Sunday, March 09, 2008

The devil take your stereo and your record collection!

The Guildhall of Gloucester lured me effortlessly through its doors last week, not once, but twice. I suppose the theme could be described as ‘English whimsy’.

The Young Knives played on Thursday and kicked up a heck of a racket. Essentially, the combo consists of three rather intellectual (M informs me that the lead singer possesses a philosophy degree) and engaging characters who dress in sensible shirts and ties and engage in earnest and somewhat quaint conversation on stage. They also ‘bang it up to eleven’ and proffer meaty, beaty, big and bouncy independent rock music with notable tunes and wry and whimsically English lyrical content. They were rather marvellous and a capacity crowd at the ‘hall lapped it all up gratefully and gracefully. I hope they return soon.

On Friday, Acoustica beckoned with two acts I’d seen there before. Sweet Laredo proved a tight four piece playing jazzy and bluesy numbers with no little aplomb. Sarah Scott’s mighty and soulful voice belted out some satisfying numbers and reminded this punter of Amy Winehouse (without the tattoos, cigarillos, needles and potty mouth). The drummer was good. The main act was The Family Machine who took the ‘English whimsy’ baton from the Young Knives and ran with it with ebullience aplenty. Their songs about roadside floral tributes and childhood forays to the woods were heartwarming and charming, eccentric without encroaching into ‘silly territory’. They were fun and I salute them.

The next Acoustica features Ian McNabb and I can’t wait.

The rugby football proved a delight yesterday evening. Gloucester, a team I favour with enthusiasm, hosted London Irish, a team I do not. The home team vanquished with plenty to spare and, importantly, acquired the quartet of tries needed for the precious bonus point. To be frank, I had expected the Reading-based outfit linked to the Hiberian expanses to turn my team over. As often happens, a side that is depleted by international call-ups and injuries is able to raise its collective game and overcome more fancied opponents. This was the case last night: Gloucester seemed hungrier and – cliché alert – wanted it more. A number of young blades and fringe players put down markers for future selection. Dan Touhy, a youthful lock, particularly caught the eye on his debut, but Jack Forster enjoyed a gritty performance in the front row while James Bailey continues to impress at full back. I’d go as far as suggest that the former Bristol speedster remains one of the more underrated Gloucester players; he never lets his team mates down and I am yet to see him have a poor game in the esteemed colours. I wonder if Saturday’s win will prove a turning point in Gloucester’s fortunes this season; confidence has seemed a touch low in recent weeks and I hope a corner has been turned with this win.

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