FlyTV In The Courtyard
Our FlyTV In The Courtyard sessions hit a new high last week when Doves came in to play two beautifully stripped-down versions of songs from their NEARLY NUMBER ONE (ARGHHH!) fourth album ‘Kingdom Of Rust’. My favourite thing about In The Courtyard is that it puts every one of its inhabitants on an even keel – whoever they are, signed or unsigned, one single or four albums into their career, their In The Courtyard performance takes place on a level playing field. No stack amps, no light show – christ, they’re isn’t even a PA. It all comes down to the songs and how you play them. Which is why it was such a joy to watch Doves‘ utterly spellbinding set and be reminded that, even without the orchestral lushness they employ on the records, as stark standalones, the songs still sound amazing.
There’ll be lots of In The Courtyard juiciness coming up over the next few months – we’re intending to take full advantage of the summer in that regard – but here’s my favourite five In The Courtyard moments since we started at the end of last summer (not including Doves, as I’ve harped on about that enough already, eh?):
Black Lips visit to our courtyard was a mountain of amazing wrongness, underlining their don’t-give-a-fuck glory. We knew in advance that they only had one guitar so we brought in one of our own. What we didn’t know is that they wouldn’t be able to tune it and would then play a version of ‘Drugs’ so undyingly skew-whiff that there was feline genocide in EC1M. “You might have noticed that was a bit out of tune,” says guitarist Ian St Pe in the biggest understatement of the year, before putting us straight, “but rock’n'roll is not perfect…” This is perfection turned on its head, a middle-finger to every other band’s polished preening…
When Ben Esser and his troupe came in, it was fucking freezing. A blizzard had hit London a mere two days earlier, but it takes more than frozen nadgers to put Esser off his stride. The sound of him playing ‘Satisfied’ might be a little all over the place, but that’s probably because the microphone had frostbite. What makes this so great, though, is the effortless cool he despatches, nonchalantly singing it almost under his breath whilst standing around a melting snowman. If we hadn’t done it in February, then this would’ve been our Christmas special…
The Spinto Band
No band has embraced their courtyard surroundings as imaginatively as The Spinto Band. Dananananaykroyd might have let off a fire extinguisher, but the Spintos were the bull to the courtyard’s china shop. They begin ‘Summer Grof’ inside the ice cream van that was parked in the courtyard (don’t ask) before working their way up the fire escape, all whilst doing a nice sing-song. They go further in their ice cream escapades in their other In The Courtyard track ‘Cat’s Pajamas’, well worth checking out…
‘The Bridge Is Broken’
Walky talkies! Parisien pouters The Do get into my top five because my childlike amazement for the power of the walky talkie never went away. That coupled with the fact that their songs sound great stripped-down and, well, tripled with the fact that half the office fell in love with singer Olivia gets ‘em in…
‘Joset Of Nazareth’s Blues’
A bit of cheating took place during the winter when In The Courtyard turned into In The Basement. Well, not everyone’s as hard as Esser, y’know? Although not many people are as wonderfully unhinged as Titus Andronicus frontman Patrick Stickles, who made such a primal howl from the depths of our office that some members of staff were thinking of calling the Ghostbusters. I AIN’T AFRAID OF NO RACKET.