April 24, 2024

Holiday Ghosts – live in Leeds – go and listen to the album instead!

Live at Leeds’ Hyde Park Book Club     27th March 2019

Nearly every time I will say to go and listen to a band live rather than just on disc. And most bands reward the effort.I don’t know what happened tonight but I wish I’d stayed in and listened to the excellent album again. Perhaps it was the last night of the tour tiredness, perhaps Katja Rackin (drummer and vocalist) wasn’t high enough in the mix, perhaps the audience weren’t supplying enough energy.

The recent album is full of relaxed yet energetic friendliness that falls flat tonight. Tunes like Stuck Here have a cute lo-fi indie quality on disc, where the vocals are expressive, but are run-of-the-mill and forgettable in the live set. Unfortunately there are a good handful of similar songs, mostly from the previous album. Where the band comes to life is the fast numbers, where the battered Telecaster becomes very percussive and the acoustic guitar picks up a speedy strum. The bassist seems to be concentrating on keeping up or may have lost interest.

Fortunately a few songs really do it: Human Race, which sounds like a classic cover, Chumps improves on the album in speed and drive and songs like Take Heed hark back to beautifully simple basic rock and roll – the sort of thing Jonathan Richman used to do in the mid-seventies. Their opening salvo with the short and speedy Low Flying Bird showed much promise and we could have done with more of these moments. The last song of the evening was a longer fast mostly instrumental piece and ended the 40-minute set.

This was the last night of the tour and perhaps the band were tired but, were it not for Sam Stacpoole‘s percussive and exciting telecaster work, the evening would have been flat. I went home and listened to the album again. It’s a good one – go and listen to it – it’s retro, silly and fun.

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