Monday, February 08, 2010

Jesca Hoop at the Latest Music Bar (and Other Adventures)

After the cultural and social wilderness that was January, it was a pleasant shock to the system to kick-start February with not one but four nights out in a row. This tetralogy of delights began on Wednesday evening with a few pints at the Barley Mow in Kemp Town, followed by a ride in Jen's girl-racer vintage sports car and coffee back at ours accompanied by the excellent new Charlotte Gainsbourg album, Irm, which I'd just bought that day.

On Thursday Ant and I made a last minute decision to go and see Jesca Hoop at the Latest Music Bar, our first gig of the year - and what a show. I'd heard and liked Jesca Hoop on 6Music and via, which is why she'd popped up on my recommended gigs feed. In the flesh she was spirited, accomplished and utterly transporting, affecting me in the way that only a select few (mostly female) artists have ever done before. I'm thinking particularly of such memorable gigs as My Brightest Diamond, Camille and Carina Round, who all possessed, and indeed still posses, a certain sensual je ne se quoi that oozes out through their performance.

With its gorgeous three-part harmonies, foot-tapping rhythms and perfectly enunciated lyrics, Jesca Hoop's music is infused with all manner of influences - from folk to blues, gypsy to bluegrass - but her style is very much her own. It felt like a real privilege to see her in an intimate venue at what feels like a tipping point in her career. I was far too swept away to remember to get my camera out during the gig, so the above video is from Jesca Hoop's acoustic set at Resident Records earlier that day. Gigs in Bristol, Leeds, Middlesbrough, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Manchester, Dublin, Galway and Belfast are coming up in the next couple of weeks - I strongly recommend you get yourself along. For more details of the tour, visit Jesca Hoop's MySpace page.

I've learned to expect the unexpected on a night out with Angell, but If you'd told me in advance that I'd be peeing behind a curtain in the basement of a disused fabric shop in Dalston during his birthday celebrations on Friday, I may have raised an eyebrow. It all felt a bit Hernando's Hideaway tapping on the door, uttering a password and having 'c**t' stamped on our hands before being allowed into what was clearly not the most legitimate of club nights. Despite the basic facilities and smoky conditions (people smoking inside, how retro), it was a good night. We drank copious amounts of rum and danced to all manner of cheese, including the classic You Got the Love (the Candi Staton/Source version) to which I have a vague embarrassing memory of throwing shapes. Oh dear.

Saturday's jollifications were a little more sedate but no less entertaining. Damien's birthday drinks in the Park Crescent rolled on into the early hours back at his and Olly's place, where we were treated to Olly's magnificent Squidgy Chocolate Log. I can't think of many better ways to round off a Saturday night, can you?


  1. I am pretty sure both your eyebrows were raised, not just one...

  2. Shame I missed that record store gig. People should be sat down drinking tea and nodding x jb


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