A screen was erected behind the drum kit, and dry ice was pumped stage-wards. If you're in thrall to the likes of Neu! & the Bunnymen, you've got to do these things properly.
Black Cab, Whip, Ekko Utrecht, 19/05/07
Ah the Ekko, how we love it! Utrecht on a sunny afternoon is hard to beat, especially with the knowledge that brilliant Black Cab is due to appear in one of our favourite venues. After a beer and a pleasant time spent lounging around (as you do) we went to check the support band, who turned out to be Whip, a three piece ensemble who can be best and most flippantly described as nu-folk.
I suppose you can't escape that dreadful moniker if you have a banjo about your person as one of them indisputably did. And the hat/beard combination as sported by singer Jason Merritt did little to help deflect allegations. Still, their LP Blues for Losers is a fine record indeed and worth hunting down. And fair play to them, we were knocked out by their performance; we weren't in all honesty expecting much it has to be said, but to be won over by a set of beautiful, heartfelt balladry when we had originally come to worship at the temple of classic alternative rock says volumes for Whip. The same feeling obviously affected our fellow gig-goers; for, tellingly in a country where it's considered de rigueur to chat through any live performance, you could hear a pin drop.
Onto Black Cab.
A screen was erected behind the drum kit, and dry ice was pumped stage-wards. If you're in thrall to the likes of Neu! & the Bunnymen, you've got to do these things properly. Suddenly the Altamont film (which is a band obsession apparently) came on the screen. Black Cab shuffled on one by one and locked into a mellow take on the brilliant Hearts on Fire. Black Cab are more meditative and organic (dare I say it softer) live; their latest LP at times suggests a hard, thumping approach, but nothing could be further from that impression here.
The band's laid-back, unprepossessing nature meant that you inevitably ended up watching Altamont, the set becoming in effect a live soundtrack. Still, when you've got songs as steeped in the tradition of rock as Black Cab's that is no bad thing. A very beautiful, intimate gig then, and given the banter from the stage, conducted in the best of spirits. Attempts to wig out were seen during the last track, 1970, which sounded immense.
A top night out.
Words: Richard Foster
Photos: Courtesy of Black Cab