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Hookers for Jesus / Et Tu Brute??? / Behold, The Old Bear / Playground Tactics – The Cool Cat Club, Beat Generator Live, Dundee – Saturday 6th April 2013

Launching an E.P. seemed to suit Hookers for Jesus as Saturday night’s performance was easily the best I’ve seen from them. At times they can seem an intellectual pursuit but on Saturday Andy added a physicality to the performance that had only been hinted at in previous shows.

Much of the E.P. was played early on and repeated listenings have given me a wider appreciation of the songs on the record. Certainly the likes of ‘Cabaret Song’ and ‘We Are All Broken People Now’ gain power from live renditions but that’s counterbalanced by the subtlety of ‘Drifting Into Unthank’ and ‘On A Night Like This’. The E.P. tracks were surrounded by a sprinkling of choice covers such as a brave a capella version of  ‘Don’t Let Our Youth Go To Waste’ to open the set but it was the two non-E.P. originals which brought the show to a satisfying conclusion.

The fact that the show was running late meant that much of the set was played in front of a gathering crowd in for the after gig club night. It could have gone two ways but, rather than be distracted by the audience, Andy and Graeme seemed to revel in playing to a bunch of strangers and produced a powerful performance.

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The show had been opened by Playground Tactics in their usual charming manner. That sounds a bit sarcy – it’s not meant to in the slightest. By recent standards this show almost qualified as slick (no half written tunes aired!) although they’re not going to turn into Coldplay any time … ever. As a consequence they seemed to be over in a flash but it’s never a bad thing leaving your audience wanting more

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Behold, The Old Bear were present in an unusual line-up – as a hyper-chatty all seated trio without bassist and drummer (although Raindeer did a degree of incidental drumming at various points in the set). As a consequence , it’s fair to say that it never came over as over-rehearsed. But the strength of the tunes shone through in a set that differed markedly in character from previous full band outings with an emphasis on their darker, more fragile side. After a stunning opening, they lost their way a little mid set (the typewriter probably wasn’t a good idea!) but they rallied towards the end again to leave a good impression.

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Sadly Et Tu Brute??? proved to be a rare beast in the Cool Cat Club setting – a band that didn’t totally engage me. Which is a real shame as I’ve liked everything else that Grant has been involved in.

There were elements of the set that did capture my attention. They started promisingly with the opening song followed by the ‘Fall meets afro-beat’ vibe of the second (I think) tune but too often I found my attention wandering later on in the set.

Don’t think that there’s a place to get the Hookers E.P. online yet (although supposedly they’re working on it) but you can get ‘Hymns for Beautiful Losers’ at their next show, in Edinburgh at Sneaky Pete’s on the 11th May with Edinburgh School for the Deaf and Wozniak. And keep checking their Facebook page for updates.

 

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