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How To Swim In September

Posted: September 28th, 2005, by Alasdair R

It was a cold September evening and I was travelling across town to see Misty’s Big Adventure play King Tut’s. Unsure of what to expect, I had hoped to get a listen of their debut LP, The Black Hole, beforehand but I forgot. The free newspaper which litters Glasgow’s buses these days had given them a brief but curious write-up. I had seen it that morning and read it again as I crossed the city on what was my 5th bus journey that day. “Eclectic-Jazz-Brummies” was the gist of the worrying description…

The first band on were called El Jugador, an entertaining four piece consisting of two guys and two girls. As they hit the first chords of their opening song I wondered how long it would be until I thought they were rubbish. As it turned out, I didn’t have time to finish that thought and was quickly trying to stop myself from laughing out loud. Despite this I thought they were good fun, a bit daft and perhaps a bit casual. I don’t know if it was lack of rehearsal or confidence but there seemed to be a certain energy missing. Although they did have a matey charm that made me warm to them a little and feel mean for not liking them more.

Misty’s Big Adventure
was everything I feared and more. Overtly smug and painfully eccentric, I was nauseated by the over-riding pretension. Inventive and catchy arrangements, that owed a significant debt to classic Hanna-Barbara cartoon scores, were overshadowed by pithy lyrics and live ‘sampling’ of electronic nursery toys. In the interest of fairness I should point out that the most of the audience seemed to be able hear something I didn’t and were on the whole receptive to the front man’s dour, deadpan delivery.

I got so angry that the unhappy little man wouldn’t shut up about George Bush, having two brains and ‘tapeworms of love’, and therefore ruining the great music produced by the rest of the highly talented band, that I had to sit at the side and hold my head in my hands. I guess I didn’t get it then, the buttoned down square that I am.

How To Swim in comparison were like a hot water bottle on a winter’s night. A multi layered melt of sounds and instruments, the band teased some great melodies out of what could be easily be an overcrowded mess. There were at least 9 folk on the small stage, the fact that they all could fit was almost as impressive as their beautiful songs.

I had seen them live once a couple of months before and was disappointed to see that, whilst still putting on great show, the band were not enjoying themselves as much as before. I couldn’t help thinking that there must have been some reason, perhaps nerves due to being the last band on, that enthusiasm was not always as it could be throughout the set.

So, all in all, an interesting night. Misty’s might be the more polished band but How To Swim are the ones that I’m looking forward to hear more from.

Alasdair R

Alasdair was sent from a distant planet in order to conquer the Earth. His powers of procrastination and argument are so powerful it is impossible to escape from the grip of his warped logic. He hides behind a range of disguises which includes the largest collection of jumpers in the galaxy. Luckily for us, Alasdair is easily distracted from his tasks of death and destruction by anything from cute little puppy dogs to pop music and thus humanity is safe, for now.

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