François, DarkTrain and Pleasure House Live – Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar – 07/11/2014

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Here at Give It Back we sometimes tell you to go see the bands we write about play live. And we mean it, which is why we went down to Sticky Mike’s last Friday, inconspicuously blending in with the cheering crowd. Nothing says ‘undercover’ like a notebook and a pen and a dude with a camera. First on was François, who’s ‘Last Night I Fell’ we reviewed and fell in love with. Everything’s stripped down to the essentials with this mystery man – from concept, to sound, to performance. It still amazes me what some people can do with an 808 kick drum, a couple of chords and some haunting vocals. The silence between the beats is definitely not an emptiness. When DarkTrain came on, there was immediately more to look at, without the band being too showy or anything. But, still, there’s a pale lady in black and a silent man in a Misfits t-shirt and both wear what I’d believe to be bracelets from another gig, if I hadn’t seen them on other performers. There’s a lot of negative space in this gloomy spin on disco and it serves to enhance the effect of the poetry. Intriguing and scary, such is the howling misers of the last banshee on earth. Pleasure House were a complete change in pace and emotion. Upbeat melodies, banter and a performance as tight as a jazz quintet, their indie rock is as close to the classical one as you can get without the sacrifice of no longer being contemporary. These guys do one hell of a job, trying to keep everyone on top of the world. If you want a sample, go catch François live at Bleach this Friday!

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