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'London, Leytonstone, What's Cooking, 6 October'   

-  Genre: 'Indie'

Our Rating:
The Plastic Pals are back on a whirlwind tour to promote theirlatest album Psychic Reader that's due out in November and once again they have The Lucky Strikes as main support act.

But first it was time for The Shangrilads: a band of well-seasoned musicians who were playing with a new singer for I think the first time live and with their old singer in the audience to add a little bit of awkwardness to things and to maybe explain why they sounded so off tonight.

From the opening Round (or whatever it was called) they never seemed to hit their stride. Zeros wasn't much better and they seemed at times to be playing out of time with each other as they were indeed Going Down and not in a good way.

Give It Up For The Day Job was about as focussed as they got and yes on this form I'd suggest keeping the day job is a good idea. Rapid 40 Slide Out is apparently about their obsession with manhole covers and was sort of OK before they attempted to get angry on Daddy What Did You Do In The Class war and almost succeeded.

By the time they got to Get Thee Behind Me Satan I'd been hoping for the "this is our last song" line for at least three songs and still had to wait till When I'm With You I'm Not All There for them to finally leave the stage and let DJ Ransom back onto the wheels of steel for some musical relief.

After a very short break on came The Lucky Strikes to once again leave me guessing at song titles while watching a great set that began with MG Boulter singing about being outside his old home, and it sounded great. David Giles' Keyboards really brought the song about everything being Too Much to life and they sounded so tight it was wonderful.

It's No Comfort to me that I'm guessing again that it could have been New Avalon but , whatever it was, they sounded good and Paul Ambrose's bass was sounded great and it was soon time for a great Neil Young cover. They did a really cool version of Looking For a Love with some cool backing vocals and it just sounded fantastic.

Was the next song called Stand Back? Probably not but it still sounded really tight and cool, Then David Giles switched to Accordion for a rollicking version of The Butcher and Mrs Shaw before they finished their set with another really cool version of Michael and I really wish they had time for a few more songs.

After the break it was time for Stockholm's Paisley Underground obsessives The Plastic Pals to hit the stage, they opened with Cat On A Hot Tin Roof from the new album: a cool song about the Road less travelled and all sorts of other things that had Anders' first cool guitar solo of the evening in it.

Timing Is Everything has some cool lyrics from Hawk Soold over the rock solid backing that had a few nice flights of guitar flourishes in it.The title track of Psychic reader was next and sounded really great live I kept expecting it to morph into Spacemen 3's Take Me To The Other Side but instead they take us on a slightly different ride to that.

Then it was time for Hawk to get all confessional on Connecting as Bengt Alm's bass and Olov Oqvists drums really power it along as Hawk lays out just how he's connecting. Shame The Devil had some stellar guitar work from Anders that Hawks rhythm playing underpinned nicely as they really took flight as another relationship lay shattered on the floor.

They then paid tribute to the bands London friends and fans on Clerkenwell and as various audience members were name-checked they got cheers from the friends around them of course it went down a storm. They then dug into their back catalogue for Good Karma Cafe which was the first single I heard from the band about a decade ago now. It still sounds good and like the sort of place to get some great Fika.

It was then time for the updated version of Riding With Elvis that has been re-tooled for the new album and it still sounds great. It was followed by a long and really cool version of Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea that had a couple of good guitar freak outs in it that also guaranteed they got an encore.

They played the encore at The Plastic Strikes or was it The Lucky Pals either way they were joined on stage by MG Boulter and David Giles for a couple of well-chosen covers the first of which was Townes Van Zandt's Colorado Girl that was full of emotion and David's keyboards battling with Anders guitar worked really well.

They then closed with an appropriately messy version of the Danny & Dusty classic Song For The Dreamers and large parts of the audience knew the lyrics far better than MG Boulter did although he did a good job with his crib sheet as the rest of us sang along. A great close to a very enjoyable show.
  author: simonovitch

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