wed 08/12/2021

Jane Weaver, Hare & Hounds, Birmingham review – alt-popper struggles with lethargic audience | reviews, news & interviews

Jane Weaver, Hare & Hounds, Birmingham review – alt-popper struggles with lethargic audience

Jane Weaver, Hare & Hounds, Birmingham review – alt-popper struggles with lethargic audience

Indie veteran brings the tunes but can’t get the party started

Jane Weaver: sublime music, comatose crowd

Back in the mid-'80s, in a time before acid house and Bez’s freaky dancing, there was a type of audience that seemed endemic at indie gigs and that just didn’t want to dance. Hordes of blokes (and it was mainly blokes) would stand facing the stage with their feet firmly planted on the floor, moving only to raise pints of lager to their lips and maybe to clap between songs.

Playing to those kinds of crowds must have been soul-destroying, especially for musicians whose tunes were particularly aimed at getting hips swaying.

Jane Weaver’s show at Birmingham’s Hare and Hounds felt like a trip through time back to those bad old days. For no matter what she and her band did, the audience pretty much just stared back at the stage.

This isn’t to say the people weren’t seemingly enjoying the angular funk of “Pyramid Schemes” or the Goldfrapp-like disco stomp of “Stages of Phases”, as there was plenty of applause after each tune. It’s just that being among this crowd felt like hanging around in a morgue when the band were actually playing.

“Whose first gig is this? I mean, since Lockdown” asked Jane after the Moloko-esque groove of new single “Sunset Dreams”. Even that got precious little response, and so with a “we’ll just get on with it then”, the band launched into the trippy and spaced out “Modern Kosmology”. This was followed by “I Need a Connection” from 2014’s The Silver Globe album – and despite all her efforts, it was one thing that she wasn’t getting.

It wasn’t that the crowd at the Hare and Hounds was thin on the ground and self-conscious. The room was packed with a couple of hundred mostly 40-somethings, hardly any of whom were wearing masks. So, clearly people were out to mark some kind of return to normality. It’s just that normality obviously didn’t include dancing to this quite sublime version of alt-pop that took in psychedelia, motorik and electro grooves. In fact, by the time the band had finished up with the lively “Don’t Tell Me I’m Wrong”, from their new EP, it was difficult not to feel somewhat embarrassed about the limp response that they had received throughout the evening.

Jane Weaver’s band deserved considerably better, as they took in tunes predominantly from her two recent albums, Modern Kosmology and Flock, with a springling of older tracks. “Heartlow” and the dancefloor-grabbing “Solarised” (surely a contender for one of 2021’s best tunes) were particularly enthralling, producing plenty of movement from the band’s keyboard player, if not elsewhere in the room.

After the show, I went into the Hare and Hounds’ back bar for a couple of pints. In there, a DJ was playing not particularly inspiring soul and funk, yet there was a group of 20-something young women bouncing around and expending far more energy in less than 10 minutes than I’d seen from a much larger crowd during the whole of the earlier part of the evening. It was a crying shame, to be honest.

Being among this crowd felt like hanging around in a morgue

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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