Saturday, August 11, 2007

David Ford at the Soho Revue Bar

I spent the evening of my birthday in a transsexual club in London, watching David Ford (below) perform. Here is the low-down:Accompanied by his ragbag band, which was made up of fellow Eastbourne group The Late Greats and excellent new multi-instrumentalist, Hannah Peel, David Ford took to the stage before a sold-out crowd in the very heart of dirty Soho looking, as always, like a sartorially-elegant hobo, and opened his performance with current limited-edition single, Go To Hell.

During a set gleaned from his debut album and the forthcoming sophomore effort, the singer was typically engaging, and juxtaposed the earnest subject-matter of his work with endearing, meandering between-song ramblings about topics ranging from the price of beer to transsexual strippers.Musical highlights included State of the Union, the intelligent, ingeniously-crafted political rant from his first long-player, which went down a storm as always. It is perhaps the closest thing Ford has to a greatest hit at this point in his career and, as a signature tune, it still sounds impressively fresh and important, despite being more than a couple of years old now. Similarly, the follow-up single, I Don’t Care What You Call Me, still oozes deliciously miserable malevolence.

However, in spite of the effervescence of his older work, the evening was really all about his new material, of which the hushed And So You Fell stood out most. The heartbreaking lullaby tipped a cap to Tom Waits’ gentler, more ruminative moments and brought a shroud of melancholy over the room without ever dipping its toes in the murky waters of over-sentimentality.

Elsewhere, Requiem - the bastard love-child of Bright Eyes’ Road To Joy and Ford’s own State of the Union, brought things to a crescendo with the singer screaming vocals over a thrilling cacophony of drums, guitars and trombone as the evening neared its conclusion. The hour-long set was rounded off with crowd-favourite and “note to self”, Cheer Up (You Miserable Fuck), which encouraged a mass singalong during the frighteningly infectious “la-la-la” part. In spite of the rapturous reception that his songs had received throughout the evening, Ford still seemed surprised to be called back by his fans for an encore and, as he ambled back onstage, he told the audience that he assumed they’d all “just fuck off home” at the end of his set. After a few hollered requests, which included calls for future single Decimate and a slightly more optimistic suggestion of The Final Countdown, the evening was brought to a beautiful close with an impromptu solo version of A Long Time Ago. As the applause rung in his ears, Ford removed his beat-up old hat, smiled and pointed to the door. “Now, go home,” he laughed.

As well as being a successful showcase of his outstanding new material, it was a gig which further proved that, as a live performer, David Ford can hold his own against absolutely anybody. Hopefully, with the imminent release of his second album, Songs for the Road, which is more accessible and radio-friendly than his acclaimed debut, this gifted singer/songwriter will begin to gain the recognition he deserves. In a world where it seems that many bands can sell a mountain of records on a molehill of talent, David Ford’s step into the big-time really is long overdue.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Im looking forward to the album. Loved ze first one.