers, Beatles and original compositions. Her own songs fit in very well with her choice of covers and I have a feeling that if we have enough tea afternoons together there will soon be an album on its way.
She creates her own world, and the audience, at first baffled, started listening intently and were soon happily rolling along the Acton Bell Road. By not being cooler-than-thou, Acton Bell is cooler than anyone and she has a lovely high, clear voice and a refreshingly down to earth way of presenting herself. Three cheers for her originality!
Tall Poppies played next; the core of the band is two sisters from Perth, Australia who both play guitar and bass; they are augmented by a fiddle player and a female drummer. I thought their songs were so good I bought their album which I'm listening to now; I also like their sound, which reminds me a little of A Bird and a Bee, one of the best pop bands of the last few years. I think Greg Kurstin should take a listen! One of the things I liked best was their slightly shambolic (although oddly enough, they were extremely well-rehearsed) John Peel-ness. It is this that gets ironed out on the route to commercial success but it is also what makes watching live music so enjoyable at this level. I remember their songs from the gig as I listen- this is good music!
There is a debate ongoing at the moment about whether festivals have lost their authenticity.
Fie to your festivals! In most towns in the UK there are thriving music scenes across ages, genres, you name it. Friday night was absolutely magical. A gig in a dress shop! What a fabulous, camp, bonkers idea. We're going back soon for their monthly rockabilly night. And the clothes were fab too.