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Friday, 11 March 2011

Jinx Lennon/Sophie Coyle/Coco Bryce/The Tango Rhums - Bar Libertine - Ayr (10/3/11)

Hmmmm. Writing with a hangover doesn't suit me, but here you go.
Thursday nights in Ayr and live music are akin to oil and water.
Never the twain shall meet, but local hero Roscoe Vacant is seemingly unaware of this, or maybe he is, and Canute like he is single handedly trying to hold back the waves of apathy that threaten to drown us all by hosting a hands across the Irish sea night.
A night where the lucky few who made the effort to attend would be entertained by an eclectic mix of Irish and Scottish talent.
Sophie Coyle was the perfect introduction to the evening. Her soft folk style wove its magic and seemed to have a natural affinity for the environment.
The soft glow of the lights in the bar, the poor weather outside and the company of good friends were all little pieces of a jigsaw that would have been incomplete without Sophie providing the soundtrack to it all.
It's all traditionally heartfelt material. Even when a murder ballad was introduced it didn't buck the trend and distort the flow. A natural talent and someone I wouldn't hesitate to recommend others to go and see.
A roaring fire, a single malt and Sophie Coyle accompanied by the rain drumming against the window might well be the perfect antidote to a world that often seems to move too fast.
Coco Bryce who followed Sophie were wild and wonderful in their own way. If drums, effect heavy thrashing of a guitar, minimal vocals and a guy dressed in overalls and wearing a horses head dancing like the Bez of the equestrian world is your thing then this is the band for you.
Hugely entertaining, but I couldn't help thinking that once is enough.
Coco Bryce are the joke that was hilariously funny the first time you heard it, then less so the next time, with it being a case of ever diminishing returns from there on in.
Others have raved about them and maybe it's a case of not being able to see the wood for the trees. I've been guilty of that myself.
Singularly it's an exciting experience, but once is enough as what else is a one trick pony going to bring to the party?
If they could move what they do forward, sideways, or where ever, then I would be more than happy to take all that back, but no matter how much fun the performance was at the moment of watching it, you can't get away from the once seen aspect being enough.
The Tango Rhums were billed as post punk, but for me it was musically pretty much traditional rock styled meanderings with a bit of a twist on the vocals.
So maybe more so post punk, as in everything that followed the alleged year zero explosion could be considered as such.
Joy Division, Wire and a few other luminaries are influentially tattooed on their sleeves for all to see, but the sonically pioneering spirit of those bands is missing.
By paying homage to them the Tango Rhums lose something of themselves in what they do.
Headline act Jinx Lennon is someone that friends whose judgement I respect have been raving about, and as recommendations go I was less than enthused when I checked him out online.
I liked some of the songs I found, but not all. It would be fair to say that I just didn't get what all the fuss was about, but it's clicked now. I had my road to Damascus moment within minutes of him taking the mic. Everything was illuminated and I finally got on board with the plaudits that friends have rained down upon him.
This man is more than a singer. His spoken work poetry transfers across to his songs and fills them with so much imagery that when you listen carefully you dance upon the edge of sensory overload.
There is so much going on that it is all rather breathtaking, and probably the thing that impressed me most was the earthiness of what he does.
When the word poetry is bandied about it throws up the worst excesses of the Dilettanti. Something that is best kept for the affluent who best understand art.
All cobblers of course, and especially so when Jinx Lennon wraps his tongue around some prose and spits it out.
There's a melting pot of styles going on that on paper shouldn't work, but does when it is so fluently put across.
Folk, punk, hip hop and poetry rub shoulders and get on like a house on fire.
Like the worst of the newly turned converts I want to shout from the rooftops about my seeing the light.
Once seen it all makes sense why the esteemed artist Christy Moore is a fan and not shy in saying so.
There's an affinity there.
I seen Christy many many years ago in a tent in Glastonbury doing an acoustic set and he transfixed the audience with his easy bonhomie and humour, His effortless flow of the craic, but he also managed to cover some series issues making it a thought provoking and entertaining afternoon. There's that same angle from Jinx. It's far more in your face, but it's all done with a glint hiding behind his dark glasses.
The downside to the night was that with The Tango Rhums running on a little longer and a local curfew of 11pm needing to be adhered to by the venue Jinx had to cut his set short. A great shame as I would have personally sat there all night shouting more at the end of each song.*
Bar Libertine is well suited for this sort of show and the staff and everyone involved were all very welcoming so maybe Roscoe was less Canute like than I thought and between Bar Libertine and local promoters Ayr will start to encourage people to see Thursday nights as just an early start to the weekend.
Hats off to everyone involved. I had a great time.
Here's some grainy footage shot on my digital camera, but the sound is very good.

*Apoligise to The Tango Rhums. Their set did not in fact run longer than expected, but instead there was a slight mix up with the time the bands should finish due to the sound curfew. All the acts played their sets within the time frame allocated as Jinx Lennon would have done if the the curfew had not been in place.
This was a mix up in communication between Ross and the venue. No fault attached to anyone on the night. Just one of those things.

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