Off the band saunter, Miss H leaping from the stage like a March hare. A baying of devoted male voices ensures there is a three song encore ending with XTC's righteous This Is Pop.
Charlotte Hatherley Paradiso, Amsterdam 24/05/07
A busy night at the Paradiso, as there are three events laid on to keep the city's more discerning music lovers happy. As I walk in, the main hall is packed; the crowd respectfully watching Krakow and Andrew Bird getting down to some serious alternative noodling (replete with interesting instruments). Much as I like both bands, the prospect of another chin-strokingly serious gig doesn't appeal. I want some rock and roll to shake my tree. I want to cut some rug. Hence I'm much more excited about seeing Charlotte Hatherley play in the upstairs room which, (given the fact that she's playing between Mr. Bird and the ever popular Noodlanding all-nighter) seems a bit of a graveyard slot... Seeing tables and chairs in the room brings back embarrassing memories of seeing James Yorkston play in front of twenty people. God it's not going to be that quiet is it? Surely there are some people (apart from Incendiary) who think that this lass has got live presence to burn and two great LPs under her belt...
Luckily the band waits long enough for the concert to end downstairs, which means we've got some of the more adventurous of the chin-strokers in the room. And off the band go; straight into a feisty version I Want You to Know. The band are tight as 'owt; it's a heroic effort when you consider the changeable, complex nature of the songs themselves. Indeed, I defy any young guitarist to attempt to play Behave without suffering some form of debilitating arthritic cramps. Having said all that, it's obviously not going to be an issue tonight, because Miss H can play a bit.
As if in justification of the band's respective talents, (or an indication of Paradiso time schedules) there's nary a gasp for air in the set, even on the more "laid back" moments. And it's nice to note the tracks off the quieter second LP The Deep Blue do have an added thump live, something that allows them to dovetail beautifully with all the rocky older stuff like Bastardo. Particularly good were Roll Over, Again and Be Thankful; none of which I thought would translate successfully at a gig.
By the end, the place has thinned out a bit; the chin-strokers have departed (obviously disappointed that Hatherley's band don't have any banjos or violas, or beards); leaving a determined knot of starry-eyed males who all nod their heads ferociously during Summertime and Very Young. This is the sort of devotion you get at Fall gigs... Last song is Siberia which is nothing short of monumental; almost oceans and mountains stuff. Off the band saunter, Miss H leaping from the stage like a March hare. A baying of devoted male voices ensures there is a three song encore ending with XTC's righteous This Is Pop.
A truly tremendous gig. But where were you all? For shame...
Words: Richard Foster.
Photo: Courtesy http://www.charlottehatherley.com/