Friday, October 3, 2008

Dancing with tears in my eyes

You know you're in trouble when the only way you can hope for your fans to appreciate your music is by encouraging them to do drugs. So was the case with The E.L.F. And Darren Cross did it with such admirable subtlety too, "Take your drugs at 3.30 and then come see me at 4.30!" he shouted at Oxford Arts on Wednesday night, shortly after informing the crowd he was to play at Parklife. Amazingly, they (being the few kids front of stage) seemed to listen. I think I may have even heard a slight cheer. Who were these kids? Those that danced, danced front of stage, for all to see. They seeped an inexplicable air of self-satisfaction in 'Van She" t shirts and the only mildly worse slogan t shirt, "So, do you wanna...?". No, thank you, I'd really rather not. Evidently, Cross knows how to pull a crowd. His set ended in a carnage of "Hey Mickey" amongst a jumble of other tunes we never especially liked in the first place.

It seems my tolerance for old, flannel-wearing men behind a laptops making strange hand gestures is significantly lowered when I'm ill.

Local band Grafton Primary however, was none of the above. Joshua Garden (on vocals) robot slash Tai Chi danced onto stage. He was chanting, charming, androgynous, and brilliantly 80s electro-noir in a neck scarf and arm-flashing shirt bearing a print of a half naked woman. The trio, pictured below, had a pretty sweet stage presence.

And if (when you undoubtedly see them) they don't have you wide eyed by the end of the first song, just wait till Josh's brother Benjamin Garden (also on synths) pulls out the oh-so-fantastic keytar. Yum. Grinding, heavy, monotone, rhythmic, and intensely layered, their sounds are simply vibrant live.

By the time Does It Offend You, Yeah? (below) arrived on stage, the conjunctivitis was vying for attention (oh I had not forgotten about you conjuncty), alas, I found one eye wearily closing. A crowd-surfing Har Mar Superstar was even more confusing than it should have been.

And that was the note the night ended on, weary but well entertained. Check out Grafton Primary on their myspace while I cross my fingers that conjuncty forgets about me. Maybe if I cross them long enough, he'll leave me be and instead pay a visit to Cross.

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