Posted by: nick
Telekinesis’ Michael Benjamin Lerner is from Seattle but is a bit of an Anglophile it transpires this evening. He used to reside in Liverpool and can’t get enough of beans on toast and Marks and Spencer. He even admits, with a little shame, to being partial to a bit of Topman. He’s not such a fan of dodgy Liverpool fish and chips and in particular the “Mersey Brown Trout”!
With this kind of frank chat it doesn’t take long for the Brixton crowd to warm to Telekinesis who tonight feature support band The Rosebuds’ frontman Ivan Howard on bass and a sound engineer who “saved this tour” on guitar. Michael sits behind his drum kit centre stage from where he also handles lead vocal duties. For the most part, as on his Death Cab For Cutie produced self-titled debut album, it’s sun kissed power pop that is the order of the day. ‘Tokyo’ and ‘Look To The East’ reveal a passion for Japanese culture too, as does the gorgeous ‘I Saw Lightning’, one of the slower numbers for which Michael steps out from behind his drums and picks up a small acoustic guitar previously used in The Rosebuds’ set. The two bands are label mates (Merge Records) and there’s a definite in the family feel in the air this evening. ‘Imaginary Friend’ is quite simply a sweet pop song and ‘Great Lakes’ has a guitar line so sweet it could rot teeth. But it’s Telekinesis’ catchiest song ‘Coast Of Carolina’ that ends the show and swaggers along like the Brian Wilson fronting Weezer. It’s engaging if not life changing.
But the highlight of the evening turned out to be North Carolina’s The Rosebuds. A fully unplugged acoustic set, warts ‘n’ all, is a brave endeavour at the best of times, let alone at your first London gig. Tonight the two-piece of Ivan on vocals and guitar and Kelly on accordion and backing vocals, manage to pull it off with the upmost style. Ivan evidently has music in his veins as he doesn’t stop singing all night whether it be to us or himself.
We’re treated to ‘Get Up Get Out’ from their last record ‘Night Of The Furies’. These guys have four albums in the bag now and they’re evidently comfy in their song writing skin. ‘Leaves Do Fall’ sees the duos vocals playing off each other at their best but it’s Ivan’s voice and delivery that’s the real show stealer tonight. ‘Boxcar’ is a song that deserves to have graced a London stage long before this, its seemingly autobiographical line “I’m not crazy, I’m just a little boy, you’re not crazy, you’re just a little girl” sticking in the head for the remainder of the night.
They know how to work a crowd too. A heavy Carolina drawl seems to make everything they say that little more heartfelt for some reason. For the gorgeous lazy paced ‘Nice Fox’ (from forthcoming LP ‘Like Like’) the audience is asked to take charge of the repeated line ‘And it don’t mean nothing at all’, a roll taken by friends and family on the recorded version. The effect is an almost dizzying communal high. The Rosebuds are due back with their full band in the spring. We wouldn’t miss it for the world.