Peggy Sue @ Relentless Garage 29th March 2010

Since the very first time I had seen Peggy Sue I was anticipating the debut album. I remember back in 2007 at the launch of debut AA vinyl Television/ New Song I said to Katy can’t wait till the album. The reply being was that it was a long way off till one was released. Fast forward 3 years and Peggy Sue are playing an album launch show for debut Fossils And Other Phantoms. During those 3 years the Pirates have gone on leave to Brazil to find themselves and they both welcomed Ollie Joyce on drums. The album is completely new material. No material from the 2008 monthly CD series, EP’s Body Parts + First Aid nor Lazarus, Alice In The Kitchen or Lover Gone featured on the album. The night at The Garage was a complete sell out and the biggest show they have played to date. This was a fantastic night. When outside queuing it was a bit unorganised as I had to wait to get my ticket stub torn off and the scanner did not work as well (I had CD Collection you see). Still when I got in I managed to get the CD and get to the front. When outside I had been there since 5pm. It was a hour to early in my opinion but I briefly saw Katy which was nice. The support came from the wonderful Mariner’s Children. They are a strong 7 piece band who sing some delightful folk songs. The songs themselves are foot stomping ones I see themselves as a early Mumford and Sons. Still it was a wonderful band to open the night. I really enjoyed the set and songs sung on the night. The new song Golden Pond was fantastic. The 30 minute set ended at 8.30 and the second act Dan Michaelson & The Coastguards came on 15 minutes later. I really enjoyed this set with it being the first time I have ever heard material by them I couldn’t appreciate it as much as I would of liked to. This being down to the fact I was hearing the songs first time. Still Dan had a smooth voice which I liked and the set was very satisfying. During the two sets there was some feedback but both acts delivered two superb sets.

At 9.45 Peggy Sue took to the stage. This was the biggest show to date and was a complete set out. The trio consist of Rosa Slade, Katy Young and drummer Olly Joyce. The debut album Fossils And Other Phantoms was out a week early especially for this night. It is a cracker of an album and the set included material from the album, b sides, unreleased songs and material taken from previous releases. Now the band are on Witchita which looks like it will be their permanent home. This was the 14th time I had seen them play it is like I have seen the evolution of Peggy Sue. First back in 2007 they played as a duo and in 2008 they welcomed a third member drummer Olly Joyce. I have seen them play at many different venues and the 4 corners of London tour in 2008 had to be the best intimacy wise. This night was a 600 strong crowd and they played a longer set which was a bonus. Kicking off the set was Long Division Blues which was a nice steady song to start on. It is also a strong song as well and the vocals are fantastic. Following on was Yo Mama which was the first song to be taken from the album. I like how everything infuses together to create this brilliant song. The pace is slightly fast and they belt out this song. Rosa was on the acoustic guitar and Katy was on the accordion. After these two songs I was expecting it to be an album playback a bit like what Noah and the Whale did at the Roundhouse when their debut album was released. But what I thought was thrown out the window as the third song was oldie Lazarus. This song was released as a AA side with Alice In The Kitchen and was released under Too Pure Records. It is a strong song and the vocals are just belted out. There is a fast pace to this song and it is one I really like.

I Read It In The Paper was next and it was an album track which I had never heard before. This song is also getting released as a split vinyl with the other half being a First Aid Kit song. It will be released especially for Record Store Day. Again it is a steady paced song and it was delivered beautifully. It is a break up song as well. The Shape We Made is the albums closing track and was the next song on the set. This is a post break up song. It is a nice song albeit a bit sad lyrics wise. The Remainder starts off slow and it gets stronger when the song progresses. The lyrics are perfect and this song is simply amazing. Watchman which is the current single has a beat to it and it is one I rather like. Katy on the acoustic guitar sings this song and Rosa joins in with harmonising. It is a nice strong steady paced song as well. The line I like is “I only came to watch you watch me leave”. Now Hatstand Blues is the flip side to Yo Mama. Rosa is on the accordion and Katy is on the electric guitar. It is a steady paced song and it is belted out. After this B side it is back onto album tracks and this being Matilda which I have only heard live once. This is infact the oldest song to appear on the album. Still it is a fantastic song and it sounded brilliant live. Both Katy’s and Rosa’s voices compliment each other and it then creates a fantastic folk song. Now Dumbo is a new song but it doesn’t feature on the debut album for some reason. Rosa leads this song with Katy harmonising. It is a really good song and starts off strong from the get go. The first line is “I lost my name in the fire”.

After Katy goes on to say that the next song February Snow is from the album and thank you to who have the album and to everyone who will purchase after. Rosa then says that there was going to be a backdrop which was the Benjamin Phillips artwork inside the album. But this backdrop needed to be fire proof and it wasn’t. Back to February Snow it is another nice song which I have heard quite a few times live. It is a fast paced song and Rosa played the ukulele. Rosa’s vocals are extremely powerful. The song which I heard for the first time April 2009 we had just had snowfall that February 2009. Salt Water is mainly sung by Katy and it is a steady song which I rather like. Rosa is playing the drums that were set up beside her. The closing song on the night being The Sea, The Sea. It is a song that the crowd really enjoy. I must admit it is one of my many favourites and the addition of a string section for some of the songs was brilliant. Back to the song it is nice and powerful and rounded off the night perfectly. Once it was over there were chants for a encore and a couple of seconds later they come back on. They had planned a encore and decided to come back on the stage sooner before the crowd changed their minds. Well the encore was brilliant at first it started of with the lovely Lover Gone. This song is beautiful with good melody and lyrics. Rounding off the encore was Trouble and everyone from Mariner’s Children and Dan Michaelson & The Coastguards joined them for Watchman B Side Trouble. Well this song was unique and truly spectacular.

SET LIST

Long Division Blues
Yo Mama
Lazarus
I Read It In The Paper
The Shape We Made
The Remainder
Watchman
Hatstand Blues
Matilda
Dumbo
February Snow
Salt Walter
The Sea, The Sea

ENCORE

Lover Gone
Trouble

OVERALL: This was an enjoyable night. The album went straight into my CD player when I got home and it is fantastic. I am delighted that Peggy Sue finally have their debut album out in shops. As for the string section for some of the songs well I think it was completely marvellous. They consisted of Becca Mears, Emma Kraemer and Marcus Hamblett who are also in The Mariner’s Children.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Andy says:

    I came away with a slightly different impression. I felt the tracks consisting of vocals with minimal additional instrumentation worked really well. The tracks that had a lot of string accompaniment struggled as Peggy Sue’s subtle and unique vocals didn’t hold their own. As examples, Lover Gone sounded great, the vocals were good, the instruments didn’t dominate and the lyrics original. Trouble was dire, their voices swamped by instrumentation, the music derivative. Gack.

    I though the sound engineer who sorted out the balance for dan michaelson and the coastguards did them a great disservice. I thought it sounded awful and muddled. I was amazed to listen to them on their myspace and find the songs were actually really good.

  2. Dutchie no mas says:

    Apparently some of us think it’s cool to be contrary, so here goes. Peggy Sue were f’in brilliant. There was nothing wrong with the mix with the string section. It was only with the second encore, (which was one of those let’s get everyone up to round out the night) that anything got muddled. Rosa and Katy’s vocals were strong and stood out throughout, subtleties intact. I was right next to the soundman and believe me he was trying to fix the Dan michaelson mix but dans vocal style, smooth as it may be, kept veering from Leonard Cohen on Barbituates to Greg Brown in the midst of volcanic ash to Mumbles the Dog doing Chris Isaak covers. All in all the night was joyous and the varied instrumentation (double drumming, accordion, strings, etc.) perfectly balanced the unique strength of our resurgent ladies of song.

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