Feature: Review - Small Lies: Cowtown, Cheap Jazz and Biscuit Mouth

Small Lies assembled yet another mouth-watering bill for their latest show. Tom went along to The Blessington Carriage with a camera and a notepad to document the late summer shindig.

The venue has changed a few times, but Derby artist Tracey Meek keeps on ensuring that the line-up for Small Lies is as impressive as ever. In addition to Cowtown, Cheap Jazz and Biscuit Mouth, Snug Recording Company provided a DJ and a plethora of well-chosen tunes throughout the evening and for the disco afterwards.

Biscuit Mouth made their live debut to get the evening started, serving up a groove that had heads nodding within moments. Tim and Sean, formerly of Felusia: End, made a mockery of the notion that a band might ever need more than two members, with a singing drummer and a guitar that had been modified to feature both bass and guitar strings. The dynamic shifts within songs were perfectly executed, like a switch flicking from 'sparse' to 'dancey' at will.

Vocalisations that ranged from yelps to croons offered some indication of the breadth of genres that have influenced the night's second act, Cheap Jazz. Opener 'Friday Death Plunge of Mr. Karaoke' seemed to poke fun at off-key singers with its deliberately discordant main riff. Occasional instrument swaps occurred before a couple of live favourites including 'The Trouble with Harry' offered proof that the band can genre hop at will and pull it off. The catchy chorus has certainly made itself at home in my head a few times these last few years, but it is the way it is re-introduced to the audience following a near-lounge section that makes it something truly special. The band still have time to sound a bit like Kyuss towards the end of the set before leaving no stone un-surprised with a calypso-esque jam.

Cowtown have forged a strong following in Derby, based on a series of memorable gigs stretching back at least five years. This set was no exception, enthralling the audience from start to finish. They teased us with a couple of bars of Devo and Cable songs, but their own songs are wonderfully-crafted and infectious enough for us to forget other bands even exist for the duration of their set. When a vocal hook drops out, a guitar line usually takes the baton to ensure we aren't left waiting long for another melody to grab hold of. Reverb is briefly alive in 'Love is Alive', but in general it is keyboard-infused pop with a touch of guitar overdrive that feed the bouncy atmosphere the Leeds trio create.

I managed to steal a delicious wrap from the bands' rider at the start of the evening, but thankfully this proved to be far from the only highlight in an event packed full of great moments.

Tags:  Cheap Jazz cowtown biscuit mouth Small Lies Music Snug

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