Thursday, November 08, 2007

Steady the Bobs

The Bobby McGee’s.
Whitechapel Art Gallery. 02nov07.

So there’s Jimmy, right, stood by the door. He’s quite easy to spot. He’s the one with the ukulele. And the sailor’s cap. And the jeans held up by braces. And the kind of low-hanging beard you could wire a piano with. And the thick blue jumper that, as part of this ensemble, gives him the look of a Tennant’s-fuelled North Sea trawlerman.

Next to Jimmy, almost incongruously so, is the polite and demure Eleanor, dressed like it’s a 40’s barn-dance, whose apple-cheeked vocals lilt away while Jimmy stalks around like a tramp shouting at a post-box for stealing his thoughts, yet lyrically coming across like a toddler tugging on his scrotum. Together, and they are down to a bare bones as a duo tonight, they write songs of love, songs like ‘Ivor Cutler’s Dead’ (“I’ve got noh friends, nut wun, ahm just a sad and lonely little boy”), and songs about unloved Star Wars characters. The latter opens the set, Eleanor breathing softly and sparsely through a melodica whilst Jimmy addresses the audience through a rabbit hand-puppet (“and I dain’t wahnna be Jah-Jah Binks a’more.”)

As the unsettling rubber wallpaper lyrics, the skifflingtwee-kick-at-the-ankles-of-Prolapse that is their sound and Jimmy’s rough speak-singing brogue cause the audience to take a step or two back towards the wall, he attempts to gain their trust by throwing party poppers, glow bracelets and even the bunny glove into the crowd. Not like a football mascot distributing blackjacks to the family section mind, more like a baseball pitcher attempting a stone-skimming record despite a bracing wind.

In the Whitechapel Art Gallery’s café/bar space there is no stage as such and tonight’s acts have shuffled gradually nearer and nearer the open archway leading to the vestibule, the gallery and the exit. As a result, those wishing to make good their escape need first traverse the chicken run of fear, past Jimmy’s Venus fly-trap-choking-on-a-marble eyeballs. Some don’t make it, as he virtually chases them out of the room with the zeal of a man who quite fancies giving cannibalism a try. He shouts after them: “run…run…tell your friends…run…tell your children…you’ve just seen the best fucken band in the world.”

As their set closes, the rabbit glove puppet is returned at speed to Jimmy’s feet, the audiences appreciation held within the rabbit’s paws in the form of a single rose.

Bobby McGee’s @ MySpace



Blogger Ben said...

"Jimmy’s Venus fly-trap-choking-on-a-marble eyeballs" - genius...

2:09 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ehhhh...that's a good review right?


1:47 pm  
Blogger skif said...

Yes Jimmy. Yes it is!

2:06 pm  

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