A blog on gigs, music, art and London.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

The High Llamas at Whitechapel Art Gallery

Going to gigs can be a lonely business. It can also be uncomfortable and even slightly alienating I find. It can also be a brilliant, rewarding, memorable experience. I ended up feeling all of these things whilst at the Whitechapel Art Gallery last night.

I was there to see one of my favourite bands, The High Llamas.

It was my first time visiting the Whitechapel Art Gallery. I had heard the capacity was 140 but didn't quite know what to expect. My initial reaction wasn't great. The room was small (which is normally a real positive for me) but stage seemed to be tucked away in the corner and a growing number of people were already sitting down on the floor, making for a slightly claustrophobic beginning. However, later in the evening, once everyone was standing I realised that it actually worked well as a gig venue and was enjoying being there.

Support band Ladywoodsman eventually come on and they were pretty good with their percussive, lo-fi, alt-blues sound.

The High Llamas were playing their annual London show (why only annual?). Last time I saw them was in 2000 at Camden Dingwalls.

They pretty much played a greatest hits set, spanning their entire career - 'Leaf And Lime', 'Harper's Romo', 'Triads', 'Bach Ze', 'The Old Spring Town', 'Nomads', 'The Sun Beats Down', 'Hi-Ball Nova Scotia', 'Campers In Control' were all played finishing with a glorious 'Checking In, Checking Out'.
See below for some photos (not great quality admittedly).

Their songs have brilliant harmonies, beautifully simple melodies, and great lyrics. I don't think it is overstating things to say that Sean O'Hagan is one of the finest songwriters of recent times. ...

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