Live Review: Clock Opera at Camden Barfly

on Tuesday, November 02, 2010
Words: Saam Das

Clock Opera + Tall Ships + Paper Crows at Camden Barfly, London (01/11/10)

It was a bit of an ordeal getting into Camden from St John's Wood (these are places in London for the uninitiated) but not only did I manage to somehow complete the journey by foot but I also rather enjoyed my evening. It helped that I was surrounded by some great people, including my old pal Jake and new "real life" pals Tim from the esteemed blog, The Blue Walrus, as well as the lovely Hannah from The 405 and some band that I may or may not talk about one day. Do check them out anyway. I won't bore you any further, read on for gig details...

Opening band Paper Crows took me aback with their opening salvo of pounding club beats matched against vocalist Emma Panas' ethereal delivery. In fact, the beats often seemed to overpower everything else, which is a shame. However, as the set progressed, so did the variety of influences on offer, eventually settling on something approaching a dubstep version of Bat For Lashes. Recent single 'Stand Alight' closed the set, bringing Kate Bush into the 21st century with some style.

Somewhat bizarrely, Time Out decided to have headlining act Clock Opera go on second, rather than last. Seeing as some of the band members hung around for the final band, I'm not really sure I understood the reasoning behind the decision. Either way, the Clock Opera set matched expectations. Playing all the hits from debut single 'White Noise' to the very new single 'Once And For All', Clock Opera produced a captivating performance which veered from angular art-pop to majestic electronica. They even took to playing cutlery at one point. Impressive. It's been a year(!) since I first wrote about the band and Guy told us after their set that any debut album deal is still up in the air - let's hope they sort something out as soon as poss.

The final band on for the evening were Tall Ships on the perennially strong Big Scary Monsters label. To call them the "warm down" act would be an immense disservice to the surprisingly fantastic performance which the three piece delivered. Unfortunately, many people left early but they truly missed out. I took particular joy in the way in which the guitarist faced off with the bassist constantly as if in a battle from 'Scott Pilgrim vs The World'. As it happens, the ensuing music was quite far removed from that film, melding post-rock with the kind of math-pop sensibilities of the early Foals releases, or perhaps more broadly from the Kinsella brothers. The band are supporting 65DaysOfStatic across Europe soon and heading out on a free Christmas tour in the UK with BSM - I suggest you go see the band at the first available opportunity.

The Paper Crows single 'Stand Alight' was released on October 11th, while 'Once And For All' by Clock Opera was released on November 1st. Tall Ships also recently released an EP.

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