Sunday, 15 August 2010

Live Review: Josh Pyke and Emma Pollock, Academy 2, Bristol, 15/03/2010

Tonight Ricky Gervais is performing his brand of fat jokes and self-important celebrity humour to a sell out crowd at Collson House. Just across the road, a privileged few are witness to an evening of wonderful indie music courtesy of Josh Pyke and Emma Pollock.

Pretty blonde duo Heart Shaped Things warm up the small crowd with cute indie folk songs about boys, festivals and apple cores. The highlight (and lowlight) of their short set is a cover of Lady Gaga's Pokerface.

Heart Shaped Things have barely left the stage and the house lights are still fully lit, but Josh Pyke is due on stage next and the front of stage audience is growing noticibley Australian and female. Like all Australian ladies they are impossibly good looking and their broad accents can be heard saying "I first saw him with Bob Evans", "Nah, you flaming galah, it had to be 2006 supporting Sarah Blasko", "He is so cute, and that beard! Wowie".

After apologising for his heavily jet-lagged state, Josh Pyke opens with Memories and Dust. We're more use to hearing Josh Pyke's songs with a full band but tonight he is very much solo, and what the peformance loses in harmonies and power is more than made up for by the intimacy of one man with his guitar.

The one man show thing seems to work for Pyke as well - he is relaxed, friendly, and humble. After playing the ever popular Sew My Name, Pyke addresses a girl in the front row, "Sorry, I think I had my eyes closed every time you tried to take a photo". He then poses, pretending to play the guitar with mouth slightly open, so she can re-take the photo. Pyke then opens the show up for requests, and omeone crys out for Summer - I am not sure if this is a song request or just a plea for a break from this long cold winter, but Pyke plays the song anyway.

The set is pretty evenly split between Memories and Dust and Chimneys Afire. The only new song of the night is Factory Fires - typical Pyke, a sentimental story sung in too many words. Before finishing his set with Vibrations, Pyke teases the audience with clues of a new band he has been playing with, Basement Birds. Made up of Pyke, Kevin Mitchell (aka Bob Evans) and members of Eskimo Joe, the band is something of an Aussie super group.

At the end of his set Pyke takes up a position at the merchandise desk where he spends the next hour or so talking, signing CDs and posing for photos with a long and patient queue of punters.

By the time Emma Pollock and band arrive on stage, most of the Australians have gone home. While enjoying the fuller sound of Pollock's band, my lack of familiarity with the songs left me bored and headed in the same direction - sorry Emma.