Review: Babel, Woodpigeon and Elaine Palmer

The Slaughtered Lamb is a nice little pub on Great Sutton St with a tiny basement that can probably only hold about fifty people. Event organisers Electroacoustic Club occasionally get some really decent bands to play (looking at their past gigs they’ve had My Brightest Diamond and St Vincent), so I was excited when I saw Woodpigeon was going to be playing. There’s a certain set of criteria a venue has to meet in order for me to consider it special, I would say that the criteria is as follows:

a) nice atmosphere

b) small in size

c) they allow SLR cameras

e) good sound

f) bands start (roughly) on time

d) preferably in walking distance

The Slaughtered Lamb ticks all those boxes. I arrived at the venue at 8 and took a seat on the couch. It was a little dark but there was enough light shining on me for me to draw in my book, so I got it out and started drawing. Someone behind me said “oh are you drawing a comic?”, it was Mark Hamilton from Woodpigeon. He sat down and we talked a while, he also does drawings. He says the band are releasing a new record over here next year and will be back in February.

Elaine Palmer was the first act on, she had a good voice but I feel she was eclipsed by the greatness of the other two acts on the night. After a short switch over it was time for Mark Hamilton, Woodpigeon. He played acoustic folk that reminds me a bit of Iron and Wine. Some of his songs are quite poppy too, you can hear alot of them on Last FM for free. The whole band versions obviously have a much fuller sound, with horns and handclaps and fun things like that. By now all the sofas had been filled and the venue was feeling appropriately cosy. A guy had sat next to me on the sofa and in the change over between Mark and Babel he asked me about my drawings, and asked if I would draw him in for my entry about that day, I said sure. He told me that he’s a musician and he had come to see Babel, who make a style of music that influences his. He wrote down his myspace for me, and I looked him up and he’s actually really good. Then Babel from Bristol took to the stage. I was very impressed by them, they make real honest music, no gimmicks or tricks, you can tell they’re just a bunch of friends making music because they love it. The louder songs remind me of the foot stomping goodness of O’Death. The quieter songs were good too, the singer has a strong voice and a good stage presence. During the set closer, a quieter song, somebody was talking. Audience members promptly told them to shhhh but they continued, the singer from Babel chimed in “yes, I think you should shut up. And take your 21st century technology with you, take your ipod with your Killers CD on it”. I think that summed up the mood. Great evening.

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