It has been a bumper weekend for live music - two nights, two venues that could not be more different, two thoroughly enjoyable gigs.
On Friday I went up to derelict but trendy Hackney Wick to The Yard, a jerry-built venue in the corner of a goods yard (hence the name). The occasion was a night dedicated to the music of the Safety First Record label, being held to launch "The Toast", the new EP by Swedish duo Polly Tones. Very good it is too. This is probably my favourite track so far.
"In My Room" - Polly Tones
Safety First was set up by the excellent Klak Tik, whose "Must We Find A Winner" album has been featured here previously. They played an all too short set featuring four songs from that album, and three likely to be featured on their next album. Judging by those three, the next album is going to be at least as good as "Must We Find A Winner". There was one song that may or may not have the words "salt water" and/or "sweet water" in the title that I particularly liked. [Update: John from Klak Tik tells me it is in fact called "Nympheus" - so now you know what to look out for.]
Klak Tik apart, the other highlight for me was Felix Holt, who looks and sounds like he belongs in Les Cousins back in the mid 1960s. It appears he hasn't released anything on Safety First yet but here is a clip of him from earlier this year. Since then he has grown a very natty goatee (I mean natty in the sense of stylish not natty is the sense of dreadlocked - that would be silly).
Speaking of the spirit of Les Cousins in the 1960s, last night we all went off to the Royal Festival Hall to join the legendary Roy Harper in celebrating his 70th birthday. It was everything I hoped it would be. Admittedly there did seem to be an abnormally large number of arseholes in the audience, but not enough to spoil the fun. We got to hear most if not quite all of my personal favourites, including this one.
"Twelve Hours Of Sunset" - Roy Harper
There were guest appearances from his boy, Nick Harper, and from Jimmy Page and Joanna Newsom. Jimmy joined Roy for an encore of "The Same Old Rock", the original of which has recently been posted by the tastemakers de jour over at 'For The Sake Of The Song'. Joanna stepped up for a very nicely done version of the classic "Another Day". As good as it was, I must admit I had rather unrealistically hoped his old mate Kate might turn up for that one. She has form.