Live review: Captain Dangerous / Fists / Lisa de’Ville

18 Jan

Captain Dangeous, Fists and Lisa de’Ville played at Rock City on Friday 15 January 2010

Reviewed for LeftLion.co.uk

I walked in to Rock City’s basement bar to behold Lisa de’Ville, whose shimmering, emotive melodies drifted around the room, dripping with a dark and angsty soulfulness. But just as she had enveloped the room in a thick, brooding cloud, she led seamlessly into a mood of lilting, folksey loveliness that was warm and inviting. Backed by electric guitar and bass, she poured feeling and soul into every uttered word, melody and acoustic finger-picked note. As well as her emotional variation which undulated between light and dark, one of her main attractions is always her incredible vocal range – apparently 4 octaves – which was put to gorgeous use. As captivating and versatile as ever, she held the crowd throughout and set the tone for an excellent evening of music from Nottingham’s finest.

Then entered Fists stage right, armed with a megaphone, a bucket-load of ingenuity and a flagrant disregard for any reasonable semblance of normality. A DIY-blend of acoustic and electric guitars, shared male/female vocals, strong rhythms and a handful of synthy sounds, they began with a rockabilly-style intro before diving into a set of indefinable controlled chaos, with smatterings of banter and talk of Jim Morrison’s cock slotted in between songs. Their songs are lovingly and thoughtfully constructed, but were performed with as much rawness that it seemed as if they might have written each one only a couple of hours before they took to the stage. With stacks of quality musicianship wrapped up in a lo-fi cacophony and more energy than a sack of angry badgers, they stomped their way through a fantastically entertaining set.

Finally came the night’s headliners Captain Dangerous, who along with their usual lineup boasted three extra violinists (as well as their regular guitar/fiddle player Miles Clark) and a host of other classically-minded treats to add to their frenetic, yelping indie pop. Celebrating the launch of their newest single Everything Beautiful Reminds Me Of You, they looked genuinely ecstatic to be on stage in a venue packed with so many fans, and just exuded infectious happiness. It was a mad mesh of genres and sounds, from cabaret rock-styled debauchery to bouncy, poppy indie, and with some touching heartfelt moments of emotion.

They were skittish, punctuated and tight as anything, with their cocky, cheeky attitude concealing a very clever knack for writing insanely catchy tunes. The string section, though risky, proved a hugely effective addition to their sound, adding punch to upbeat songs and depth to down-tempo ballads. The gloves came off towards the end of their set, and they finished with their guitarist on french horn and their bassist on a upright double bass, in a show that set them apart from regular indie rock counterparts into a league all their own.

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