Hot Club De Paris Gig Review

CHRIS BANNON reviews Hot Club De Paris at the Portland Arms, with a little help from GEORGE OSBORN

Cavaliers Hot Club De Paris The Portland Arms The Travis Waltons

Tab reviewer: Chris Bannon

The Portland Arms is not a venue many Cambridge students frequent, which is a shame.  The venue has genuine authenticity and brings back memories of teenage years seeing the latest local, whilst hoping that the barman will serve you.  First act Cavaliers were nothing special at all.  With an appalling sound check, their vocals were completely inaudible.  By the looks of things though one of the three singers (unorthodox I’ll give them that) appeared to be trying some scremo, so I’m glad I couldn’t hear it.  Can’t imagine these guys going anywhere soon…

The Travis Waltons though, wow!  I still cannot believe that they’ve only been together for 3 weeks.  Genuine talent was shown in their show, with the addition of a keyboard giving extra depth to their indie sound.  Nerves though did show on lead singer Ian Flay and bless him, had to swap places with bassist in the last song as his microphone cut out.  Expect them to arise to headlining pub gigs in the near future.

But anyway, Hot Club de Paris.  Opening with outrageous track Fuck You, The Truth!, a song last week named as number one on NME’s 10 tracks you have to hear this week, they produced an exciting set.  The cheeky scousers bantered much with the crowd, especially during their barbershop number mid-set, and the guitarist was pulling off some flawless riffs.  There were some questionable moments though, and with songs lasting in some cases less than 2 minutes there are problems.  I’ll forgive them that though for giving me a free set list when putting on my scouse accent.  Fun and exciting live, but I don’t hold much hope for their album, especially when there is only one single worth commenting on.

Senior Music Critic: George Osborn

Well what I can say about the Portland Arms?  It is a classic pub venue: small, intimate and the sound is rigged badly.  So far, so par for the course.  So were the first act, Cavaliers who after a briefly promising Ash like opening number sunk into pub rock blandness.  Like a light yellow colour painted on a bedroom wall, there is nothing memorable or disgusting about them.

The Travis Waltons on the other hand, were a pleasant surprise.  A mixture of the best moments of Snow Patrol (yes they do have them), Mumm-ra style builds up and an Engineers style sincerity, the only hint they were a band that had only played three gigs was Ian Flay’s nerves upfront.  Hopefully they’ll disappear with time, as his band displayed some genuine skill.

But the real question remains: were Hot Club any good?  The gig certainly was.  A tight set, blown through with real verve and humour despite a crowd deader than Adolf Hitler it was definitely professional.  But 16 songs in a fifty minute set is a problem: there isn’t weight to the music.  Fairly forgettable, angular indie rock, Hot Club de Paris need to bulk up soon to be more than an entertaining sideshow.

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