The Loose Salute / Lemonheads - Forum London
Earlier in the week I came across a MySpace bulletin from UK six piece The Loose Salute, celebrating the fact that they had just released a couple of new tracks "The curse of caring" and "Happy I don't count". I checked out the songs on their MySpace player, enjoying what I heard, and noticed the fact that they had a gig at the Forum supporting The Lemonheads. I managed to see the band live on a handful of occasions around 2005 but have always managed to miss their live appearances since for some reason or another. I completely devoured their debut album Tuned To Love when it arrived in 2007, picking up the US release on Graveface Records a few months before it appeared in the UK on Heavenly, so a trip to see the band perform was long overdue.
London's Forum was beginning to fill up nicely by the time the band took to the stage, opening the proceedings with 'Photographs and Tickets', a lush, mid-paced ballad that set their stall out nicely, with lead singer Lisa Billson's gorgeous voice drawing the curious towards the front of the stage. Lisa shared vocal duties throughout the night with band founder and drummer Ian McCutcheon. The band had quite a loose set up for their performance, with band members swapping instruments throughout the evening. The Loose Salute deliver laid back country tinged tracks, with a bit of Beach Boys style surf rock thrown into the mix for good measure. The band's Forum set was a mix of tracks from their debut alongside a handful of songs earmarked for their sophomore release.
Live renditions of previous singles 'The Mutineer', 'Turn the Radio Up and 'Why'd We Fight?' all sounded great, especially 'Radio', one of the great lost singles of the last few years. The new songs were all of a similar standard. I unfortunately didn't catch their names but I particularly liked the Lisa-led track that appeared around the middle of the set that was quite a rowdy affair for the band, leading to the lens of guitarist Robert Jesse's glasses falling out as he was "rocking out" too much! The Loose Salute appear on the latest Mojo magazine cover CD Abbey Road Now!, with a rendition of 'The End' and hopefully this will bring their music to a wider audience, adding to the number of fans (myself included) waiting patiently for album number two.
I wasn't really looking forward too much to headliners The Lemonheads. I think I last saw the band around the time of their Come on Feel the Lemonheads album, probably at Glasgow Barrowlands. I gave up on the band after that as the following album Car Button Cloth only contained a couple of decent tracks and I certainly wasn't fussed about checking out their 2005 comeback after Mr Dando's wilderness years.
The band have recently released a completely lackluster covers album Varshons, featuring such delights as Evan's take on Linda Perry's Aguilera classic 'Beautiful' and a truly hideous Electro Pop track 'Dirty Robot', featuring vocals from Kate Moss. The album isn't quite as bad as Duran Duran's Thank you but it's not far off!
I had a quick look at the band's set list while in the photo pit, noticing it stretched over two pages.
Lemonheads songs tend to be fairly short and snappy so I could see that there were plenty old favourites on display to keep the crowd happy throughout the night. My main thought at the start of the set was that my time in the photo pit would be fairly short due to the songs on offer.
Dando deviated from the set list throughout the performance, with even the opening song different to what was down on paper. Luckily tracks from Varshons were few and far between throughout the evening as the rest of the set was taken up with a major plundering of the Dando back catalogue. I believe the majority of seminal album It's a Shame About Ray was played (if not all), with the best tracks from Come On ... and Car ... also on offer. Evan offered very little in the way of onstage communication and all three band members were very static. It didn't seem to matter though as the "hits" just kept coming, pulling the Forum audience back to the 90s!
There were a number of highlights throughout the set for me with 'Confetti' (despatched three songs in!), 'Bit Part', 'If I Could Talk I'd Tell You' and 'It's About Time' all bringing a major smile to my face. Evan disposed of his two band members towards the end of the set, performing an extended acoustic set that reaped more rewards, including 'Being Around', 'The Outdoor Type' and probably my favourite song of the night, a cover of the Linda Ronstadt classic 'Different Drum'.
I hadn't planned on watching a lot of the band's set as I only popped in to catch The Loose Salute. So although I was having fun at the Forum I had begun clock watching slightly as the set drew to a close, ever conscious of train times home (I know it's not very Rock and Roll!).
I was hanging on for the appearance of 'The Great Big No' as it was another of my faves. I had noticed it's appearance two songs from the end whilst browsing the set list and had vowed to stay till it showed up. It was certainly worth the wait anyway, sending me out the Forum with a spring in my step! I enjoyed The Lemonheads set a lot more than I thought I would. I doubt I'd rush back to see them again but it was nice to wallow in a bit of nostalgia for an hour or so anyway.