The Uptight club has been running for some years now - offering, once a month, an impressive selection of music, almost mirroring the tastes of many of the writing staff for this website. Indeed, scroll through the archives, and you can read about the Uptight concept in far more detail.

Given that the Gooderham brothers, who organised the night and pick the music, have been in bands throughout its tenure, it is rather surprising that they haven’t branched out into gigs earlier than tonight. It is their own band, Kelman who headline proceedings, backed by three support acts. Given that there was no entry price for four hours of bands, its no surprise that Uptight’s first foray into live music has been pretty well attended.

I have to confess to being less than impressed with the opening act, whose name I am afraid I have not committed to memory (Stan Sermons-Ed). All I do remember is that his voice was too flat, and that he sounded a bit like Neutral Milk Hotel. The second act, Electrophonvinatge, came from France, and once their mike kicked in, they produced an enjoyable set. They were soon, howver, to be blown off the stage!

I have seen Joe Gideon and the Shark play five times this year, and I am firmly convinced that they are a special find. Having now dragged several of my friends along to see them, and been rewarded with thanks rather than bored shrugs, I’m confident of their appeal.

The obvious focal point is ‘the Shark’. She is an awesome drummer - sharp, stark, rhythmic and fluent. But she is all those things while also playing piano with the other hand, or strumming a guitar and playing drums with the pedals. Finding this all a bit boring, she’ll occasionally chip in with backing vocals as well.

When I first saw the band, this rather remarkable performance was all I focused on, though it was enough to make me promise to see them again at the earliest opportunity (which presented itself unrepentantly when they jumped up on stage to support Sons and Daughters!).

Having seen them five times, the novelty has been worn over by the quality of the songs. Joe Gideon has a powerful deep voice which well suits these intense, blues rock songs. Not deliberately catchy, they nevertheless stick in the head. Closing the set, ‘Anything You Love That Much, You Will See Again’ is the band’s defining song. Slow, intense and simple - it is a great song, fit for venues far more glamorous than the cellar of a north-London pub.

Given the huge round of applause, it was a bit weird to suddenly realise that, no, they weren’t the headliners and, yes, we are sticking around for another band. Pleasing though, obviously.

Kelman were perhaps a bit unlucky to come on so late - given that it was their gig and all. But they pitched their set to a slightly sleepy Thursday night crowd. The Velvet Underground-isms that characterised their previous band, Baptiste, have largely been erased, but there is still a brooding quality to their sweet sounding folk tinged indie.

The set gradually grew steam, and though they are quiet and motionless on stage, the intensity of the performance did pick up, without me really noticing. And yet, the main appeal of the band - as had been the case with Baptiste - came through Wayne Gooderham’s intelligent lyrics, capturing the disappointing side of life for someone in their twenties, without being mopey.

If there was a fault to Baptiste, it was a tendency towards unfocused rock-outs. As a three piece, Kelman resist that. Though Wayne is not a wildly expressive singer, he now carries songs, which are adorned with a focused, simple background.

A high-quality evening, featuring two bands that should be far better known.

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Commenting On: Albany, London, 11/10/2007 - Kelman and Joe Gideon and the Shark

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