Emily Haines / Michael Andrews - Bush Hall London

I'm not a fan of the Bush hall venue and I absolutly hate it when it's seated so things weren't looking great when I arrived for the evening's performance and found rows of chairs set out.
Bush Hall didn't have much in the way of air conditioning and as it was one of London's hottest days in a while it made the venue very warm.
This caused a feeling of drowsiness amongst some of the crowd including the guy next to me who proceeded to sleep through most of the support act's set.I found Michael Andrews a lot more entertaining and kept my eyes open all the way through his performance!
Michael Andrews is best known for his film score compositions including "Donnie Darko", "Cypher" and "Me you and everyone we know".He was also responsible for scoring the cult US TV shows "Freaks and Geaks" and the wonderful "Wonderfalls".
Michael Andrews also has a UK Christmas Number 1 under his belt as his cover of Tears For Fears "Mad World" recorded with Gary Jules on vocals topped the UK charts in 2003.
His support slot consisted of songs from his 2006 album "Hand on string" which was released in the UK last month, with Michael singing and playing guitar.He was joined onstage by Amir Yaghmai who also sung, played guitar and violin.
"Hand on string" is a collection of fairly downbeat tracks sung with an "Everyman" delivery alongside some exquisite guitar work which was on display at Bush Hall.
An additional member was added to the duo when of one Michael's friends appeared on stage to uplift the "depressing" set with a few "Bahs" during a song.
I didn't catch her name but she seemed to enjoy her moment in the spotlight.
Inbetween songs Andrew's apologised for having to tune his guitar.He blamed it on not having a roadie as he was just travelling to gigs by train and also for writing songs with stupid tunings.
He told the audience that he was excited to be playing in front of them as he never expected "Hand on string" to come out so he was really happy, at least a lot more happier than when he wrote the songs anyway! His set must have gone down well on prior dates as he announced he only had four CD's left to sell.
I'm sure they would have all been sold by the time he left Bush Hall...

Metric are one of my favourite live bands of recent times so I eagerly picked up lead singer Emily Haines solo album "knives don't have your back" on import last year.
Although I knew in advance that it was a fairly downbeat collection I struggled with the album as it was very hard to get into.
Although predominately a "late night" piece of work the problem I found was the tracks failed to supply any hooks to hold my attention so I was more likely to be found head on shoulder with a collection of drool building up on my jumper by the end of the albums duration rather than wandering off to bed with a smile on my face!!
I hoped my visit to Bush Hall would help me get a grip of the songs after hearing them in a live setting.
For her London date Emily was joined by a string quartet and a man projecting visuals and pressing buttons for beats to help showcase her solo effort.
Emily arrived on stage looking like she'd come fresh from receiving an asbo as she was hoodied up, her appearance a stark contrast to the beautiful piano she would be playing.
Her set consisted of her "Knives don't have your back" album in full, with a slightly different running order.
By the time third song "Doctor Blind" had come along Emily had ditched her hoodie and was relaxing more, chatting to the crowd. Although the full set had a fairly sombre tone there was time inbetween songs for lighter moments.
Emily commented a bit on bloggers,comparing them to the sad drunk down the pub.Before the net he would just moan about his love life to those in the bar, now he can tell the world about it.He's still the same sad drunk but with a lap top.
Continuing her online discussion she mentioned that you can do lots of great things but if you type your name in Google the first thing that comes up will be the fact you hit some girl with a hockey stick when you were eight!
There were also a few throwaway comments during the set including "I hate quiet music but this is okay I guess" and on hearing "I love you" coming back with "I really needed someone to say that right now".
I'm sure she didn't as there was certainly a respectable silence throughout the performance from the audience with very little restlessness showing from where I sat.
After the album was played in its entirety Emily and the quartet left the stage, returning for an encore of Buffalo Springfield's "Expecting to fly".

I think my original problem with Emily's solo album is a lot of the tracks are more streams of thought than a classic song structure lyric wise.
I may not be the target audience for her solo work as I must admit I'm far happier with the singalong verse /chorus /verse chorus middle bit chorus etc type of song structure but I'm sure there were plenty people in the audience who were overjoyed to hear the songs live.
It certainly was a powerful presentation of the album and I did enjoy watching Emily perform it so I'm already hearing it in a different light.
For now it's off the Ebay pile and back onto the CD shelf to hopefully give me a few hours of enjoyment later down the line...

You can listen to tracks from both acts albums at their My Space pages...

Michael Andrews

Emily Haines

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