WHERE’S GEORGE? @ RBL, DUNS – 30/03/2012

WHERE’S GEORGE? – SINGLE / CD LAUNCH NIGHT

Once upon a time when I taught graphics/DTP one of my standard tasks would be to get students to design the insert for an imaginary CD jewel case. My memory isn’t accurate enough to remember if I had ever had Amelia, Jade or Penny attempt this task, but last night I had the pleasure and privilege to attend the launch night of their far from imaginary CD single. The accompanying graphics incorporated excellent photographs by 80eight Photography and their own logo design.

Having recently decided to include a ‘track of the month’ slot in my weekly show on Generate Radio, I had actually been playing both tracks from this release every Tuesday throughout March. The ‘A side’ is one of their songs that I have been familiar with for a while now, ‘Chivalry Is Dead’. I have heard them play this live on a number of occasions and have also included a demo version in previous shows. It was wonderful to hear the subtle production features that they had been able to include for this version, the song was stronger and more nuanced yet had managed to retain the essential essence that helps make Where’s George? stand out as a truly individual talent. The newer song, ‘Hello Is Only A Greeting’ demonstrates a pleasing progression from an understated naïve introduction to an energetically charged finale that manages to weave in some interesting North American Indian tribal motifs.

The launch evening was well attended and held in the familiar surroundings of Duns British Legion. The live music got under way with an acoustic set by Paul Sinclair from the Berwick based band, The Warehouse Announcement. His strong vocal and guitar playing provided a stimulating scene-setting warm up; a combination of original songs and varied covers including an excellent re-working of 4 Non Blondes’ ‘What’s Up’. He also switched to electric guitar when Atholl Mills joined him on stage to deliver a version of Gotye’s ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’.

With a busy weekend ahead, Where’s George? were clearly excited as they took to the stage which featured a little ‘surprise’ for them, a selection of coloured spotlights and an intricately decorated six foot high ‘question mark’ to acknowledge their logo – complete with fairly lights. Many thanks to Colleen Henderson-Heywood for her inspiration and work in helping to ensure that their special night could take place in such a spectacular setting.

I’ve written much about this exciting and inspirational young band so will try to avoid repeating myself too much. I’ll restrict myself to confirming my strong belief that their live performances are steadily improving all the time. It’s such a pleasure to be able to observe their individual skills developing. Penny’s guitar playing gets stronger and helps to add masses of energy and character to support her impassioned vocals. Amelia’s drumming grows with confidence, complexity and compulsion as she incorporates delicate phrases with powerful tribal rhythms, and still she manages to add more than simple backing vocals. All the while, Jade’s mastery of the bass, provides a rock steady foundation throughout, punctuated with intricate genius phrases.

Despite some of their songs being quite short, their fully committed delivery left them understandably rather exhausted by the time the sixteen song set came to an end. As usual, the set was an interesting mix of original songs and a small number of carefully selected covers that included ‘My Sharona’, ‘Bohemian Like You’ and ‘Sufragette City’. Their own ‘catalogue’ of songs continues to grow and I was pleased to see them perform ‘Defenders’, a song that I had previously had the privilege of hearing during a practice session along with the set closing ‘Some Like It Live’ – and I for one, definitely love to experience this band live!

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