If Kanye's " All of the Lights " left you feeling woozy, you may reconsider watching…
- Posted on Dec 9th 2010 10:30AM by Mike Ayers
Andy Sheppard, Redferns
The Babblers stage setup is limited to just a few old lamps on the stage, leaving audiences with a rather mysterious view. Bonnie Billy and his bandmates wear body suits that look of a soft velour, with their hoods up -- but babble they do not. In fact, they only played Kevin Coyne and Dagmar Krause's 1979 album 'Babble (Songs for Lonely Lovers)' from start to finish.
Concern could mount around this being a ramshackle experiment -- a band wearing velour jumpsuits certainly hints at that -- but the Babblers pay homage to this relatively obscure album in a fit of country-fused blues on 'Stand Up,' some faint reggae on 'Sun Shines Down On Me' and a rather jarring 'It's My Mind.' Billy alternated vocal duties with his female counterpart, Angel Olson, who was barely visible beneath a pair of large sunglasses and her own body suit.
As the Babblers left the stage, they were nice enough to turn out the lights for Bonnie "Prince" Billy and the Cairo Gang, the evening's headliner. As the Prince and his Cairo companions came on stage dressed in dapper suits, it quickly became evident that the Babblers and Bonnie Billy's gang were, in fact, the same exact band. Such is the foolproof plan to ensure no crappy openers send your fans to the bar.
For this short run of shows, Bonnie Billy is supporting 'The Wonder Show of the World,' an album released this past spring with Emmett Kelly, who records under the Cairo Gang moniker. Yet they continued the covering aspects of the Babblers by opening the show with Willie Nelson's 'December Day,' a song taken from his 1971 album 'Yesterday's Wine.' From there, the band meandered into a slow, nocturnal haze for a host of 'Wonder Show' songs like 'With Cornstalks and Among Them' and 'The Sounds Are Always Begging,' as well as mixing in a few Bonnie Billy songs such as 'Cursed Sleep,' 'Strange Form of Life' and a messy 'So Everyone.'
It was that last tune that exhibited one of the more unrestrained moments, where Bonnie tried to stop the song but the band kept playing on. Which makes sense: babblers are notorious for having a hard time keeping quiet, even at the most inopportune moments.