The Handsome Family were great. Preceded by a polished and professional set from the David Ferrard trio, with particularly strong a cappella harmonies, they took to the stage in the same no-frills way as the last time I saw them. Well in fact this time they didn’t seem to be setting up their own mics and amps as they did at the Queens Hall, but David had no sooner finished than the bear-like figure of Brett Sparks was making his way through the crowd to the stage. His wife Rennie was suitably off-the-wall, with a running commentary on their supporting multi-instrumentalist, Stephen (‘For those of you at the back who can’t see him, he just played that solo with only the edge of his leathery black wings’ ‘I made him myself!’). Musically no surprises – songs from all their albums, delivered with over-the-top crooning and cack-handed guitar solos by Brett, to a drum machine with only two settings – Plodding and Sluggish. And yet, and yet … this is a highly focused world-creating vision that occupies a unique place in the the musical world. Amateur Goth Americana? I don’t know, but a capacity audience were entranced by Rennie’s tales of death and obsession set among the mundane objects of the everyday world. And yes, she is the best lyricist in popular music.
This morning, had to recognise I am over-committed. Listed all the things I’m working on, wondering why I don’t get them, or any of my own music, done. Made plans to withdraw from some of them and a burst of activity to get others completed and out of the way.
My son is 20 today.