Blitzen Trapper at 93 Feet East

8th October 2008 – 8.07 am

When Blitzen Tapper played the Water Rats back in May they promised that a new album would be out in the autumn and they'd be back to play some gigs. Furr has been released and Blitzen Trapper turned up at 93 Feet East to promote it, as well as throwing a few songs from their previous album and a Dolly Parton cover in to the set. The album was only released 'like, 48 hours ago so don't feel bad if you don't know any of the songs', we are reassured. The band then admits that 'we barely know the songs, and we don't feel bad about it'. That's alright, then.

Not that it matters much that the songs are unfamiliar because they all sound good. Hearing the new material played live makes me look forward to playing the copy of Furr I picked up at the gig, hawked at the back of the venue by charming drummer Brian. The title track of the new album sounds particularly catchy. Intermingled with the new songs are some favourites from the previous album, Wild Mountain Nation. The heavily syncopated and somewhat discordant Devil's A-Go-Go has never sounded better, being brought to life by a vivid and energetic performance, with Wild Mountain Nation offering a counterbalance as a more mellow affair, even slightly slowed-down from the studio version.

It helps that the band clearly believe in the music they are playing, throwing themselves passionately in to the performance. To Blitzen Trapper everything is a musical instrument to be played, right down to a toy bird whistle. And every instrument is played earnestly, extracting the musical essence to create rhythms and harmonies, even if the best way to achieve this is to strum a guitar with a tambourine.

The balloons and streamers decorating the microphone stands, along with the noise-makers and party-poppers used occasionally, are explained when it is revealed it is guitarist/vocalist Marty's birthday. He says he is nineteen and another band member covers the lie by stating that this is 'his DJ age'. It seems unlikely that this is a reference to The Mighty Boosh, in which the character Bollo makes a similar joke, until the end of the gig when the band say they'll be showing off their 'crimping' at the merchandise table. Either they are fans of the show after all or they are quite proud of their wire-joining skills.

The gig is excellent and highly enjoyable, with second band Absentee providing some more entertainment. Bltizen Trapper may be coming back to the UK in February, and I'll be looking out for the announcement so that I can reserve a ticket.

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