Joy Zipper + Uncle Bob – ICA

The line up last Thursday entailed two groups with suitable sensitive leanings to melt the walls of the ICA with their beguiling charm and endearing hearts. It was music to ease the soul during melancholy contemplations and wipe tears from sad regrets and in just one night, the crowd loved it.

Uncle Bob entranced with an acoustic set in its purest form. Two guitars and a drum kit and to infuse their stance on plugging in, a double bass stood nicely as the bass instrumentation.

The four-piece from Glasgow held the stage as the Lords of Acoustica and the UK’s answer to The Shins, and as they flew down from Glasgow especially for the gig, they did not disappoint at all.

As Joy Zipper took to the stage with moody lighting effused the stage. The two-piece from LA embodied all things musical from the West Coast: they had surfing music sensibilities with reminiscences of the psychedelica of the Mazzy Star or Dream Syndicate, yet the hint of the Beach Boys was always biting at the edges.

Opening with the use of the couple’s soprano vocal range in 2004’s Out of the Sun, the round of harmonies of the bubbling chorus and tranquil psychedelica spun the room and set the tone for a night of sweetness and light.

Yet with songs about suicide, bitterness and other darker realities of the world, the innocence in Joy Zipper’s music seems to be a front where the heart of the music can be secretly morbid.

However, sometimes they would just have fun, like when they indulged in their song about doves as lead guitarist and singer, Vinny Cafiso, sang “I love doves, I’m into doves etc.” braking up the set to make something quirky.

And then Joy Zipper can do a love ballad to make all feel faint. Baby You Should Know awoke us to something pretty yet oh so cool, and the alternative country twang of You’re So Good when that beautiful chorus sung by Tabitha Tindale, that’s what I see when I see in your eyes, made the night.

Some tracks from the new album, The Heartlight Set, were included in the set like the conversational 1 but a lot of crowd favourites from their second album American Whip caused vocal appreciation from the punters and also cheered up a dragging Cafiso who suffered some severe jet lag from the night before.

However, once Cafiso held his Gibson SG guitar the night rocked out. In its entirety the set had depth in mood that crescedoed from mellow to wild in the full hour and with the ICA’s sophisticated atmosphere, the night was an atmospheric wonderland.

Michelle Manning

Updated: May 03, 2005

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