The Usher Hall, Edinburgh
Brighton & Edinburgh, the two coolest cities in Britain, came together for half an hour of blisteringly ear-easy, eye-pleasing pop-rock in the form of a band call’d Barbara. The venue was the grandiose Usher Hall, which was slowly filling to capacity throughout with the masses here for The Divine Comedy. They were great, the Comedy, of course… but Barbara seem’d very much like a changing of the guard. Their first EP – Mildly Entertaining – is out, while the Comedy were dusting off the greatest hits package.
So what did I absorb from that half-hour musical lagoon. Well, there was flamboyance & drama in the songs, melting into an ambience of quirkiness & stiff upper lip in abundance. Aesthetically I revell’d in the Brightonian fashions adorning the whole band, while their foppish Geography teacher of singer at the end of the gig slid across the floor on his knees ripping off his tweed jacket in a bacchanalian phrenzie to reveal his… red knitted tank-top.
Overall, the front man was extremely watchable, very much a Jarvis Cocker reborn. The music supporting his elegant vocals was constantly catchy, while the lyrics came from the corners of civilisation not normally interesting enough to merit a song, but the way Barbara approaches their writing with genuine fervour leaves you wanting more of their marvellous insights. Its going to be extremely interesting to see how these silky-flesh’d boys, their staccato beats & their cheeky sonatas do, but they are definitely going to do something memorable.
Damian Beeson Bullen