Haight-Ashbury @ Captain's Rest, 8 March

Live Review by Chris McCall | 13 Mar 2012

Soho Dandy are a four-piece from Erskine centred around the songwriting talent of Blain McEwan. Their muscular blues rock owes a large debt to BRMC and The Black Keys, but it’s McEwan’s voice that’s the revelation, and the foundation on which their future success might be built. It certainly impresses the two-dozen punters who have arrived early enough to hear it. Up next are Captain and the Kings, a band of family members and friends who play a brand of folkish-pop that seems overly concerned about the insecurities caused by relationships. Their sound is warm and embracing, but their songs too often tread on over-familiar lyrical ground.

Any doubt that tonight’s headliners Haight-Ashbury might struggle to replicate the lush, layered sound of their new album are cast aside by the haunting opening number, Dum Dee Dum. Jennifer and Kirsty’s harmonies are note-perfect, and fit well with Scott’s reverb-drenched Telecaster. There’s no attempt to hide their obsession with the psychedelic sounds of forty years ago in tonight’s set – and they certainly look the part in their vintage dresses and jackets, but never does this feel like some limp revival act. There’s just enough feedback and lyrical darkness, which, when added to the Moe Tucker-style drums, suggest that this is a band with a surprisingly hard edge. Older songs like Freeman Town seem almost throwaway when heard alongside superior new efforts like Masstricht (A Treaty). Haight-Ashbury are definitely a band moving forward, even if their sound is rooted firmly in yesteryear.