The Lemon Twigs and Flyte, O2 Institute 2, Birmingham - review
Two new bands with two very different approaches to making great music came together to lift a mundane midweek night into something rather special.
Support band Flyte, who've already played Wolverhampton and Birmingham venues in their own right this year, only had a half hour slot in which to impress, and impress they did with some carefully crafted pop songs from their hugely promising debut album The Loved Ones.
The London band are straightforward stand and play guys with an affable and fine voiced frontman in Will Taylor, though all four play a part vocally with Fleet Foxes-like close harmonies. This was best showcased by their a capella version of Alvvays' Archie, Marry Me.
Highlights included their singles Victoria Falls and Cathy Come Home, which bookended the set, plus the atmospheric Orphans Of The Storm and the 80s flavoured synth-driven Sliding Doors. With melodic tunes this good, I reckon the sky's the limit for Flyte.
The Lemon Twigs, a New York quartet based around brothers Brian and Michael D'Addario, former Broadway stage kids, are brash, bizarre and beautifully unconventional. I think they may be touched by genius and they certainly know how to put on a show.
Their music is a theatrical take on 70s rock delivered with punk energy and hinting at such maverick singer-songwriters as Rufus Wainwright, Ezra Furman and Mike Nesmith.
The first half is fronted by long-haired Brian, a slick and confident singer/guitarist whilst brother Michael bangs the hell out of the drum kit like a latter day Keith Moon.
Midway through the 70 minute set, Michael comes to the mic in his cap, sunglasses and sequins as the siblings swap places. It immediately becomes apparent that Michael is an unabashed showman akin to Iggy Pop, high kicking and turkey trotting around the stage, then climbing and leaping off the speakers. His voice certainly has plenty of raw power as does his guitar playing in a performance that teetered thrillingly on the edge of chaos.
Maybe their songs are just too quirky for the mainstream but are shot through with some glorious rock riffs and melodic Beach Boys-like power pop plus some wry lyrics.
The one cover, of Jonathan Richman's You Can't Talk To The Dude, sat comfortably alongside songs from their debut album Do Hollywood and the Brothers Of Destruction mini-album.
Highlights included Why Didn't You Say That?, I Wanna Prove To You, These Words, Beautiful and Baby Baby.
The Lemon Twigs, once seen never forgotten, ever.