Spector / Hippo Campus / The Rhythm Method: The Barfly, Camden – live review
The Barfly, Camden
August 26th 2015
Keith Goldhanger goes out again on a school night to The Camden Barfly, has a beer, loves what he sees and now tells you about it….
Two blokes wander onto the barfly stage.
It’s 8pm and they kick off the evening with what the man on the street might call unrecognisable karaoke or may even describe the act as a bit like one of those Xfactor performances that the uninvited audience would laugh at before standing up in order to dance ironically to before going down Macdonalds to discuss the semi final of Masterchef.
The Barfly on a Wednesday night doesnt have room this evening for the avarage man on the street though and seeing as though many of us still own a copy of “Original Pirate Material” and have been crying out for a smoother version of Chas and Dave recently we feel that we know where these two are coming from.
Our first impressions of THE RHYTHM METHOD are;
A) A bit of a naff name but one that fits in with what we’re witnessing even though there’s probably about 49 other bands using this moniker.
B) The songs they’re performing are from the tunes embedded inside the duo’s heads and not the ones we’re listening to.
C) Their trousers won’t fall down no matter how often they nervously pull them up.
D) They don’t sound like The Streets or Ian Dury but these are good reference points to begin with.
E) In certain enviroments they’re going to divide crowds into groups that will love everything about The Rhythm Method (that’s where we are) and those that simply won’t understand how these two blokes with so much sincerity in their mannerisms have ever got this far.
F) They do sound a little like The Streets actually.
G) They’re terrible.
H) They’re terrific.
J) No….I do actually think this is marvellous. It’s made me want to sit here and type this rubbish.
What makes people in this world end up making entertainment like this ? – I ask that of a lot of my favorite bands nowadays.
Fuck Buttons and Factory Floor I get.
I understand what makes them happy when they sit back and listen to their latest projects.
But this ?
Haven’t got a clue but THAT’S ALSO WHY THIS IS FAB.
If some of us were seen laughing at this then it was because someone close by wondered out loud whether back in 1978 this was the kinda thing Sleaford Mods were doing before they discovered alcohol and got angry? Or is this what the Sleaford Mods would sound like if you put them in a box full of cuddly toys with a bag of MDMA and drove them to Essex? (they’re probably not from Essex, we don’t care so don’t write in).
There’s a backing tape being operated by an unseen man called “Patrick” who may never become as famous as The Sleaford Mods Andrew Fearn unless he’s the kind of bloke that doubles up as a member of another call band say for example one called “Real Lies” ? Maybe we’ll never know .
Maybe they’re so so so so so so bloody terrible that they’re also so so so so really fucking brilliant. We’re still working that bit out at the moment.
Everything about this short sharp badly sung set of tunes is so wrong it’s better than anything we’ve heard for ages.
It’s presented as seriously as a set of tunes that someone may have sweated over for a few years should be and there are brief moments during the set where we catch some fine lyrics…
“Cigarettes and Alcohol is my favorite song, It’s got a good chorus and is four minutes fifty seconds long ” –
The effect it has on most of the early arrivals (there’s a couple of confused, bewildered looks on peoples faces) is one of a joyous punch the air with delight reaction as we think this may be the start of a long loving relationship. It’s poetry performed alongside sincere soulful (out of tune) backing vocals and they look like a couple of blokes who have joined us here having decided the ale in the pub around the corner is off. These are the type of blokes who one might imagine are stumbling through the half time break during the football (One is sporting an Inter Milan replica Football shirt). They’ve popped into the Barfly and are arseing around having a laugh walking around in cirles kinda singing along to a backing tape and then wandering off again.
Just after inviting us all to join them in ten minutes for a pint in The Hawley arms just down the road.
We don’t join them as we’re standing static stratching our heads and hoping they’ll pop back so we can hug them and tell them how marvellously bonkers they are.
This is how our Great Grandads used to form gangs back in the 50’s.
This is an XFM Xposure night and The Rhythm Method are here courtsey of headliners SPECTOR who deserve a pint and a pat on the back for this.
It’s a couple of days before Reading/Leeds and HIPPO CAMPUS are here from Woodbury, Minnesota and entertain us in this 220 hundred capacity venue before hitting a few more larger stages they’ve recently found themselves appearing on whilst being here in the UK. They sound like Vampire Weekend (or Haircut 100 for the older readers) and they have a set of tunes that the world will surely enjoy as the months plod on.
It’s not difficult to imagine these achieving great things in this country in time to come.
These XFM Xposure gigs are renound for introducing us to bands such as this.
A bunch of radio friendly sing along and clap along tunes played by four young boys that are so young they acknowledge that being in a country where they are actually old enough now to purchase a beer could be a dangerous situation to have suddenly found themselves in. These guys have a combined age of less than The Stranglers Jet Black (Who’s birthday it is today and cause some of us go “bloody hell I didn’t realise he was that old!”) and have achieved in their short career some cool shows with some big bands that give them the appearance that all this has already become second nature –
They don’t know they’re born and it could be said they only just have been.
Imagine being 19 or 20 years old and being this good , releasing a track or two back home and then casually arriving at SXSW then the UK etc and giving the impression they’ve not had to sleep on many damp floors during their short existence (Short as in, compared with say, Mercury Rev who we were going to see before these four were even born!). Anyway…these are worth keeping an eye on. There’s some great tunes we heard this evening and look forward to seeing them play again.
Spector in a small packed boisterous venue are also ace.
Stick them on a big stage at dinner time to play a bunch of songs we didn’t know at the time as happened at Field Day at the start of summer and they were lost. The second album “Moth Boys” is barely a week old tonight and we’re all singing along, topping up our plastic glasses and trying to catch a peek at the band in between bodies being held aloft or perched on shoulders. By the final blast of “All the sad young men” (one of many special moments we’ve seen over the years in this venue) there’s as many people on stage as there is off it and off it is also a confused but deleriously happy looking Fred Macpherson applauding his own band.
Spector will be playing in front of twenty times more people over the forthcoming weekend. The new tunes from new album sound as ace as the early tunes. They’re not as serious as The Editors, not as Pompous as The Killers but give us the impression they could be on their way to becoming another one of this nations favorites.
It’s great catching bands like this is small venues, it really makes you realise why they’re so popular once they appear as dots in the distance when ones attention gets distracted by the odd flag and the threat of rain during the summer weeks when we all try to spend as much of our weekends in tents as possible.
Spector have the possibility to be one of many bands we’ll fondly still remember when we’re old and grey.
OK then older and greyer
They should invest in some suits like Showaddywaddy once did though, The crap sweaty T-shirt look went out decades ago.
The Rhythm Method can be found here.
Hippo Campus can be found here
Spector can be found here. Spector can also be found on tour this Autumn:
Bristol, Thekla (October 13)
Birmingham, Library (14)
Nottingham, Rescue Rooms (15)
Manchester, Gorilla (17)
Newcastle, Cluny (18)
Edinburgh, Electric Circus (20)
Glasgow, King Tut’s (21)
Liverpool, Academy 2 (22)
Sheffield, Leadmill (24)
Leeds, Brudenell Social Club (25)
Brighton, Patterns (27)
Oxford, O2 Academy 2 (28)
London, Heaven (29)
All words by Keith Goldhanger. More writing by Keith on Louder Than War can be found at his find his author’s archive.