Friday, 4 May 2012

Bonnie Prince Billy & Trembling Bells

Listening to most of Bonnie Prince Billy's recorded output, a first time gig goer might be forgiven for expecting a quiet, reserved man, singing just barely above a whisper, with a rapt crowd hanging on every well placed silent pause in the music.

How different then the reality. Perhaps Will Oldham (aka Bonnie Prince Billy) is in fact a shy man, but he certain has no hang ups when it comes to dancing like a loon in love with the music in front of a few hundred people. As for pauses, well, apart from an acapella version of the folk traditional 'My husband's got no courage in him', there was barely a pause as Trembling Bells fully filled every track with a veritable wail of sound screaming out of their guitars. To be honest this was, in fact, more of a Trembling Bells gig as 'Riding' aside, nearly all the songs were written by TB's drummer Alex Neilson, as are most of those on their joint album 'The Marble Downs'. (He's clearly a prolific writer Mr Neilson, as he and his songs also featured in the support act - the lovely and entirely acapella group 'Muldoon's Picnic'.) Despite this BPB couldn't help but be the centre of attention with his madcap gyrations and incredibly distinctive vocal style. Also, while practically every song was a duet between Will and TB's Lavinia, he also seemed to get more than his fair share of memorable lines, to wit:
"As I rode out to Beachy Head,/ My live was a suicide note to Johnny Walker Red" or " I used to be your universe/ You're not even my Birmingham."

An utterly awesome gig.

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