Monday, January 25, 2010

Review: Fyfe Dangerfield at The Scala

I wasn’t too sure what to expect from Fyfe Dangerfield’s first solo outing. I love his work with The Guillemots (having seen all of their London shows in 2008) and I guess the band's such an extension of Fyfe that I should have known it'd be just as great an experience to see him all by himself.

It was amazing. It was the most respectful gig I have ever been to. Now, the Scala’s not a small venue, but, for the first time ever, virtually no one was talking throughout the performance. Fyfe doesn’t rely on noisy guitar disruptions and you could make out every word of every lyric.

He’s also an incredible showman. He’s not at all smooth and glib, no. He comes across incredibly sincere and shared little stories with the audience such as when he went to India and came face to face with some monkeys, or when he saw someone he was certain was Ben Kingsley (and which I read on his Twitter feed). He dealt with technical hiccups in the same fashion, which, in the hands of another performer, could have come across as being a tad inept, disorganised or unprofessional. But, with Fyfe, because he’s so charming and such a dear, we excused it. If anything, it added to the enjoyment of the song once he finally got the electronic gadget working.

And, yes, he did do a cover... of Girls Aloud’s Call the Shots! It was amusing, all angry and distorted guitars.

For his own songs, however, Fyfe didn’t rely on distorted guitars at all, something I found rather nice and refreshing

He's also incredibly wacky and self-deprecating. After a whole bunch of technical mishaps, he launched into an improvised songs, hereafter termed The Unofficial Song. It was an amazing act of sheer creative genius, with lyrics such as "'I am an unofficial song.' 'What the hell does that mean? You’re not even real.' I’m closed on Saturdays. Today’s Tuesday. Yes, but it pays to plan in advance." It's not something I could do any justice to in words. You just had to be there.

He introduced his last and final song of the night with a song which “could have sounded like Phil Collins but then I met three people and they turned it into something lovely” before going into a ukulele rendition of Made Up Love Song #43. I startled the hell out of my friend who was standing in front of me by just screaming in sheer delight a couple of notes into the song once I realised what it was, and probably deafened a couple of others around me as well.

So, yes, I think Fyfe is an amazing musician, and writes fantastic songs. If you ever get the opportunity to see him - whether as part of the Guillemots or by himself, GO. You will not regret it. And if you do, it's because you lack heart. Or soul. Or, quite possibly both.

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