A very good night at the Slaughtered Lamb in Clerkenwell last night. Three fine acts culminating in the sublime AlascA from Holland.

First up was Glenn Hodge Banned – a solo singer/guitarist who was joined by a violinist for a few numbers. His songs are about things that affect us all and with his catchy sense of humour and self-deprecating demeanour he had the crowd laughing along with him as he described the breakup of an 11 year relationship over the that hoary old response to the question ‘What’s Wrong? Nothing’. He has a good voice to go with his songs and while I’m not really a great fan of singer/songwriters, I will make a special effort to see Mr Hodge again.

Next up were The Verity White Band. She is a delightful over-energised singer with a potty mouth and great stage presence and the band’s rocky drive and regular changes in pace was really infectious. I would have liked to hear more of the guitarist – apparently her husband – as he was a little too deep in the mix but the overall focus was on Verity herself. They have a new album out very shortly and I’m looking forwards to getting my hands on a copy for review – also to see them play a longer set.

So to AlascA. I’ve been looking forward to seeing whether they could repeat the sublime tone of the ‘Plea For Peace’ album since I first heard it last year. What I got was something that definitely was the band I fell in love with but also something a little edgier and more visceral and alive. They are a 5 piece and a lot of their sound is rooted in San Fransisco ‘60’s west-coast rock but like all Dutch bands I have come across, they have a particular sense of humour. Jokes about the size of British beer and its effect on their anatomy and a description of exactly how to pronounce Melancholia had the crowd roaring but it was the music that really grabbed the attention and tracks from ‘Plea For Peace’ and ‘Prospero’ went down a storm. My personal favourite was ‘Melancholy Lake’ and the only shame was that they didn’t play ‘Song For Nick Drake’ although encoring with the excellent ‘Cult’ was great.

So, a really enjoyable evening, three bands – all very different – who grabbed the ear and the eye. This is what Friday evenings are for.

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