Live Music + Gig Reviews

Linus @ 12 Bar, London

10 December 1999

Out of five bands in the 12 Bar on this freezing December evening, Linus were the most mentionable, but not always for the best reasons. Whisperin’ Bob put up a patchy but at times excellent set of acoustic-then-electric toons, The Fairies were simply mediocre, but Linus

The set opened and we found a cheerful-looking female reclining on the floor of the stage, gazing at the 12 Bar’s brickwork while she sang the opening number. Well, “sang” is probably a difficult word in this context… whined, now that’s a better word. And it was an out-of-tune whine. And she insisted on smiling, as if by so doing we would ignore the fact that her voice would have been better suited for caterwauling than fronting a band.

The set continued, she continued to sit, smile and caterwaul without regard for tune. So it was that I decided to try to blank her lackadaisical stage presence and abysmal vocals and concentrate on the rest of the band, all of them gurrrls. The bassist and guitarist were both able and pleasant to listen to, but it was the drummer who was the star, even if she did look thoroughly bored with proceedings at times. In looks a young Sharon Stone, in style Madonna circa Like A Virgin, in talent a match for any drummer out there, this vision seemed completely out of place in such a band.

Thus it proved – while attempting to speak with her afterwards, I was interrupted by a chappie who, after much prodding about who he was and what he wanted, revealed himself to be the band’s “person”. He requested that I didn’t give the band a bad review as “they’re normally more of a rock band really”. I tried to envision our reclining gurrrl sitting her way through a rock set and nearly laughed.

But the folk scene and the 12 Bar in particular provide excellent music in wonderful atmosphere and the Fairies’ Christmas Party was an excellent mix of bands. Linus were interesting, and played a full part in the evening; but their vocalist really ought to find a job where sitting down and looking cheerful are they only skills required.

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Linus @ 12 Bar, London