Plum + Phantom Runners + Patchwork Natives @ Blind Tiger Club, Brighton 29/11/13

Posted: 05/12/2013 in Live Review
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Do you like ‘maff’ rock? It’s really good, honest – but perhaps not for everyone. Patchwork Natives are clearly pretty tasty musicians and are somewhat comfortable letting you know it. It’s wholly authentic and the math heads will suitably drool.  That is slightly the problem though.  Asides from a detour through 80s session-muso funk and an amusing jazz section, it doesn’t veer from familiar territory.  It’s also difficult to shake the fact that you really need more than three musicians to do instrumental rock with a bit of refinement.

Familiar territory isn’t a concept weighing down The Phantom Runners. They start the set with a cheesy programed beat while the drummer sits with nothing to do. Thirty seconds later the band fully burst in. Does that make sense? No. Does it work? Bizarrely, yes. They dress like truckers yet sound like Pains of Being Pure at Heart then Simple Minds then a bit like Vampire Weekend without the nauseating bits. Just when it seems to be getting safe, they bring on Titus Taylor to do some rhymes over it??? Indie and rapping NEVER works. Except now.  Why aren’t these guys bigger?

Plum played an unforgettable set Sticky Mike’s in the summer. She had just broken her harm and had to play a hastily adapted version of her set. She was clearly spaced from all the pain-killers and talking nonsense between songs.  It was a complete charm offensive from start to finish. Tonight she is fighting fit and lucid but no less endearing. It takes a few tracks for the engineer to get it together but the quality of the beats shines through. Although clearly adept at quiet folktronica and chill-out, it’s the colossal battering tunes that shine tonight.  Especially the glitchy industrial meltdown at the end.  Rousing stuff!


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