"Despite the lack of audience tonight, Heavenly Records have clearly signed a rough diamond in Palehound and if tonight simply constitutes more stage time then on what is the band’s first overseas tour then that can only be a good thing..."
With spring in the air, you’d think more people would be out and about after their winter hibernation trying to make the weekend last a bit longer, especially with four bands on, two of whom are on the books at Heavenly Recording……and with a door price of only £7…..oh well, what do I know? So it’s a pity that only about 50 people have joined me here to see Ellen Kempner’s solo vehicle Palehound tonight, but having marvelled at the startlingly assured nature of debut long player ‘Dry Food’ hey, it’s their loss.
Fellow Heavenly Recordings stable mates Amber Arcades prove the pick of the trio of support acts, the well-crafted dreamy indietronica of Utrecht based Anelotte De Graaf, sounding like a mash up between Aimee Mann and Stereolab, as a bunch of backing musicians help bring stand out tracks ‘Right Now’ and ‘Turning Light’ further to life. There are further dates planned for later in the spring, plus a smattering of festivals so if you get chance, they’re certainly worth a look.
Shortly afterwards, Ellen takes to the stage in her unassuming style dressed as per her facebook profile indicates (sweat pants), backed by a simple rhythm section in the form of Jessie (drums) and Dave (bass), and wishing everyone a happy mothers’ day before launching into her lo-fi set dominated by the tracks from the splendid ‘Dry Food’. ‘Molly’ showcases Kempner’s languid husky vocal, deft guitar work and quirky time changes whereas the album’s beautifully bittersweet title track is explained away as coping with loneliness by purchasing a Guinea Pig……whatever works for you I suppose.
‘Cinnamon’ is a slice of long overdue sunshine showcasing the band’s lighter-hearted side of things, again with some nifty fretwork before flip-flopping into the altogether darker ‘Cushioned Caging’ afterwards Ellen complimenting the city on its Asian cuisine which she has presumably sampled for her pre-gig tea.
Despite the lack of audience this evening, Heavenly Records have clearly signed a rough diamond in Palehound and if tonight simply constitutes more stage time then on what is the band’s first overseas tour then that can only be a good thing. Expect them to return bigger and better.
Words - Mike Price