Sunday, December 5, 2010



A venue free of sound insulation,  bands get a bright and garish sound playing in the Workers Club, and this works surprisingly well for the groups playing tonight, both of whom hide their accomplished musicianship in twisting and unpredictable songs. 

Chris Bolton makes a case for being one of the more fearless singer-songwriters in town with his moniker Seagull now signifying a four piece band who explore the outer edges of indie rock with piercing vocals, heavy rhythms and textured melodica. Bolton has transformed from an intelligent, bookish wilfully low-fi singer-songwriter into a charismatic near-experimentalist pushing his Velvets chugs into dark stabs of pop. With Patinka Cha Cha member Ruby Green providing the melodica lines which blend beautifully with his textured stabs of the guitar, the band move easily from elegant and slightly sinister dynamics to My Disco-like sledgehammer blocks of rhythm. For a guy strumming a broken acoustic a year ago this blazingly charismatic transition makes Whitley’s seem tame.

Rather than finding a rhythm and driving it into the ground, Patinka Cha Cha play with the idea of what songs can be. A typical one messes with the meter, skips from effervescent horn blasts to a fluid melodic guitar break before crashing into a five-part vocal-led outro and offering the delicious proposition of not knowing where a song will go next. Sounding entirely unlike any other band yet with the horn-led rhythmic fluidity of late 70s British combo Pigbag, Patinka Cha Cha are a dazzling seven-piece and prove Natasha Rose is a disarmingly shy bandleader and blisteringly exciting guitarist. Hiding swathes of warm, untreated jazz-influenced guitar virtuosity amidst danceable beats and explosions of synth pad warmth, there is breathtakingly unique mix of musicality and pop nous, all the more amazing for the youth of all involved.

Despite the dynamic shifts, several girls are inspired to do swoopy dancing, the room is nearly packed and the thermometer cracks the high 30s which all lends this show and this band an exciting ‘now is their time’ edge. Whether PCC fall on the right side of indie or are deemed by those with radio playlisting power to be too imaginative, too jazz influenced, too unpredictable or just uninterested in the opportunities on offer remains to be seen, but either way, Patinka Cha Cha are one of the most exciting bands 2010 has yet offered. The fact that they’ve already outgrown the EP they spent tonight promoting is another reason to check them out sooner rather than later because there’s really no knowing what’s next.

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