Yes, they’re getting later, I know. My obvious tardiness aside, I went to see Two Gallants supported by The Hickey Underworld at the Electric Ballroom on 6th November. The main things I can remember about The Hickey Underworld are that they were Dutch, they were pretty raucous and listening to Primus on the way to the gig didn’t seem quite so inappropriate after they started. They’ll get a proper listen sometime but I can’t say too much about them now without making it up and they don’t deserve that…
2Gs though? Lovely 2Gs. For those of you who don’t know they are Adam Haworth Stephens and Tyson Vogel, two very talented chaps indeed. Like The White Stripes they strip it all down to a guitar and some drums but unlike The White Stripes they also often sound like a full band. There are countless tumbling picked riffs and blues-inspired tunes played like garage rock. The lyrics are superb in a literate fashion (I’m not going to say D**an, but you all know what I’m thinking) and Adam’s voice has a unique world-weary tone, strung out and sagacious.
The gig showed them back on form as well. I was a little wary after the mixed bag of their last album (the ol’ genius to meh quality mix) but it seems the break has cleansed their palettes. They have a new twist on their sound, shifting from raw garage rock to something fuller and heavier. There’s a new cheeky tone of humour too evident in songs like Willy. All of these things are good IMHO.
The moment of the gig was probably Broken Eyes where Tyson joined Adam at the microphone to sing harmonies. There’s something about the way they perform together that suggests they’re very close. Maybe I’m seeing what I want to see, but there’s a sensation of two travellers, nomads, worn out and dusty from the road, singing songs of the life they’ve seen out there. Something sadly missing from a lot of music these days.
Even better, the venue wasn’t utterly rammed to the gills. Having seen them on their last visit at the Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, that was a relief. No more sweaty rooms with no security and a crowd WAY over capacity. No more streams of people surging past every two seconds to get drinks and pee. It was all very civilised indeed.
Both have worthy solo projects worth investigating too. Adam Haworth Stephens’ We Live on Cliffs is just as literate and bittersweet lyrically, but less overtly rawk compared to 2Gs. The Cities That You’ve Burned should turn you on with it’s cracking western saloon style piano alone. If not, well if not maybe don’t tell me because you’re wrong.
Tyson Vogel’s Devotionals (or One Gallant as my dad calls him) is the other direction. It’s predominantly just melodies, with a short poem thrown in for good measure, but is just gorgeous from start to finish. Acoustic melodies with strings to make your heart patter. Turns out Tyson is a talented guitarist as well.
Oh yes, and 62,006