So here we are. Back in east London with Brix and the boys for the second time in as many months. And it is getting better.
Last month’s album showcase in Rough Trade (read about it here) was great but a little tentative. There was a few missed cues. The setlist got slightly muddled.
The Oslo was sharp as a knife though. Honed by some road miles, the band were totally on the money. Launching straight into “Something To Lose”, Brix entered stage right, bedecked in sequins with a hoodie up, like a boxer entering the ring. The band were evidently more confident, Jason Brown in particular holding an immaculate 1000 yard stare whilst adding taut lead guitar. The Hanleys were, as ever, bang on the money with Steve Trafford providing the bedrock for Brix to add her own lead guitar. This is music telepathy.
All of the original songs on “Part 2” got an airing and what has become more evident as I’ve had time to live the LP is that they stand shoulder to shoulder with the Fall material. “Moonrise Kingdom” (their love song as Brix described it) was melodic west coast Paisley Underground rock. “Damned for Eternity” and “Pneumatic Violet” were defiant, a theme throughout the evening. Brix was breaking necks, cracking bones, stomping on bones. “Valentino” got a cheeky “New Rose” introduction from Paul (“Is she really going out with him“)
At the moment, The Extricated feel like a gift. Given the chequered history of the Fall and the psychological fallout from time spent in the band, no one expected The Extricated to happen. A bit like the Everlasting Yeah, this isn’t the ex members of band going through the motions, playing their greatest hits. This isn’t the route that people at the Extricated’s career stage take. This just adds to the sense of joy and appreciation. It is another chance to cherish a special group of musicians playing an quality bunch of songs, very much like the Dream Syndicate at the Lexington earlier in the week.
In a recent Radio Ulster interview, Brix described how the band got together after Steve Hanley’s book launch. Brix had attended and watched enviously in the crowd. After the gig, she asked Hanley why they hadn’t asked Brix to play. The assumption was made that Brix was done with music. Secretly though she had been playing her guitar and writing. One thing led to another and here we are with the Extricated.
This is a road less travelled.
And the audience at the Oslo loved them for it. They blew the roof off the joint with the Fall material. We got a thuggish “2×4” and “Lay of The Land” featured some mesmerising bass lines from Steve after a “Ballroom Blitz” type band introduction. “US 80s 90s” from the underrated “Bend Sinister” was brutally wonderful.
The force of their individual and collective personalities is compelling. The enthusiasm and sheer joy that the band have in performing is infectious. Countless times I looked around the room and saw just sheer unalloyed pleasure.
They had drawn some friends along too. Thurston Moore had made the short jaunt from Stoke Newington. An immaculate Pam Hogg was stood just behind us.
Brix got a little help from her friends for the encore with Banarama’s Siobhan Fahey joining her for a boisterous “Totally Wired” as the first encore, Siobhan charmingly clutching a lyric sheet as she led the proceedings.
The band still have a few dates left this month and hopefully will hit the road in 2018. You would be foolish to miss them.
You can pick up a copy of “Part 2” here.
And let’s hope that this one if for keeps as these musicians evidently have a lot more to give.
A brief word on the support Oskar’s Drum. We missed most of their set due to the vagaries of the London Borough of Hackney’s street parking app but what we did hear was very impressive – melodic and obviously very Northern, which isn’t surprising given their background with the Chameleons and Kitchens of Distinction. Here’s their Bandcamp page for the curious amongst you.
I’ll be keeping an eye out for them.