Notting Hill pubs starts farewell party in fitting style
Walking into a gig and hearing a band playing can mean either one of two things. Firstly you’re late and you might have missed your favorite song, or secondly you are early and it’s just the sound check. Luckily last night it was the latter. When I arrived at the Elgin in Notting Hill, the bands were just finishing their sound check. Phew! I got a pint of the black stuff and found a good place to perch. The gig in question was Du Bellows. I’d only seen them a few weeks earlier, but I was looking forward to this one as there was a hint of new songs. But first was the formality of the opening act.
The support came from Grace Moon and the Jaguar. For whatever reason the coming to the stage thirty minutes late. Having recently released their debut EP, this duo make music that conjures up the past. I don’t mean that they’re a cover band, far from it, although their cover of Have Love Will Travel does need to be seen live to do it justice. They take elements from the past and create something new. A hint of Paris in the 1920’s. A snatch of James Bond’s London in the early 1960’s, and a little bit of Angelo Badalamenti thrown in for fun. Add some jazz leanings coupled with some European suave and swagger and you have a winning combination. Their set’s highlight was Night River. Having only heard this through speakers before, seeing it performed live was a revelation. They captured the essence of the track, but due to playing live it’s phrasing and instrumentation took on a whole new vibe. When their set finished the crowd was left wanting more, hopefully it won’t be long before they’re on stage again.
After a short interval the headliners took the stage. In the short time since I’d last seen Du Bellows, a change had taken place. They seemed more confident. Maybe that was down to knowing they had new songs to play that people hadn’t heard before. Possibly it was due to a successful string of gigs, or even that they were still buzzing from being announced as Alabama 3’s support at upcoming shows. But they looked ready and hungry to play.
Opening track Tepid Water kicked things off nicely. When they finished the crowd showed their appreciation with a rousing applause. Next up was Otherside, another fan favourite. In parts of the crowd, loyal fans were singing along with the catchy verses and choruses. Silurian Woman was next to grace our ears, and like the two previous song, it received a fervent applause. The rest of the set was a blur of enjoyment, until the outro of Dry Flowers, when the realisation that it was all over swept over the crowd. A riotous applause greeted the band at the end of their blistering set.
There were new songs in the set. They had the same power and intensity of the old favourites, if one of them did sound reminiscent of Blueberry Hill, but that might have just been me. While it was great to see the new writing direction of the band, their inclusion did rob us of one of Du Bellow’s finest songs, Isa Du Bellow. But you can’t have everything right?
This wasn’t a standard performance though. Du Bellows had more bite than usual. They played like they had something to prove. Darley Mylan’s amp sounded like it had moments to live, gritty and visceral. Jade Williams was taking no prisoners with her husky sultry vocals. The rhythm section of TJ, Richard Leeds and David Watkinson were well oiled and a pleasure to watch.
The only down side to the gig was that the Elgin is stopping original live music. Yes they’ll still have cover bands, but that’s not really the same is it? That’s like telling he Marcus Wareing can only serve microwave meals in his restaurants or letting Alexis Sanchez only play football bootless. I’m sure that in time this original live music embargo will be lifted, but for now get down to the Elgin as much as you can before it’s gone. London. You have been notified!