Tuesday, 13 November 2012

bill wells & aidan moffat/ rick redbeard @ cottiers, 7th november

After several years of performing solo with next-to-nowt to line his merch stand, Rick Anthony’s Rick Redbeard guise is picking up pace. Debut album This Selfish Heart is coming soon, The Phantom Band frontman promises, and tasters are shared tonight, including its impressive title track. But it’s the willowy beauty of Now We’re Dancing (from the summer’s split EP with Adam Stafford) that reduces the room to its quietest hush, as pew after pew gets swept up in his baritone serenade.

Opening with an especially wistful Tasogare and closing with And So We Must Rest, Bill Wells and Aidan Moffat deliver the still-remarkable Everything’s Getting Older in its entirety across tonight’s set. Where recent shows have involved a full band, tonight is a more intimate setup, with Wells behind his piano, Moffat brushing cymbals, and trumpeter Robert Henderson upping the jazziness of certain tracks with bravura grace notes. Particularly effective are The Copper Top and Dinner Time, the trio’s quiet performance accentuating the former’s pathos and the latter’s tense absurdity splendidly.

In addition, Box It Up and Man of the Cloth appear from Cruel Summer, though in lieu of the EP’s titular Bananarama hit we get a fresh girl group cover, with Stooshe's Black Heart re-worded to cast Moffat as the coal-souled monster in question – a deliciously louche appropriation that slots nicely into his pop covers repertoire. We're also introduced to a song reportedly dropped from Everything’s Getting Older for being too chirpy: with an upbeat swing and a whistling coda, it’s certainly conspicuous, though by this juncture, they’ve earned enough trust to take us anywhere.

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