Fiel Garvie, Bearsuit and Magoo

ticket Norwhich indie heroes 12 October 2004 / Ekko, Utrecht

Every city has its music scene, small or big. And every scene has its ups and downs. Apparently the musical climate of Norwich is blossoming at the moment.
Three indiebands from that English city played together in Utrecht:
Fiel Garvie, Bearsuit and Magoo.

It was on a Tuesday, normally not the most crowded night in club Ekko. There were indeed only a few dozen people, despite the announcement of the bands as new ‘indie heroes’. I must admit that in advance I was only familiar with the work of Fiel Garvie. I knew the other two acts, Magoo (not to be confused with Mago) and Bearsuit, only by name and I listened to a few soundclips online.
Magoo Magoo Magoo
When Magoo (2 girls, 3 guys) started, the bar staff pushed us forward, to fill the room a little. Magoo, perhaps on paper the most succesful of the three acts, directly started with a rocking piece of guitar music. The debut of Magoo was released on the upcoming Scottisch label Chemikal Underground and the band has also been pushed by John Peel. They sounded really energetic in Ekko. Unfortunately I found the volume too loud for such a small room with not many visitors. In the slower songs it was no problem, but in the heavier songs it was too much. I must say I quite enjoyed the performance, though I was not very wild about the typical British, rather plaintive voice of Magoo’s bearded singer. But the classic indierocksongs sounded nice, with some unexpected breaks and raw, sharp twists, making me think fo the likes of The Fall, Wire or Flaming Lips.
Bearsuit Bearsuit Bearsuit
Next on stage was Bearsuit (3 girls, 3 guys). Luckily the numer of visitors had increased a little by then. Apparently they literally perform in bearsuits now and then, but this was not the case in Utrecht. But there remained more than enough humour in their rather chaotic performance. The frontwoman was jumping up and down, screaming at times or singing in a very high, childish voice, making me think a little of Nina Hagen. The male singer/guitarist was looking cool, though he could not see much through his long hair. The punky guitar sound of Bearsuit was further enhanced by trumpet, flute, accordeon and strange sounds from cheap keyboards. I had to think of weird Japanse acts like The Shonen Knife or Ex-Girl. Bearsuit easily switched between a capella parts or a wall of noise, out-of-tune or not. They really seemed to enjoy themselves and their pleasure was transferred to the audience. Strange music, without pretentions and always entertaining.
Fiel Garvie Fiel Garvie Fiel Garvie
Finally Fiel Garvie (3 girls, 2 guys) could perform their moody music. The stage was adorned with little lights and slow video images were playing in the background. I already appreciated their (second) album ‘Leave me out of this’ a lot, so I was curious to see Fiel Garvie live. And I really enjoyed their shoegaze type of music. Singer Anne Reekie has a peculiar, soft voice, which fits the nice shimmering guitar sound very well. Think of Cocteau Twins, Cranes or recent Icelandic acts like M?m. A mysterious, intimate, dreamy sound with a lot of atmosphere. The concert lasted not very long, but just long enough to keep your attention. All songs were rather slow and tranquil, except for the rocking final piece. No encore was played, I was hoping that they would reserve their excellent single ‘I didn’t say’ for the end, but alas. Still I was very glad to have seen this band live. And I was also happy to obtain four different singles of Fiel Garvie for only 10 euro.
Seeing three bands from Norwich is certainly better than watching tv on a Tuesday night…