The Lexington. A sticky Sunday night. Slurping a pint doesn’t sound an iota as good as it did twenty-four hours ago, but prevailing comes easier here than most places. (The Hopmeister has well and truly visited.) Upstairs, the lucky home to The Wave Pictures’ second gig today, is spacious and charming. A graceful singer-songwriter from London, Holly Holden, is here with Su Banda and together, the three piece make for a stellar opener. Holly’s eighties-tastic shirt is almost as transportive as their rhythms: funky, exotic – just the thing your hips will sway themselves to.
Holly’s musical style has clearly been influenced by her extended stay in the Caribbean and Cuba. She sings in an unpredictable Spanglish where we’ll often get a translation the next line; often we wont. Fronting the band with a groovy bass means the lead guitarist stands to her left, driving out riffs like they’re his last breath, and the drummer (who’ll remain on stage with the headliners) forms the perfect triangular point. We’re having the most fun with breezy ‘Benij Muji Mau’, which calls for a mojito chink or two. ‘Born At The Right Time’, the song ‘about doing what you love’, presents the band at their most musically agile. Holly jumps from bar to bar with a tone reminiscent of Lily Allen and Kate Nash, but possesses an arguably looser tongue.
David Tatersall and Franic Rozycki saunter on stage for the second time today without an ounce of bravado. Ostensibly a tour for their new album, ‘A Season In Hull’, the duo open with easy-moving ‘David In A Field Of Pumpkins’ where an engagement with the ordinary is so obsessive, it’s surreal. The house now packed, drummer Jonny Helm and percussionist David Beauchamp’s entrance into the lights is sound-tracked by gleeful cheering and applause. The foursome launch into opening track of 2012’s ‘Long Black Cars’, ‘Stay Here And Take Care Of The Chickens’. Their breed of frank anti-folk – where a chicken is always just a chicken – doesn’t fail to deliver.
The group move into their first performance of Bob Dylan cover ‘Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues’ and mold it to the brink of sounding like a WP original, boasting their effortless rhythm. Hairstyle more pageboy than rock star, David consistently impresses by coupling complex guitar with detailed lyricism – never once appearing to take any of it too seriously. He introduces their first single, ‘We Were Snowmen’, as the track that ‘launched them to international stardom’, in response to which everyone laughs, comfortable enough in David’s humble company to be unashamed with their cackles.
From here we move with them, both through the years and with the undulating beats. Even the slow burners such as ‘Dave’s Evening On Wheels’, where they’re ‘in love with a feeling’, they’re ‘freewheeling’, keep us tapping our feet with a smile. We’re told ‘about it’ on the bass guitar by Franic, who, tight-lipped, strums with soul, proving that feelings can supersede language. As we watch drummer Jonny groove to the instrumental section of a special track of his, ‘Now You Are Pregnant’, we again learn that sometimes melody speaks of a feeling in the clearest possible way.
Songs are personal to the point we believe we know David’s cat better than some of our friends and so absurdly declarative that the group stand to distinguish, acapella, what’s a sculpture and what’s just marmalade. As a society, we claim to crave originality – we’re tired of the same words in the same order – but, could it perhaps be that The Wave Pictures never exploded ‘onto the international scene’ because they’re, in fact, too idiosyncratic? Following an energetic request call-out, where the band are pleased to dig out older numbers such as ‘We Cried Like Babies’, it’s clear that everyone has a very personal favourite, and that’s the way they like it.
The gig initially wraps itself up with tangle-y ‘Spaghetti’, where we all dance like pasta breaking free from a sieve. Of course, the band is called hither for an encore, which they storm with another three tracks, tracing back to the likes of ‘Instant Coffee Baby’s’ ‘Friday Night in Loughborough’. With drum solos, bass solos, a rearrangement of the band and David’s earnest monologues, we’ve seen The Wave Pictures at their fullest tonight. Aside from everything else, The Wave Pictures remind us that success is relative. What can be a greater achievement than to have fun being yourself: pumpkins, two-tone cats ‘n’ all?
This Wave Pictures article was written by Eva Hibbs, a GIGsoup contributor. Photo credit : Gabri Guerrero