Wednesday night finds us in North London at the Lexington, a 300 person capacity venue we’d not been to before, to see Plastic Mermaids. They’re a five piece from the Isle of Wight that have been releasing music since 2014 who I have been somewhat obsessed about for the past eight months or so. So far my experience of the band has been limited to their three released E.Ps and their presence on youtube, with their homemade videos something truly to behold. Musically (to my ears) the band seem to pull on late nineties influences- Soft Bulletin era Flaming Lips, 3 EPS Beta Band with the occasional bowed guitar (a la Sigur Ros).
Support came from Cousin Kula who had a polished, seventies/eighties AOR sound to them. A more contemporary reference point might be Tame Impala. Mrs. Paws enjoyed them.
This was my first opportunity to see Plastic Mermaids since first hearing them back in August and I’ve been counting down to this all month, as such an hour set felt like not quite enough. Their set covered they career so far with material from all three of their E.Ps as well as recent singles ‘1996’ and Floating in a Vacuum and a couple of tunes from their forthcoming album. Having only experienced them on-line or on vinyl I wasn’t sure if their sound (layered, samples, keyboards, strings) would translate on stage. Well, it bloody well did and then some. A lot of the string sounds seemed to be covered by the bowed guitar (God, that is a big sound!) and they were aided by three backing singers who were dressed in gold tinsel outfits.
For me, the band were exceptional but then I’m rather infatuated by them; however Mrs. Paws appeared more than a little impressed by their set. With this in mind we may get to see them again later in the year. They finished their main set with ‘Saturn’ a song that on record is well layered but not necessarily exceptional. Live the song starts stripped down with piano and a mezzo-soprano opera singer (as you do, one assumes she was one of the gold tinsel ladies initially) who pretty much took the roof off. Incredible. The band came back for an encore, where for once the phrase “shall we let the drummer sing one” didn’t seem like such a bad idea. The song sounded a little like Radiohead’s ‘Fitter, Happier’ (another late nineties reference) before the song built up to a large crescendo of guitar and keyboards.
I was surprised being at a London gig and there was a lack of unnecessary chat during/between songs. Maybe I’m just getting a bit older and can’t hear it any more, maybe the audience was a little reverent, who knows but it was really nice to experience.
50/50 Male/Female mix, mainly late 20s to late 40s. Lack of bright young things, perhaps because it was a Wednesday night.
It made me think..
We are probably getting a bit too old to be going to mid-week gigs, getting to bed at 1am (after a 90 minute train journey home) and getting up for the school run the next day.