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Other Lives & Washington Irving @ The Westgarth Social Club, Middlesbrough 26/10/11

“You can watch rafferty turn into a serial, You can watch rafferty turn into a serial, You can watch rafferty turn into a serial,
It’s just like sleeping gas, It’s so ethereal.” (Sleeping Gas by The Teardrop Explodes 1979)

Ethereal: Celestial, airy, heavenly……….

Other Lives are one of those magical bands. A band that words cannot describe. A band that cannot fully be appreciated by words on paper (or screen). A band that has to be seen or heard to fully comprehend the beauty of their sound. A band I would compare to This Mortal Coil or the Cocteau Twins but nothing like them really. A band from another world; celestial, airy, heavenly…. Like Saint Julian once sang; like Sleeping Gas. All woozy and whimsical yet bold and strong. Delivering knock out blows throughout their set that was far too short or maybe just the right length.

The night began with pool and darts which became so enthralling we missed the opening act. Apologies to Weird Shapes who by all accounts were great. I promise to see them soon. Next up were one of my new favourites; Washington Irving. Now I am begining to have a problem with these young upstarts from Scotland. The problem being I’ve seen them too many times in recent months and I am running out of ways to tell you all how absolutely brilliant they are. They are becoming this years Cattle & Cane. I’m almost bored with my own trumpeting of them. Are they as good as I keep telling you? No. They’re better!!!! And by the reaction of the crowd tonight people are begining to believe me. Added to the bill at the last minute they were as eagerly anticipated as the headliners. Even though a lot of the songs are new and not on their first couple of singles/EPs they went down a storm. I’ve seen them about 6 times in recent months and tonight was the best. Edgier, rockier, betterer than before. The album is about to be recorded and on tonight’s evidence its going to be a classic. They did indulge us with one known song; Sisi. A storming new version with lots of vocal harmonies at the start. I’m sure this will be on the album and this improved version was a highlight amongst the highlights. The drummer was dressed exquisitely in one of our fine t-shirts. (see pictorial evidence) The Sound of Young Scotland is alive and well.

Now I have to admit I hadn’t heard much by Other Lives before the gig. But according to everyone who’d seen or heard them they were brilliant. Sometimes this leads to disappointment as the band turns out to be not as gifted as people said. But tonight everyone was spot on. By the time the opening number was not half way done the audience were enthralled. I heard not one dissenting word. These boys (and girl) from Oklahoma, USA, were the real deal. Recent tours and comparisons to Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver are a starter but they don’t tell the whole story. No real choruses, no songs that stuck in my head, just a beautiful noise coming from the stage. Like Godspeed you Black Emperor with vocals coated in honey and topped off with cellos and other stringed instruments of beauty. Expect to hear a lot about Other Lives in the near future.
Could the night get any better? Well, yes actually. I bumped into Richard Milward on the way out. (Author of Apples and Ten Storey Love Song) who told me his next novel is in the pipeline and should be with us soon. A thoroughly lovely young man. We then retired to the pub and chatted to Washington Irving about their new album. Great things are on the way and a great end to a fantastic evening.

A big thank-you to Andy Carr for discovering, and bringing to Middlesbrough another fabulous act. To the esteemed Phil Carey for holding the fort so admirably tonight. And for introducing us to the delights of the Europa!!! To both bands for being not just brilliant musicians but also lovely people. Another fantastic night at The Westgarth. If you haven’t discovered it yet, it really is time you do. Also thanks to Yaffa Phillips for the clip of Other Lives. (Link below)

LINKS:

THE KIDS ARE SOLID GOLD: http://thekidsaresolidgold.co.uk/

THE WESTGARTH: http://www.westgarthsocial.com/

OTHER LIVES: http://otherlives.com/

WASHINGTON IRVING:
http://www.myspace.com/washingtonirvingband

MORE PICTURES FROM FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/thenorthernline#!/media/set/?set=a.10150333953536640.343823.153421781639&type=1

OTHER LIVES ON YOUTUBE: http://www.youtube.com/user/whistlinginthedark#p/a/u/0/V8BC0D0juRs

By peter on October 27, 2011


Check out all the pics

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