Tiny Pop Presents... The Peterpoppers - Leeds, Fox & Newt - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Tiny Pop Presents... The Peterpoppers - Leeds, Fox & Newt

by Andy Brown Rating:10 Release Date:

It’s with a sentimental tear in my eye that I attend tonight’s Tiny Pop Presents gig. It’s been a pretty amazing journey and I’ve become somewhat hooked on these monthly nights of pop. The idea, as you must know by now, was for Rachael Rix-Moore to form, play with and then disband 13 different ‘pop-up’ bands over the course of the year.

The gigs have been a triumph for Rix-Moore and have gradually built up something of a community around them with recurring faces both on and off the stage. I overhear someone say that the nights have re-ignited their faith in the Leeds music scene and really you can’t pay Tiny Pop a higher compliment than that.

Each month has provided a host of new, upcoming and undervalued acts in an atmosphere that has remained fun, inclusive and unpretentious throughout. We’ve witnessed a cardboard seal quartet, Twin Peaks tributes and live jam sandwich making alongside slots from such local luminaries as The Scaramanga Six, Nervous Twitch and The Seven Inches. Last month saw Symposiums’ Wojtek Godzisz deliver one of the sets of the year while this month see’s Simon Eugene make the trek from London to headline the closing festivities.  I wipe the tears away and get ready for Tiny Pops last night of 2015.

A regular at Tiny Pop events tonight Nicky Bray treats us to a set of quirky keyboard pop with just a dash of audience participation and a festive dollop of show tunes. Singing along to Casio beats and with a strong line-in comedy storytelling, Bray’s set is eccentric and entertaining from the start. The first song, ‘Fly me to the Honeymoon’, concerns a Jet 2 holiday and a couple that consummate their marriage behind a giant, novelty Toblerone. Another highlight sees Bray perform in a sort of one-girl barbershop quartet while singing about Gary Lineker and crisps.

Bray’s festive contribution was delivered wearing a pair of head-boppers and seemed to be predominately about dinosaurs, “other children grow euphoric/my tastes are more prehistoric”. Bray is undoubtedly the self-deprecating spiritual offspring of Victoria Wood and John Shuttleworth but with a duet about vajazzle’s thrown in for good luck. 

Next up, it’s time for the last pop-up band of 2015; with that prestigious honour falling to The Peterpoppers.  The band is a tribute to one of Rix-Moore’s many old bands, The Peterborough’s. The original band was formed following a drunken chat in The Chemic Tavern and went on to perform banjo, ukulele and accordion tributes to ginger beer and the benefits of re-cycling.  Rix-Moore wouldn’t know how to be in a boring or conventional band if she tried.

Tonight’s incarnation finds Rix-Moore on drums, Adrian Lister on guitar, Melanie Hibbert on violin, Rob Barham on keyboard and glockenspiel, Alice Rix-Moore on additional glock and Mike Bird on vocals. Bird mentions early on that while most of the line-up has had a fair amount of experience on stage, this will be his first time in a band in 33 years. No pressure then.

They open with a band original, a doo-wop introduction with some typically eccentric lyrics, “we’re the friends of the colonel/we get permanent leave/so we hit the casinos/and we gamble for peace”. As always there’s a selection of covers and it’s an unexpected treat to hear Bright Eye’s ‘We are nowhere and it’s now’ sitting next to the crushing ‘My Oblivion’ by Tindersticks.

The surreal highlight undoubtedly comes when Barham takes centre stage brandishing a potato and singing a self-penned 90’s rave song called ‘Christmas Seagull’. It’s suddenly all gone very Vic ‘n’ Bob. The band end with a rendition of lounge lizard classic ‘My Way’ and, well, they really did do it their way.

Next up there’s a set from singer-songwriter Lisa Marie Glover. Armed with acoustic and playing tracks from her recent Tornados EP, Glover indulges our ears in folk-jazz style finger picking and some gentle yet commanding vocals. There’s a sprightly and timely cover of ‘Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer’ and a song about catching spiders yet it’s Glovers more serious material that really sends shivers down the spine. 

Things don’t get much darker than her folk murder ballad about smothering an abusive partner and it’s as powerful as you’d expect.  It’s a diverse and captivating set that also manages to cover a little bossa-nova style romanticism with ‘I Woke Up’ and dark lullabies with the sinister stylings of ‘Does She Know’. The room is pretty much silent throughout her set and it’s not hard to hear why so many have fallen under a temporary spell.  It’s a superb set and one of my Tiny Pop highlights.

So, the final Tiny Pop gig is nearly at its end but it’s not over just yet. Tonight’s headliner has played in support of Radiohead and David Bowie and everyone’s understandably excited to have Simon Eugene aka Comfort headlining tonight’s festivities. Eugene played in alt-rock/indie group Out of My Hair during the 90’s before forming the International Love Corporation after a particularly enlightening stint of travelling.

Eugene carries a happy and somewhat zen-like presence on stage, his songs giving off a kind of George Harrison-esque serenity. It’s clearly working as most of the audience have sat on the venues carpet, some with their eyes closed, others lying flat on their back. The set takes in songs from across Eugene’s career, including a rendition of Out of My Hair single ‘In the Groove Again’. An irresistibly catchy, lost classic if ever I’ve heard one.

The songs work well stripped of any extra instrumentation, the bare acoustic renditions letting Eugene’s lyrics and philosophy come to the fore. The likes of ‘Shelter’ are exposed for the beautiful, life affirming pieces of songwriting they always were. The highpoint arguably comes with the stunning ‘Figures in the Fading Blue’ from his most recent album that’s melancholic folk stylings serve as a rather tender tribute to Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks.

And almost as suddenly as it began this year’s Tiny Pop events have come to a close. It’s sad to see it go but rest assured they’ll be something to fill the void come 2016. Star Trek vs Coronation Street themed night of music anyone? 

Here's the year that was:

January

February

March

April

May 1

May 2

June

July

August 

September 

October 

November 

Comments (2)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Sounds like a lot of fun, and probably a bit more sophisticated than our "open mic night" down at our local. Great local enterprise !

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Yeah, they've been great nights and a bit of motivation for me every month. They're doing a similarly barmy lo of gigs next year too

There are no comments posted here yet