There’s something with the small room on the top floor of the Great Gatsby. It’s something in its layout that makes it look and feel like a speakeasy. Add a couple of burly truants, Dapper Dan-styled dandy gents and a few hustlers and it could be a temporal anomaly in Division Street (well, another one after that gateway to hell that used to be called Jack’s*.)
Pete David, without The Payroll Union, was the first band to perform in this night, the special night where The Rainy Day Club launched their newest album, Pale White Hands (review.) Pete David’s set is dark and ominous, but with a well served dose of gallows’ humour. ‘Julia died of cholera’ has always been one of his darkest tracks and in a stripped form, it feels even more poignant. Same with ‘Ghosts’, a classic from his first EP, where the already discomforting subject matter earns some ennui. ‘Jake the Pistol’ has always been a fave; a jaunty tale of John Wilkes Booth and his prosecutors.
Right, that’s the 1800s covered. Now, let’s move to the 1900s, specifically, the back of a VW Wagon that stinks of patchouli and contains at least two of the nudie suits The Flying Burrito Brothers used to wear. It might also contain blotters of acid but I didn’t stick around to find out. The Canyon Family travel in said imaginary Wagon, carrying now a new passenger that happens to play the autoharp. “This is our only hit” is sardonically stated before playing ‘Films about horses’, but I don’t agree, I quite like ‘Stay another day’. ‘Sister’ is a melancholic track and so is ‘Marcy’s song’, which, granted, is a cover, but Canyon Family made it their own; a haunting ethereal trip through the mazes of memory.
The Rainy Day Club looked nervous but channeled it all on their show, a clash of old school rock sensibilities with a slight post punk twist (very slight – let’s say trace concentrations.) Some danced with ‘The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea’, others swayed a bit with ‘Damage’. There’s a clear love for American from The Rainy Day Club, not only in attire, but in the musical composition, mixing equal parts of Tom Petty (with a softer voice) and The Sunshine Club. Some newer tracks that aren’t included in the album were played too, so anyone interested in keeping the band doing their mojo, contribute to their cause and purchase an album. We heartily endorse it if you like Americana rock.
A heavily inebriated man danced in the front, sometimes chatting with the band in a truly Hot Fuzz moment (I think people understood 34% of what he blurted out.) He seemed to dig everything but spat his dummy when Tom from The Rainy Day Club admitted he didn’t support any football club. The drunk man then lowered his appreciation for the band and went into a sulking position. The Rainy Day Club might’ve not been able to please him, but everybody else sported an approving grin.
Words & Photos: Sam J. Valdés López
*DISCLAIMER: Don’t treat a customer like shit when they want to buy a CD instead of a vinyl. That is all.