Paul Goodwin

I've got you, you've got whatever's left of me to get

Published on Thu 26 May 2011

I've been to two cracking gigs this week. First up, on Monday, was The Wave Pictures at The Haymakers. They were ably supported by The Pony Collaboration who I've not seen for far, far too long. They were doing an acoustic thing because Ellie, who sings and plays keys, couldn't make it (I saw her on iPlayer at that Radio 1 Big Weekend festival the other week - I swear more people I know have had some reasonable degree of success than you'd expect statistically) but, despite their claims to the contrary, it was still lovely. Highlights included Model/Actress, which is a properly great song, and a semi-sincere cover of How Soon Is Now? with omnichord accompaniment. I'd never heard of an omnichord before. It was great, but I hope it's at least a little while before I see one again. 

I've probably seen The Wave Pictures 6 or 7 times now, and some times have been better than others. Actually, the two times in Barcelona were the best, possibly because we were in Barcelona, but this one was up there too. They're such a likeable band. Much shorter than I'd imagined though - I've only seen them in venues with dressing rooms before. They didn't really play any of my favourites, but they did do a lot of songs that sound a bit like my favourites. There were quite a lot of guitar solos, some of which got worryingly close to Dire Straits territory. The guy is very good at guitar, but everyone realised that after one solo, so doing one every song wasn't really necessary. I don't think anybody really enjoys listening to them.

I made a bit of a fool of myself by telling the drummer after the show that his rendition of "Now You Are Pregnant" was my favourite moment at Primavera last year. There's not really anything anyone can say to that other than "oh, thanks, that's great, I have to... go... over there...".

Earlier in the day my friend Ciaran had said "ooh, Mountain Goats this week!". I'd found out they were playing months ago but had been planning to be in New York this week, then when my plans changed (I'm sitting at Heathrow now) I didn't put two and two together. I'm glad he mentioned it, because it was wonderful. I checked out support act The Submarines during the afternoon and they sounded good too, so I managed to herd the motley crew that had assembled over the road in The Lyttleton Arms (expensive!) a little earlier than we might otherwise have done. We've all grown out of watching support acts at moderately sized gigs after a decade of being let down. In the last few years I've missed Glasvegas, MGMT and most of Sons and Daughters. That's some pretty strong justification for staying in the pub right there. Anyway, I very much enjoyed The Submarines, a boy/girl (well, man/woman) duo who were mostly on guitars but had some effective backing tracks some of the time. They seriously tested my hypothesis that married couples can't play music together without it being horribly smug. I still think they might be the exception. It was pretty happy stuff (apart from the songs from their album about breaking up that got them back together) but clever enough that it made me happy too, rather than suck my teeth.

I've written about The Mountain Goats before. I was looking through some discussions online about the best line to try and get some inspiration for the title of this, and they run for pages and pages. The guy is seriously prolific while still coming out with better lyrics than pretty much anyone else I can think of. I hadn't really appreciated from the other times I'd seen them (both at End of the Road, one more successful than the other) how odd a man he is. Or maybe just much cleverer than me. His banter is downright weird, but you can't help but love it. I'd think it was an act, but I follow him on Twitter and if it is, he keeps it up the whole time. I also love that he reviews death metal CDs as a hobby. Anyway - they've made about 20 albums I think so the setlists can vary quite a lot from one show to another. This time we didn't get You or Your Memory, which is probably my favourite (and really short! Surely that could've crept in) but there were so many spine tingly moments. Broom People was incredible, No Children too, as you'd expect, and one that I'd never really noticed before called Woke Up New with the amazing line "The first time I made coffee for just myself, I made too much of it, but I drank it all" that has me welling up slightly even writing it out. I don't understand why it wasn't totally full. Well I do understand. It just depresses me. We met someone on the train home who'd been to The Naked and Famous at the other end of Camden High Street and said that everyone there was there to be seen there and spent the entire time talking and being photographed for Facebook. Still all the more elbow room for me. It's a shame that Koko have continued their policy of selling cans of lager for £4.50 a time though. It's also a shame that as the second, third and fourth tallest people in the room, this was our view.

God, I wonder what the 17 year old Alison Krauss would have thought if you told her that one day she'd be making music so bland that it would sound right at home being played in airport bars?