After the disappointment of watching Wales lose to the All Blacks in a game of rugby that was enthralling despite the result, I needed to write something positive about the motherland while I wait for Ms Markontour to meet me at the Slaughtered Lamb for a bit of Saturday night indie-folk. So, six days late, here follows a homage to Euros Childs and his idiosyncratic gig last week at Hoxton’s Seabright Arms.
No-one could accuse Euros Childs of being slack. He has reliably churned out at least one adventurous album each year since the sad demise of his teenage band, Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci. But he nevertheless started last Sunday’s gig with an effort-related apology: “It’s not laziness”, our hero implored, while clumsily blue-tacking a lyric sheet to his Moog, “there’s just a lot of food in this song and I can’t remember the full shopping list”.
Later, another apology: “This is where I use my i-phone as a drum machine. It’s been a disaster on the tour so far..”
But not tonight. Everything goes smoothly and the audience laps up songs from Mr Child’s over-active imagination, taking in kitchen utensils (‘My Colander’), middle-class evening pursuits from another age (‘Whist Drive’), and a song about a blissed out man enjoying being unconscious while his wife and relatives argue over their inheritance (‘Happy Coma’).
The tunes are reliably kooky and mostly based around simple keyboard melodies. Indeed, things go wrong for a minute when the singer switches to guitar and can’t remember the chord sequence. But, ultimately, a Euros Childs’ gig is all about the stories and the audience happily laps up a set mostly comprised of clever new songs, although markontour did enjoy one of the rare old tracks – ‘Jane (not her real name)’ from Euro’s ‘Cousins’ spin-off band, which seems to eerily describe the teenage years of my wonderful sister of the same name.
Recorded by fellow Welsh singer-songwriter, Sweet Baboo, ‘House Arrest’ has been gaining a fair bit of airplay, and not only on the Gorky’s-loving Radio 6 (“6 Music” to some). Indeed, Euros gets as close to bragging as is possible for someone so self-effacing when he tells us ‘Happy Coma’ is on the Radio 2 playlist.
Markontour has bought every LP and attended at least one gig on every Euros Childs tour, so this was never going to be an impartial review. But surely only a curmudgeon could fail to empathise with Euros Childs in full flow and this year’s offering, ‘House Arrest’, is one of his best.