Review Two Wings supported by The Little Mill of Happiness and Eric Chenaux at IG:LU on the 16th of June, 2012, by Frank Finlayson.
It is always worth the trek when going to see The Little Mill, even if it means climbing the countless steps up to Ig:lu, and next time I will count them.
Tonight they were openers for Two Wings and Eric Chenaux, with a stripped back acoustic set with a couple of new numbers thrown in. Opening with ‘Post Parentrovite Blues’, that dark lustre was evident lyrically with the line “I will kill again!”. Oh well no fluffy bunnies or cute kittens in the new work then. This provided a strong platform, up in the gods, to launch into ‘Drying Out Wishbones’, through ‘Villa Boas’ (which is not about a former Chelsea manager whatever John Terry may tell you) and onto the little seen ‘Hosanna’. The promising and considered ‘Leper’s Bell’ led on to ‘Article of Faith’ which rounded off tonight’s set. We may not have had the total onslaught, but with new songs, and seldom played in the case of ‘Hosanna’, given the full-blooded treatment in the near future, tonight was another insight into where we can expect Little Mill to go. A sound that is not only dependent on Steve’s gritty vocal, but the combination of the three guitars to maximum effect is not lost in an acoustic setting, and the band have done well to represent their work in this the most intimate of local settings.
An intimate setting is where artists such as Eric Chenaux thrive, or so you would expect. When tuning up he announced that his music had “zero energy so you all better sit down”, to which the 20 or so in the attic duly obliged. Tonight’s concert, not a gig, he doesn’t like that word, it reminds him of gigolo, for the man from Toronto/Montreal (hedging his bets there) but based in Paris was not without its troubles. His music is atmospheric, playing much on the pause and the moment, and this was not to the taste of all. So much so that a small, but audible chatter, disturbed Eric mid flow, leading for a plea to cut the talk. He commented that it is a small venue and it was too small to talk, and that people wanted to listen. This was taken on board, albeit with a little misjudged banter, and events proceeded. Vocally Eric is mellow and somewhat soulful, at times stark but yet captivating. Half of his final number, a Serbian but it could have been Croatian, ballad was haunting in its delivery. However, on the flip side, his guitar style is somewhat experimental in its nature, early delivery in a star spangly Hendrix style endeared, but towards the end of the set, for some in the small room it appeared to edge towards painful, which is unfortunate. Guitar and Voice is the name of his fourth album and that is precisely what you get, but you need to appreciate both to get it to work.
Two Wings, once they applied an unhealthy amount of duct tape to secure the drum stand, turned a set on its head, and by the second song they were introducing each of the band members and giving them a little solo each. Normally reserved for the last song? But that is Two Wings: they are not conventional. They sit comfortably with their mash up of musical styles although for the listener you never quite know in which direction each song, for less the set is going to go. Opening with harmonies and ending in a jig, sway inducing leading to real 50s feel rock ‘n’ roll, and finally spaghetti western turns to the close of the set in a tumult of noise. All this accompanied by the quirky vocal of lead singer Hanna Tuulikki, who added a bit of flute and recorder adding to this experimental broth. Such musical soup may not be to everyone’s taste, and I was left thinking, as with food, that you need to try something three times before you will like it. This though was my first taste, and I’m not entirely sure that second bite will taste any different.
You can see some photos of Little Mill’s last trip to IG:LU here.