Greed, baby. Barely a week on, and we spring another Basement Club on an unsuspecting public.
Well, we say 'Basement Club'; more of a spin-off, really - we're not on a Thursday - but, instead, the far more tempered ease of a Friday night (Justin Hawkins would beam), without the strain of the assembled congregation retiring to work the next morning after.
Blessed be it, then, that we have such fine musical-exponents to accompany us. As if the live intro-CD of Regina Spektor live from The Basement Club from back in September, just as doors are pushed open for the night, wasn't jaw-dropping enough, soon swan in Artrocker's Tom and Paul fresh from the pub, beer-foam still lining their chops, and ready to barrage us with old soul, dirty rock and The Distillers, more perplexingly.
Then, lining the stage with shy, cautious steps, the bluesy husk of Paul The Girl alleviates us all even further. Guitars drenched in reverb, flange and general pedal-ridden, ringing dissonance, she sings off-the-beaten-path odes and delivers snappy punch-lines with enviable panache. To analyse separately, she'd be all too modest: mouse-like, impossibly quiet, reassuringly sweet, in fact. But, onstage, she's all-commanding, wailing, communicating, and - seemingly - instant. By the time her self-extended performance ends in a bellow of roars and furious claps, so dazed is she from the reaction that she walks offstage and doesn't quite know where to voyage to, stumbling around the venue to back-slaps and bellows of approval from new fans. In the background, a whirling rush of a looped, distorted guitar enflames the eardrums masterfully. This is music.
Then, the kind of muso-thrill you only dream or read about. An hour and a quarter in the company of Lach & The Secrets - living NYC legends and stalwarts, composed for a brief week in the UK; eight shows in eight days. And this is one of them.
Rightly, aptly, they're astounding: humour, fast-paced rock-a-billy/alt.country/anti-folk/punk/rock: the whole nine yards, bulged up to the eyeballs with anecdotes, witty lines and breakneck-pace bass from The Reverb Motherf**kers' Roy Edroso, and - of course - the jazz-coolness of Billy Ficca from Television (a small note - one of the finest living drummers today that originated from one of rock 'n' roll's finest ever, most crucial bands - Historic Ed). And, of course, in front - Lach: the man we have to thank for the burgeoning talents such as the pre-mentioned Ms Spektor, The Moldy Peaches, Beck, Jeffrey Lewis and so many more, his quirky, quick tales of life and poetry a canvas for his extraordinary presence - Buddy Holly frames, a smashed-up acoustic-guitar, and impressions of Jim Morrison, if he were Batman.
When they attempt to leave, shouts for more prompt them to continue and resurrect the effort. Yet, bizarrely, in an amusing twist, one song for some reason simply fails to reach more than one person, who is the sole clapper of the track. 'That was the worst round of applause I've ever heard,' laughs Lach, concerned. It's the only shortfall in a set otherwise largely punctuated by the brightness and robustness of his charismatic, formidable and forthcoming 'Today' LP, and affluent heart and charm.
We then dance the night away, our headliners cowering in the corner of the band-room on a white couch, looking ruthlessly bohemian as they chug away on cigarettes. The rest of us make fools of ourselves, dancing and singing out of sync, before crouching on the bar for more liquid assistance. It's exactly what we wished for, and more.
Photo-Credit: Patricia L Brown