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The Troubadour, London 23 February 2005

Last night at the Troubadour saw two sets from four different bands. Quite unusually, all four bands were really rather good, despite their broad ranges of styles. Much of the content was a wee bit more mellow than my usual fare. But with a few beers, oddles of cigarette smoke and some good company, it made for a damn good evening. Even the ott MC, who barracked us about talking and seemed keen to hear his own voice, didn't hurt the evening's enjoyment.

First up, was the unusually monikered, Ivor Game, with his singer- songwriter stylings. Normally I am not keen on the solo performer whingeing about life and everything else. I rather enjoyed Ivor's laid back playful tunes, as well his matter of fact delivery. Its great stuff for a mellow evening and comes highly recomended. If you like Garfunkel, then you would love this guy.

Next up were Moth with their mellow folky-prog vibe. There is a bit of Mostly Autumn about them, which is not a bad thing at all. The second set was a bit punchier and contained a hint of Portishead, Suzanna Vega and a bit of gothy electonica. They have a CD out called 'Small Miracles for Shabby Minds' which I highly recommend. Led by wonderfully voiced Victoria Hume, this lot have a great deal of potential and should go places.

Next up was farm-girl Milla and her country-folk tunage. Her music also drifts into prog territory, so it was no shock to hear the band cover 'Breathe' by Pink Floyd. Someone sitting near me suggested she sounded a bit like country artist Matreca Berg. Several of her songs were merely lacking the slide-guitar that would have made them full blown country. Nashville would probably lap this lot up in buckets, especially given Milla clean farmgirl looks and delivery.

Last, but not least, was Phil Campbell (no, not the Motorhead bloke) on guitar (both accompanied and solo), vocals and keyboard. His music ranged from mellow Bryan Adams to Proclaimer-esque musings. They were only let down by their earnest buttock-clenching look which garnered at least one person at my table to mock-shout "smile damnit!" Unlike much of the rest of the bill, what Phil is peddling seems to be rather common out there these days and he needs to try to distinguish himself a bit more. It was good, but lacked that added something to make it great.

It was a very pleasant evening of great music. Hightlights of the evening were Moth and Milla, but the other two were pleasant to listen to as well. Of all of them, Moth seem to be the ones with the most potential to go huge.

Review: Marty Dodge

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