For a Sunday afternoon, Monorail was pretty rammed – but that would be partly due to Carla J Easton’s album launch being a “kids come free” matinee, with face-painting, bubbles and goodness knows what else).
To be fair the kids were extremely well-behaved, mainly sitting on the floor at the front and applauding after each track – there was nary a tantrum in sight though a few were carried out the door due to extreme exhaustion or just need a nap (and that was just the kids, readers, haha, no seriously the afternoon drinking was a bit decadent as well).
It was fair to say that The Cords are not much older than kids themselves. Playing as an all-female two-piece (drums plus lead vocal/guitar but their lineup may vary), the songs were short, mainly sweet but with some interesting spiky edges, especially in the intros and endings. One song was introduced as “about our dog”, which went down with the youngsters, and the inclusion of a Vaselines cover as the last track when the crowd asked for one more was no surprise – they have been supporting said band recently – all very promising indeed and good to “start ’em young”, as they say.
Carla J Easton said onstage that the album ‘Sugar Honey’, which this gig was held to launch, was her fourth but that certainly doesn’t include all her various projects, including the full-length releases made with TeenCanteen. Anyway, this event was something of a triumph and a valediction, pulling together a large group of players to play tracks from ‘Sugar Honey’ plus a variety of her “greatest misses” (her words!).
On lead vocals, keyboards and twinkly percussion thing (!), Carla gave what BM would say was one of her best performances ever, belting out the choruses over the accumulated noise of the band, which at various points had drums (Calum, very loud at points!), guitars (including Paul Kelly doing a solo or three), another keyboard player and at times Pedro “Man of the Minch” on fiddle, Ali from Randolph’s Leap on trumpet, Gill Higgins on backing vocals and Angus Munro on sax – it was some noise by the end when everyone was up there. The new material is quite varied (from the stage CJE said she was surprised she had got as far as album four and she was just to record the material she wanted rather than think about what will sell – luckily for her record company Olive Grove she has pretty good taste!).
Things started with several of the new tracks including the title track and ‘Tempt Me’ before the band launched into some older material, some of which would have been new to some of the players onstage tonight. Highlights from this section for BM were the impassioned and bittersweet ‘Girl From Before’, a true CJE classic, while several more new tracks were then played including the “co-written in Nashville with my good pal Kim” ‘Sleepyhead’, which does maybe have a more conventional, less ‘Weirdo’ feel to it (no offence meant to CJE) before oldie ‘Attack of the Glam Soul Cheerleaders’, new track ‘Blooming for You’ and set closer, the epic ‘Wanting What I Can’t Have’, where the sonic kitchen sink was launched to extremely good effect, a fitting climax to a singularly great event.