With storm Clodagh (apparently, who names these things?) battering Guernsey with gales and rain what else is there to do on a Saturday evening but head out for some live music? (Well I guess you could stay in and watch Saturday night TV but, other than Doctor Who, I’d suggest this is the more preferable option).
So, with that in mind the De La Rue in St Peter Port was my chosen destination to catch the final night of regular visitor Grant Sharkey’s latest tour along with Tantale who were showcasing their new album.
Despite the evident effects of “living out of a smart car” for the best parts of the last month, Grant Sharkey seemed far more relaxed on stage here in the more intimate surroundings of the town pub than the last few times I’ve caught him at The Fermain Tavern.
Over the course of those last few shows his act had worn somewhat thin for me and what I had once enjoyed as a smart, satirical, performer seemed to have become something of a hectoring presence lacking some of the humour for which he gained his reputation.
Here though, Grant seemed to have something of the old charm back so, while still focusing his gaze on satirical subjects it was, predominantly, with the satirical side firmly back in place.
Uncle Twinkle Fingers provided a dark view of the world’s mainstream media, the title referring to Rupert Murdoch in far from flattering ways, while I’m Sorry To Hear You’re A Racist took on even greater meaning when accompanied by a story about performing it to an audience including members of the EDL in Andover.
Grant created a surprisingly varied sound with just his double bass and stomp box expanding his solo sound more widely than in the past helping carry the one man show and the presence of a very on side and engaged audience helped the atmosphere further and, as the set came to an end with The Onesie Song the audience, who had already filled what passes for a dancefloor, were well warmed up and eager for more.
After a short break for some tunes from DJ Binary Reaper, Tantale hit the stage with a renewed sense of energy.
With new album Just Add Vice having dropped in the previous week the alt-rock four-piece seemed to have regained the energy and excitement they had when they launched their debut album with a packed show at The Fermain Tavern three years ago.
The new songs sounded great in the live environment with more of a full on rock edge than the albums prog-y twists but with some of the psychedelic twists still in place that got heads nodding and a few bodies moving on the dancefloor.
Go To Get Gone and The Question stood out as a particularly good double-header earlier in the set, between them displaying the various sounds Tantale work in with real dynamics existing from the short, high energy former to the more developed and varied latter.
As the set went on the energy of the performance seemed to wane slightly and the band’s occasional, somewhat frustrating, on stage persona began to return, however as they neared the end of the set the positivity returned leading to a climax of Coming Home from debut album The Known Elements that left many in the still busy pub calling for more.
With more gigs coming up to showcase Just Add Vice Tantale are taking a different approach to launching their new album and I would strongly advise that, if slightly psychedelic grunge rock are your think they will be well worth catching between now and Christmas.