Saturday, 9 June 2012

Parakeets and Hungry Kids of Hungary at Bull & Gate - & June 2012

Hungry Kids of Hungary

I’m climbing the walls. It’s been nearly a month since my last gig and I’m champing at the bit. Admittedly there was a trip to Munich in the interim, but man cannot live on glory alone.

We’re at the Hoxton Bar and Grill to see O Children and Savages. Unfortunately, we’ve neglected to buy tickets in advance and we are politely told (to the huge amusement of the rather butch bouncer) that tonight is sold out and we should take our raddled carcasses elsewhere. There is a faint possibility of inveigling ourselves onto one of the many guest lists, but we think that we have an alternate show lined up.

 Spying the name ‘Parakeet’ we immediately think of the Yuck side project and head off to the Bull & Gate

Ok. So the band headlining tonight turns out to be Parakeets (plural not singular) but we head on in anyway. And you know what? We land on our feet.

First off we get Hungry Kids of Hungary, who hail from Brisbane and have been touring the country for the last few weeks. As they start to play, my antennae go up – I’ve heard of these guys.

And in the grand tradition of bands who have travelled an incredibly long way to ultimately play in a very small venue in the UK, they turn out to be really good.

It’s an easy, laid back funky sound. We shuffle and dance and relax to their smooth pop groove. There are certain elements of acts such as Vampire Weekend or Cold War Kids but these guys are definitely their own animal.

All band members appear comfortable with vocals and these are shared throughout, although it is the songs that are fronted by guitarist Dean McGrath which make the most impression.

There’s a small ex-pat coterie of fans here to see them, and for one song we are treated to a couple doing an elaborate but rather alcohol-affected dance routine in front of the stage.

We have a quick chat with the band later. They’ve enjoyed themselves as much as we have.

Parakeets turn out to be rather good fun too.

These guys dispense a nervous, angsty yet still crisp and dancey guitar pop and in their singer/guitarist they have a front man who is worth watching. He is as thin as a rail and the kind of face that is all planes and angles. He also affects a mildly twitchy, exaggerated persona that highlights these songs as elegant artifice and performance rather than from the heart confessional.

The singer either stabs away at his guitar or sinks to his knees to fiddle with a small electronic array. There’s a hint of Chapman Family anger here too.

Later, I try to get some more info on Parakeets (names would be nice!), but the emergence of the similarly named Yuck offshoot, along with the vast number of sites dedicated to fanciers of the actual small parrots make it impossible to glean much knowledge to share here. A pity.

So, not the gig that I thought I was going to, but a very worthy substitute. I’m glad to be back in the saddle again.