|The setlist - I've left it as long as I could to avoid spoilers!|
Allo Darlin' have worked their way deep into my heart as one of my favourite live (and otherwise) bands. I first saw them only a few months ago, in February. I was still living in Newcastle and saw them at the Star and Shadow Cinema, my favourite music venue in the Northeast. With no raised stage, we were all on the same level and the setting was wonderfully intimate.
When they announced their autumn tour I was initially sad that I'd not be able to return to that setting to see them again, but brightened when I realised that they were also playing Bristol. I stuck it out 'til payday to buy my ticket, and before then I managed to get a place on the cheaplist as Twitter pal Andy's band Cassette Culture were supporting. Another Twitter buddy mentioned she was going too and a quick half in the Apple calmed my jittery excitement before we burst in to the sounds of Bristol-based band An Axe. They put the same itch in my bones that the Rakes do, with a little more drama and a touch of something else. Very different from Allo Darlin', but deliciously so. Listen/brood/twitch to them here (and if you're in Bristol, they're playing the Croft in a couple of weeks).
Next was a trip to the bar for Crabbie's alcoholic ginger beer before Cassette Culture's set. I hadn't had time to check them out before the gig (I felt a bit guilty about this) and was pleasantly surprised. Different again, and it's always nice to have a bit of variety on the bill. A bit poppier than I had expected, probably because their website describes them very bluntly as "lo-fi indie rock music" and that leaves a lot to the imagination. A favourite for me was The Negative Song (more upbeat than it sounds, but if you don't believe me, check out Cassette Culture here).
Last, of course, was the reason I'd trekked across Bristol to meet a stranger: Allo Darlin'. As with the last time I saw them, I've drifted into a post-gig fog of smiles and humming under my breath all day. It's been a week and I've become utterly besotted with Europe, their latest album. I think I'm a little bit in love with Elizabeth Morris (and she wrote on the back of a setlist that it was nice to meet me so she obviously loves me back) and my Last.fm stats are showing just how deep a dent last Tuesday left on me. As with the last time I saw them, I was lucky enough to chat with the band for a while after the show and they were all absolutely lovely. This time, I'd spent all my money on ginger beer so I nabbed a setlist off the stage and Paul illustrated it for me with cute little pictures for each song, before the rest of the band signed it.
I want to assume that everyone has heard their music because it feels like I've been listening to them forever now (in reality it's probably little over a year) but, if you haven't, take a listen now. They're the sweetest thing (especially if you like ukuleles).