I'm From Barcelona, Jeremy Warmsley, Buen Chico
The Brudenell Social Club
There's something missing in the Brudenell tonight. It takes me all of five minutes to work out what it is: the tables on the lower floor. Tonight, the entire floor has been cleared and the punters have been forced to sit in polite horseshoes. But it's all in a good cause. I'm From Barcelona are playing tonight; that floor will be needed.
Buen Chico open tonight, which Kirsty, cute-as-a-bug bassist in gymslip and glasses, pronounces with a neatly clipped Spanish accent. Their indie pop simplicity is immediately apparent as they bounce into their first song, "Giving Your Gifts,' a track as frothy as Morgan's 'do. The emphasis is definitely on no-fuss fun; aspects of The Housemartins, Ash, and Altered Images can clearly be heard. Plus, they have a lot of energy, provided by the drummer, Alan. Hardly a challenging band, but if you think of their songs as The Ramones in bubble wrap and you can see the appeal.
"There's thirteen members of I'm From Barcelona and their songs are really happy," says Jeremy, as dry as a Saharan summer and looking like a Gallic Buddy Holly, "there's only one of me and my songs are really miserable." He opens his set with 'Five Verses,' a marvellous anti-love song, stripped down to his dazzling octave-defying voice and hit-it-and-hope acoustic guitar. Following this with 'If He Breaks Your Heart' further reinforces his writing credibility with it's surprisingly tender yet violent lyrical content. Unfortunately his intimate performance is handicapped by the bar's general hubbub but his old/young passionate style is still worth watching if you can spare the effort. Could have done with more from the album though.
A lone bearded Swede stands at one side of the stage, manning a laptop and unleashing a stream of popcorn synth pop upon the gathered crowd. Emanuel Lundgren steps up, a dayglo flower in his lapel and a pink lilo under his arm. Grinning wildly at the crowd filling the entire lower floor and most of the upper, he starts singing 'Treehouse'. then everything goes dark as a blanket is thrown over my head. When I finally escape, the air is filled with balloons and confetti and the stage is overwhelmed by crowd looking like a hybrid of the Polyphonic Spree, Kiss and the Beach Boys, singing with a level of joy usually reserved for epiphanies and hysterics; Emanuel has dived into the crowd on his lilo. Chaotic it may be, but it is the kind of chaos that results in gales of laughter, not winds of change, and seeing as each song has a chorus that even a tone-deaf, half-brained paramecium could sing along to, it is almost impossible not to get involved. In fact, one member of the crowd gets dragged up for an inpromptu Kazoo solo. By the end of their set, the crowds are chanting like entranced cavemen witnessing their first UFO. A swift, rapturous encore is our immediate reward, but it is the utter euphoria that keeps on giving long after the last trombone note has faded. Thank you, our friends ecstatic!