Afterwards autographs are signed and people can go off and practise dance moves in front of their mirror. Not that I am in any way decrying that. It's just as it should be.
The Long Blondes – Tivoli, De Heiling 15/03/07
The walk to De Heiling is somewhat longer than anticipated... a little way out of town (according to one gentleman) turns out to be a good forty minute walk. Oh well... the Blondes are in town and I'm here to see how they have progressed post Kaiser Chiefs tour. And have the odd pint.
The audience is noticeably younger than the last two Long Blondes shows in Holland; the chin-stroking hipsters have retreated to the rear of the hall, leaving floor space to the teens and the ever-growing regiment of girls Kate Jackson seems to be amassing... still I suppose that's a good thing; you can't have us codgers at the front all the time. Pop is supposed to be a youth genre after all...
On they saunter, louche-ness intact. Lust in the Movies is cranked out and the audience get down and bop. Utrecht has certainly bought the message. Immediately noticeable is the noise level apportioned to Emma's guitar and keyboards, something that wasn't apparent in Amsterdam or Rotterdam last year. Personally I'm glad of that, sometimes they've sounded stringy with one guitar seemingly carrying both lead and rhythm parts, and the (increasingly welcome) part the keys play throughout the set beefs up their sound no end, especially in stuff like You Could Have Both and Giddy Stratospheres. It is also nice to hear a crashing drum sound; Long Blondes songs do have this tub-thumping appeal inherent in their songs that sometimes gets lost in the ambience. These are, after all, songs to dance to, to lose yourself in.
Kate Jackson leads the troops lined expectantly in front of her through a kind of amorous Grande Masque. I do like the way she can alter the mood of an audience and hold its attention through more reflective tracks like Fulwood Babylon and Heaven Help the New Girl. But really, everyone wants to jump around at the heart-surge moments in You Could Have Both, Only Lovers Left Alive and Separated By Motorways. And they do. Rapturous applause leads to an encore I can't remember - it could have been A Knife for the Girls, but don't quote me on that. Afterwards autographs are signed and people can go off and practise dance moves in front of their mirror. Not that I am in any way decrying that. It's just as it should be, and let us be thankful that there is a band that can enable the ultra cool "indie kids" to cut a little emotional slack...
Words: Richard Foster.