w/ Angels & Airwaves, The Subways
06.18.06 @ Lancashire CCC
Long before they take to the stage, former Blink 182 front man Tom DeLonge (pictured) and axeman Dave Kennedy are being snapped by the teenage- mainly male- element of the crowd as they watch the set by the Subways. They are grinning at being entertained by Tim & Charlotte Subway, who start off at a furious pace with “Suburban Disaster”, “With You” & “Shake/Shake” The focus of thousands of wet dreams, Charlotte bounces across the stage.
When Angels & Airwaves take to the stage, the black shirted brigade have pushed to the front of the barriers and the first bout of crowd surfing begins in earnest. DeLonge is in confident mood, arms outstretched messiah like as the band delver their version of a stadium rock type repertoire. He has grandiose visions of “Going city by city and ruling the planet” because if you want something desperately enough, you can get it. The tools of this attempt include a less aggressive musical version of the Blink 182 catalogue that sometimes veers into U2 territory, whilst trying to remand catchy enough to maintain the interest of the listener. It’s a set of two halves from the Strokes. The opening few numbers seem to reflect the mood of the crowd; a bit damp and only partially interested. Sure the black leather jacketed Julian and company try to get the attention of the crowd, but it’s only when material from the first album, Last Nite, is presented that the crowd start moving and actively taking part. It’s only the second date of their European tour, so maybe the bands are still fine tuning the set list, but set closer “Take it or Leave it” appears to sum it all up.
Photo by Ged Camera
Hatchie – Keepsake
Keepsake, the debut album by Brisbane dream pop artist Hatchie is musical luminescence that can only be described as music written for the stars
Brisbane indie-pop artist Hatchie (known to her friends and family as Harriette Pilbeam) is in the envious position of being a pop artist unspoiled by the many trappings of what it is to be a modern pop artist. Unlike some of her contemporaries who craft music by committee or with Sheeran-like self-importance, Hatchie is as of now, unsullied by the pressures of the cookie-cutter pop machine. Hatchie’s debut full length is a showcase for a talent who is supremely confident and composed in her abilities, and Keepsake is musical luminescence that can only be described as music written for the stars. The album is also a wonderful throwback to pop’s dreamy 60s influences that shuffle in and out of this delirium while working alongside distinctly more current musical touches.
There is the lush dream pop sounds of “Without a Blush”, taking cues from the best of what Stars and Goldfrapp conjure but heaping a tonne of Pilbeam’s charisma on it. Like her vocals, “Without a Blush” has this elegance that has the ability to elevate songs from being beautiful to grand. It is the kind of vocal elegance that really shines through on songs like the skittering, beat-driven “Obsessed” and the alternative, guitar-fuelled (yay!) “When I Get Out”. Indie/electronic closer “Keep” is a wonderful end to proceedings.
However, the great strength of Keepsake is not just its composure in how all the songs have been put together. It is also this genuine, natural-sounding quality that permeates the album- nothing overly written, overly produced or put together by research groups or music analysts. It just sounds like talent. We can argue that much of pop music is constructed to appease the moment- designed to grab as much attention as possible in an A.D.D. world. And sure, that can be said about almost any kind of music, but the resulting aural tone of Keepsake is anything but transient or transparent.
The best way to combat tepid chart-topping music is to write better pop songs. Songs like “Her Own Heart” and the disco-toned “Stay” are examples of pop music that come across as timeless. We are moved by the songs found on Keepsake when we listen to them today. And I suspect that in 10 years time, or in 20, we will most likely feel the same. It is rare to find the sort of ageless beauty you find on Keepsake.