review archive

The Fog Band / The Speed Of Sound / Mon Fio / Adapter Adapter – Buffalo Bar, 6th January 2006

It’s the Track and Field Winter Sprinter! Hang on, it’s also Fortuna Pop’s Beat Hotel night!! We have tickets to the former, but we have to see the Fog Band at the latter. Only one thing for it. Get to The Water Rats, go loopy to Fonda 500, then rush across North London to the Buffalo Bar for the Foggies. Hang on though, Simon Fonda has a gammy eye and so they aren’t playing. Problem solved! We can saunter along to the Buff Bar, forgoing our places at the Track and Field starter tape and pack in a night of top beat combos followed by some super soaraway disco dancing alongside top rug-cutter Delia Dansette with Sir Simon Love spinning the choons.

Adapter Adapter are here to blast some noise at the Fortuna Pop! kids, raaarrr! There are three of them and they’re making a scuzzy kind of sound and thus they kind of remind me of early Buffalo Tom, which is a very good thing indeed. They do some cute songs with a charmingly ramshackle wooden effect keyboard and they seem sort of a bit embarrassed . Then boingg! Wielding a hugely raucous fuzzEE! bass they smack us upside the head with a big old racket you can sink your teeth into – but with tunes! They have a bucket-full of lazy, low-slung songs like ‘Facilities’ and ‘I’ve Been Turning Tricks For You’ and so now I’m thinking of the late GRATE! Gumball. I make a mental note to ferret out my copy of ‘Yellow Pants’ when I get home. Thanks Adapter Adapter.

Adapter Adapter -Cool squirrel t-shirt
Mon Fio - Appalling suit, nice tunes

Monfio are croonsome, swoonsome, loungey and twinkly. Their songs are all rather lovely in a woozy just-taken-some-valerian-root afternoon doze kind of way whilst the vocals remind me of Mighty Mighty and their cute pop with warbling vocals. Their singer is wearing an appalling suit which is a tad distracting but they do offer up some hardcore vibraphone action which is always a lovely thing, but man that instrument must be a bastard to carry on the bus. There is some sterling ba ba ba jangle pop and a song with spangly fairground pootly keyboard sounds. For the final song the band is joined by a trumpet player, who adds the perfect extra dimension to things. As he prepares to play he mutters, ‘Is it verse, chorus,verse?’ Yeah, that should work.

The Speed of Sound do garage-surf-spymovie-ramma-lamma-shackle twango beat tunes piling along on wig-flipping organ sounds. They do some nice English psyche bits with an air of flakey Barrettness to them. In my head they feature Sean Lock singing, mainly because they feature a man (Kevin Younger) with glasses who looks vaguely like Sean Lock. What’s more he executes the tricky move of playing the guitar and organ at the same time. I’m also pleased to see the gentlemen of the ‘Sound sporting what I like to think of as ‘60s Dad clobber’. '60s Dad clobber - nice.
This comprises nice retro-tinged v-necks, ties and trousers – a very good look once a man is past his first flush of youth and an excellent alternative to looking like an arse in young peoples’ clothing. They conclude with an excellent beeping noises from outer space song which goes ‘Are you receiving me...?’ Yes. Yes we are.
Suavity suave suave The first time we met Bobby Grindrod, we were all chatting about indie schmindie stuff when Bobby piped up, ‘I tend to listen to jazz at home’. And in my mind I got this brilliant image of him Larkin-like, relaxing in an armchair in a book-lined study, puffing on a pipe, contemplating the sleeve-notes of a Sidney Bechet. I like to think this is how Bobby conducts his home life, and I have no reason to suspect otherwise, especially as tonight, just before taking to the Buffalo Bar ‘stage’ he saunters up, shakes my hand and enthuses, ‘I’m so glad you could come.’ Then he’s up on the stage ripping into the swivelling beat of ‘Diagnosis: Blackmail’. Bobby should be receiving an Arts Council Grant for services to impeccable dressing. The man is a vision in a dove grey suit, casually touting his drink in one hand as he ratchets out vocals that hit the precise mid-point between croon and holler.As for the rest of the Foggies, they really aren’t exercising their sartorial muscles, but the be-bearded drummer is sporting a rather natty ‘drumstick quiver’ which always adds an extra dimension to a band’s visuals, I find.

Meanwhile there are problems with a new and rather headstrong guitar which apparently has its own idiosyncratic ideas about tunings, despite some manful wrestling with its evil strings. Never mind though ‘cos the whole set is a triumph, despite guitar probs I feel we’re getting a whole lot more bang for our buck (as it were) than the last Fog Band gig I saw (Artrocker, ages ago), which felt a bit half-arsed.

Check out any Fog Band review and the word ‘suave’ will indubitably arise at some point.

This point occurs now as I mention ‘The Cummerbund Years’: suave, suave, suavity suave. “We all love a drifter/ And I’m compelled to drift sir/ Through the cummerbund years”. The song rolls and burls smoothly like a ‘gentleman of the road’ after an evening of indulgence. Splendid work. A fearsomely hearty attack on ‘These Boots Were Made For Walking’ indicates it’s time to execute a few hectic dance moves. Then there’s an epic version of last year’s mighty single ‘The Law of the Sea’ with its louchely swelling melody and twitching garage thump. It’s a thrilling ride, The Fog Band throwing us this way and that as we negotiate their corners, and to top it all Bobby opens his throat to knock out a record length ‘Loooooorrddd!’ during ‘The Outdoor Life’ (official time keeper = Rachel Fosca). Smart!
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