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The Lovetones / The Tamborines – Sonic Cathedral at The Social 25th June 2006

Sunday morning and I'm falling…but hey! not for long 'cos it's everyone dahn the Social for an afternoon of Sunday Worship with Sonic Cathedral. Nat Sonic C is currently my fave DJ as thanks to him I get to hear Ultra Vivid Scene's 'The Mercy Seat' (12 inch, mind) twice in one week. Obviously I could hear this magisterial slice of twangliness a zillion times a day by playing it at home, but that's not the point is it? Also, Nat has lovingly covered one of the Social's windows with stick-on coloured stuff to make it look like stained glass. Now that's dedication.

Any road up, it's not just record-spinning and interior design we're here for, it's bands innit? Thanks to the marvy 'Psychedelica' comp. on Northern Star Records, I have recently become acquainted with The Lovetones and their sweet 'n' woozy tickly guitaradelia. They've just finished touring Europe with The Brian Jonestown Massacre so Nat has managed to nab them before they head back to Australia for one gig only in the UK. And it's here! Today!!

As if that weren't thrilling enough, it turns out The Tamborines are also on the bill. Oh joy! How I love The Tamborines. I love how they come on and play 'Sally O'Gannon', revving up and spinning out and sounding extra snarly 'cos now there's an extra guitarist in the mix alongside Henrz and his scritchy string torturing. I love how Lulu's bowly black bob remains immaculate as she laconically shakes her tambourine, then neatly hangs it on the keyboard stand (the tambourine not the bob) to continue wresting wriggly noises from the keys.

Note Nat-ty 'stained glass' window
Tamborines - yay!

I love how 'The Great Division' is all hazy and liquid-limbed lazy but has this rickety guitar jangling abrasively across it in a VU 'Can't Stand It ' type way. And how Henrz Chelsea boots a pedal, pushing the song into a scuffed fuzz-drone ending before crouching amidst his nest of pedals doing tuning stuff, emitting an oppressive fuzz squall until up shoots the hyperdelic fairground squirl of ‘Looking Glass House’ sparkling through the basement gloom. I love how the faces of Mikki and Emma Lush are looming larger than life on the back projection, beaming down like mischievous dreampop godesses as another pedal is stomped and this almighty crack of feedback rips the pretty fairground sound in two, tearing it down to a fine feedbacking end. Allowing the full screechy splendour to speak for itself, the Tamborines depart the stage. The drummer goes first and rather ignominiously has little choice but to hurry into the lavs situated directly behind the kit (throughout the day folks are edging round the cymbals en route to relieving themselves). At the end Lulu is left on stage stepping delicately through the swarm of pedals like a cat.

So to The Lovetones, crammed onto the tiny stage they kick off with 'Mantra', an expansive song of easy strummy splendour that swoops around some vaguely Bunnymen-ish guitar sounds. Then there’s the ‘Psychedelica’ track that brought me her in the first place, ‘Stars’ which loses some of it’s dippy sitarry wide-eyed wonder live, but still curls cutely round your ankles blinking up at you irresistibly.

Then it’s time to go a bit trippy do-lally, so bassman Matthew Sigley takes his seat behind the organ, which, owing to the bijou-ness of the stage, is stuck out on the side directly facing a raised row of tables meaning he's cosily face to face with the eager punters.
Amusingly, two ‘World Cup pies’ (I didn’t ask) are delivered to the couple seated at the front table just as The Lovetones head off into the stratosphere with the rambling, spacedelic ‘Genius’. The wholesome smell of cooking tethers any blissed out flights of fancy to the ground somewhat, as the couple sheepishly munch their Sunday lunch and try not to catch Matthew’s eye.
Pie-eyed psyche luciousness All the ladies love Matt S. He’s like a wee Aussie indie-mod action figure. He pulls rockin’ shapes for Bob Underexposed’s blearily peering camera lens, starts playing the bass line to ‘I Am The Resurrection’ for a lark, gets up behind the organ and gives the ivories a good old tickling (oh yes) and later in the week appears onstage with the BJM pretending to be a cuter, less bonkers Joel Gion. Oh and he has his own band called The Daytime Frequency, only I miss his Filthy McNasty’s gig ‘cos I’m er, doing Kung Fu. Anyhow, it’s Matthew’s turn to sing, taking over from, Matthew Tow (keep up) on lead vocals for the lilting, ethereal shoeyness of ‘It’s Not Over Yet’. Having earwigged to The Daytime Frequency, it seems to me that hazy loveliness is Matt S’s current stock in trade, and very swoony it is too.
The band throws in the limpid loveliness of ‘Starcleaner’, better known as a BJM song, though it turns out Matthew Tow wrote it. Cripes. There’s more pie-eyed psyche lusciousness in the form of ‘Apple Tree’ - a fine and mighty wig out, and the spookadelic ‘The Colour and the Cut’ driving on a creepy organ riff (can you have organ riffs? Whatever) and howling guitars.

I like The Lovetones best when they’re crunching through their snappy, mod-ish freak-beaty tunes. And the bestest of the best is ‘(I Gotta) Feel’. Shaking free snippets of sunnily simple sixties pop to free-fall through your mind, (specifically ‘If I Needed Someone’ and ’Day Tripper’), it’s full of ringing guitars and hip to skip beats that defy you not to cut a rug. I’ve been listening to it over and over recently. It’s especially good for cheering up mornings when you‘re wilting on a stalled, oxygen-free District line tube; plug in your headphones, close your eyes and your zooming down a sun-kissed highway avec les ‘tones. Mmmm. Bright 'n' breezy, free 'n' easy…this is where I want to be.

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