Queen Monica plus guests @ The Swamp Bar @ Caledonian Backpackers

3/5 stars
a country-soaked ménage of magnetic melody, sumptuous song-writing and dreary detachment
Event review by Billy Hamilton.
Published 15 June 2006
Tonight's Tigerfest offering is a country-soaked ménage of magnetic melody, sumptuous song-writing and dreary detachment. Seven-piece shufflers The Stantons immediately inject zeal into the occasion with smooth pastoral harmonies and delectable hillbilly acoustics. Like the soundtrack to a black and white western, this banjo-led ensemble turns melancholic pondering into a gloriously effusive art-form. Following this buoyant beginning is the kookily cute Phoebe Kreutz and her jovial tales of lesbian cowgirls and Viking wannabes. Adorably quirky, her voice soars over spiky strumming like a countrified Regina Spektor, using craftily contagious songs to woo the heart of the audience.

Swiftly pursuing this enriching experience is the shambling sound of The Folk. Exuding a distinct medieval aroma, this band takes the scouse stargazing of The Stands and blends it with Jens Lekman-esque bewilderment. Awash with promise, the performance is marred by a lack of coherence, meandering into insipid Magic Numbers territory. But once Queen Monica amble on stage The Folk's banality seems positively vibrant. The acoustic duo's homely folk is engulfed in a cavernous venue, forfeiting the fragile poignancy of the heartfelt lyrics. Overawed and shallow sounding, Queen Monica seem lost on an evening that shimmered with delight before fading away. [Billy Hamilton]