Saturday, July 05, 2008

where's hoops?

High Llamas at Whitechapel Art Gallery, 4th July

I think the High Llamas are my favourite band currently recording/performing. (Thankfully rumours of their live demise appear to have be exaggerated.) As far as I'm concerned I'm not sure that anyone can match Sean O'Hagan's gift for quirky melody and harmony. And he's a great arranger too. (Although maybe those lyrics could be a little less obscure eh Sean? What's that again about the House of Leaf and Lime?)

Anyway, the Llamas' "annual London gig" didn't disappoint. Talk about intimate venues though. I calculate that the six band members and their instruments/gear (Sean himself had three guitars and a banjo) took up approximately 1/3 of the room at the Whitechapel Art Gallery. The Albert Hall this ain't.

And great to hear old favourites "Nomads" and "Checking In and Checking Out" for the first time in ages. No sign of Hoops Hooley though...

"The Musical Painting" (collaboration between Sean O'Hagan and Jean-Pierre Muller)
There's not much on youtube from the Llamas. But here are a couple of interesting curiosities:
- a High Llamas cover of the Smiths' "Frankly Mr Shankly", and
- "Bach Ze" is a good illustration of those unpredictable melodies and harmonies. Great stuff:

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