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Misterlee - Washington, Sheffield, 14/4/2005

  by Helen Tipping

published: 23 / 4 / 2005

Misterlee - Washington, Sheffield, 14/4/2005


Despite a sparse audience at new and under-promoted venue the Sheffield Washington, Helen Tipping watches Misterlee, "one of the UK's more unusual band, rise to the occasion and put on an empassioned performance

Lee Allatson describes Misterlee's stage set-up as a teenage boy's bedroom, and, with the little twee bedside lamp he uses to see what he's up to, I can see where he's coming from, although I doubt many teenage boys would be make the kind of music that Misterlee make. The dark opening of  'The Caligula Waltz' is quite scary, made more so by Michael Curtis-Oxtoby's skeletal electric violin, that looks like a disembodied pelvis, and the bizarre collection of masks that adorn the walls of the bar, although the effect is somewhat spoiled by guitarist Jamie Smith who is grinning away, and obviously enjoying himself. Lee is one of those rarities, a percussionist that sings. I say percussionist rather than drummer, because he eschews the traditional drum set up, for a bass and snare drum and a variety of other percussive items, including his microphone. Moving into the more mellow 'Magnesium Horses', Lee uses his voice as an instrument, his vocals soaring above the music.  This one elicits a cheer from the small, but select, audience gathered to watch them. Misterlee's music isn't immediately accessible. It can't be easily labelled and boxed, and maybe that puts people off.  In a lazy consumer society, it's difficult to get people to engage with music that's not easy to understand, but when you make the effort, it can be incredibly rewarding.  And not all the tracks are difficult to engage with, tracks like 'Averagely Beautiful' are easier to listen to, whilst retaining originality and an experimental edge. I don't think that people, however, haven't turned up because the music is difficult. I think it's just down to poor publicity by the venue. They're going to have to get their act together if they want bands to play here. Despite the darkness of some of the music, the band are funny and Lee makes light hearted comments and tells stories between tracks.  Stories seem to be important to the lyrics, and many of them seem to come from Lee's childhood or teenage years, like 'Job on a Bike', 'Christmas' and 'Natural Born Blond'. By the end, there are only five of us in the audience, but all appear to have appreciated this gig.  A couple of people stop to talk to Lee and say how much they have enjoyed it, so hopefully they'll go back and tell their friends and next time Misterlee play Sheffield there might be a few more people ready to appreciate one of the UK's more unusual bands.

Picture Gallery:-
Misterlee - Washington, Sheffield, 14/4/2005

Misterlee - Washington, Sheffield, 14/4/2005

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Interview (2005)
Misterlee - Interview
Experimental Leicester band Misterlee recently self-released their second album 'Night of the Killer Longface'. Helen Tipping speaks to them about being part of the anti-folk movement and how they self-promote themselves

digital downloads


This Disquiet Dog (2010)
Oddball, but effective and gripping third album from Leicester-based experimental act, Misterlee
Bootlegger (This is Not a Lifestyle Sandwich) (2007)
Night Of The Killer Longface (2005)

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