In layman's terms: A blog about music, by Luke Slater and James Welbourn.

7 February 2008

Lightspeed Champion @ Bedford Esquires 2/2/2008


Lightspeed Champion @ Bedford Esquires

2nd February 2008


In the week where he was plastered on the cover of the NME and appeared as panellist on Nevermind The Buzzcocks, you’d be forgiven for assuming that being chased through the streets of Bedford whilst outside a popular Portuguese themed chicken restaurant was clear evidence of Dev Hynes’,(aka Lightspeed Champion) rapid rise to stardom. However, as would have become startlingly obvious to Dev and his backing band, they weren’t after a picture with the ex-Test Icicle, or even an autograph…

Though Hynes’ fame has not quite hit the levels of being chased around town centres by screaming, adoring adolescents, his all-round appeal is clear to see with a few members of the sell out crowd wearing deerstalkers in tribute, something which amuses Hynes when he spots them being waved in his direction from among the masses.

Hynes certainly cuts an unusual figure as he walks out onto the tiny Esquires stage, complete with a harmonica, used live for the first time, despite his fears that an association would be made with politics and protest songs.

The set opens with the melancholic yet melodic “Salty Water”, working as a prelude to the four- minute crescendo that is “Dry Lips”. By the time Hynes wails “Tell her I give up” the crowd are bopping along. It is at this point that the harmonica is discarded from Hynes’ musical accoutrements, putting to bed any hopes or fears of Dylan’s “Blowin’ In The Wind” appearing in tonight’s setlist.

“Galaxies of the Lost” produces what is as close to a “lighters in the air” (or should it be camera-phones in the air nowadays?!) moment as you’re likely to get tonight, though it does fall short of getting every member of the crowd to sing along and wave their arms in the air, sadly.

Hynes sweeps through the set with real purpose, playing almost exclusively tracks off the album, though the time is taken to air a new track to the crowd, amusingly written from the perspective of a Brazilian hooker. The set ends with the ten-minute epic “Midnight Surprise”, which builds block by block until it reaches a self-proclaimed “Gary Barlow moment” half way through, with Hynes lamenting lyrically, with just a keyboard for support. A colossal conclusion follows, featuring a feedback laden guitar solo and a frantic fiddler seemingly in danger of self-decapitation from his bow.

I’m not sure how many encores will be played on Lightspeed Champion’s first headline tour, but the crowd tonight wants one, though they don’t seem entirely certain that they’ll get one, but they carry on nonetheless. Hynes eventually returns to the stage, unsure of what to play. The harmonica hasn’t made a return, so “Blowin’ in the Wind” still looks out of the question. An apology is made in advance about butchering the song about to be played, but you almost feel a collective grin grow on the faces of the crowd as he belts out Weezer’s “Buddy Holly”. He may not look like Buddy Holly, and the violinist looks nothing like Mary Tyler Moore, but quite frankly, with a performance like tonight backing up a solid debut album, I don’t care about that.


[Review taken from Drowned in Sound]

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