The Courettes and Thee Windom Earles, Night and Day, Manchester 16/6/22.

 

 

WORDS AND IMAGES BY PAUL EVANS

 

‘The Courettes Are One Of The Most Vibrant And Dynamic Live Acts I’ve Seen For A While’

 

It’s been a long time coming. I’ve been wanting to catch The Courettes live for some time now. Their exciting blend of 60’s garage masterpieces doused in girl-group melodies had me the first time I heard them. Tonight’s gig is in one of my favourite intimate venues too and I’ve also just heard the support band are the magnificent Thee Windom Earles.  We’re looking at an alignment of stars tonight that is nigh on perfect for me then. It’s a sweltering, busy night on Manchester’s Oldham Street and after mutually appreciative fashion hellos with the headline husband-and-wife duo I head inside the legendary Night and Day to see what awaits.

Thee Windom Earles merge greasy, psychotic rockabilly with go-go, voodoo exotica. Guitarists Rob and Pete alternate vocals, Al plays fevered keyboard and bassist Shell holds the band together calmly on glorious tracks such as “Monkey Face” and “Freight Elevator” from their debut album Mai Tai Pink Eye. The bands chaotic Gretsch’s, tribal drums, brothel creepers, Hawaiian shirts, sideburns and crazed masked keyboardist are perfect in the intimate and hot, simmering surroundings of Night and Day. Thee Windom Earles are one of my favourite local bands at the minute and I’m told they’re currently recording new material which will mean more and longer gigs. Looking forward to it.

 

SETLIST

1/ Thee Windom Earles.

2/ Monkey face

3/ Freight elevator

4/ Wasps

5/ Hex

6/ Monster

7/ Nudie magazine

8/ Let me lick your Coco pop

9/ Lick the Flipper

 

 

I’m stood stage front in a sea of sweaty familiar and not so familiar faces as Flavia, dazzling in her 60s monochrome chic and the elegantly suited Martin take to the stage to huge anticipatory cheers. The capped drummer throws water on his kit, holds out one of his drumsticks and waits before the frenzied, pummelling assault of garage punk opener ‘Hoodoo Hop’ bursts the set into life. There’s no waiting around, it’s a savage introduction to the Brazilian/Danish duo. It’s thunderous, intense, hypnotic, Flavia’s vocals and guitar furious, filled with unashamed passion. 

The singer asks all the female audience to push to the stage front for the driving go-go fuzz melody of second song, ‘The Boy I Love’ whilst Martin delivers a thunderously booming beat reminiscent of Starkey and Moon.  Flavia’s flawlessly styled hair is already beginning to melt as she jumps on monitors and twists a glorious garage rock sound from her guitar, her vocals outstanding. It is easy to forget that there are only two of them on stage because their energy and stamina are huuuuge.  It’s the 15th date of an arduous 17 date UK tour with a Marc Riley BBC Radio 6 Music session thrown in and I’m not sure how they can keep it up in this heat.

Thankfully, the pace slows a little for the faultless, twangy guitar laden, beat pop dance number ‘Time Is Ticking’ and more so for ‘Until You’re Mine’ and the Sonny and Cher reminiscent ‘Daydream’. The introduction of ‘Trash Can Honey’ is a “tribute” to their old record label as Martin too has the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand and ‘Want You! Like a Cigarette’ and ‘We Are Gonna Die’ are dirty, fuzzed, lo-fi rock and roll driven by incessant drums. During the latter the singer struts and springs around the stage before asking everyone to sit down and shoots audience members with her guitar which really is a sight to behold.

Flavia is a compelling, mischievous performer and during an epic, primitive and raw ‘Boom! Dynamite’ she conducts the sweltering, beaten and battered audience in a sing-along as Martin keeps time with his astonishing steam train drumming. Tour manager Patrice is on stage numerous times fixing drum issues, but somehow this doesn’t affect the band, in fact Martin seems to drag more raw energy and power from his minimal kit.

Mini masterpieces ‘Hop the Twig’ and ‘Misfits and Freaks’ close out the set, both songs tantalizing, sonically charged, fuzzy garage rock drenched full of melodies. The duo’s chemistry sparkles, and every song receives rapturous applause. Tonight, is what a live gig should be all about. Raw energy and passion. The Courettes are one of the most vibrant and dynamic live acts I’ve seen for a while and with a Courreges bag full of memorable fuzz stabbed songs drenched in girl-group melodies you’d be a fool not to hear or see them when you can. Outstanding.

 

 

SETLIST

1/ The Courettes

2/ Hoodoo Hop

3/ The Boy I Love

4/ Time Is Ticking

5/ R.I.N.G.O.

6/ Until You’re Mine

7/ Daydream

8/ Trash Can Honey

9/ Want You! Like a Cigarette

10/ Night-time (The Boy of Mine)

11/ Edge of My Nerves

12/ Tough Like That

13/ We Are Gonna Die

14/ Boom! Dynamite!

15/ Strawberry Boy

16/ All about you

17/ Hop The Twig

18/ Misfits and Freaks

19/ Won’t Let You Go

 

 

 

 

 

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I've loved music since forever. Graphic designer, photographer and artist at painted.papillon.smile (www.ppsdesign.co.uk)

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