The Lovely Eggs

The Lovely Eggs


The gig space in the Soup Kitchen looks like a catacomb and it fits the night perfectly, given that the devotion shown by fans of The Lovely Eggs shares some traits with a religious cult, and this is now the cult of the Magic Onion, as explained later.

The amplification seems slightly disproportionate for the small room, it could as well be good for Foo Fighters at Wembley. As a prevention measure, a few wise people are equipped with earplugs.

The support band The Hipshakes from Bakewell, Derbyshire, start their set at 8pm. The four-piece (two guitars, bass, drums) look and are young but they have been playing together since 2001 and have already produced an album in 2007 (Shake Their Hips, Slovenly Records) and several 7″s; a new album is on the way and they have received airplay from John Peel and they already toured the U.S. in 2006.

They label themselves as ‘garage punk’, ‘catchy party punk with 100% pop muscle and attractiveness’ and ‘fast, loud rock’n’roll with catchy bits’. In several interviews they have discussed the fact that despite not writing particularly angry nor revolutionary songs, their delivery is definitely filled with (post) teenage angst. In an interview from 2009, guitarist Dan Russell explains: ‘the sound we have developed grew mainly out of boredom and musical incompetence rather than hating the world or rebelling. Or maybe we hated the boredom of where we grew up and rebelled against that.’

This may explain the feeling of aggressiveness perceived by a few of us in the audience. In the same interview, they also discuss how it has often been being nervous before going on stage that generates these angry performances.

Their set is a 30-minute long waterfall of noise made up of short indie-punk (that’s my label for them) songs delivered with a certain detachment and immense energy that, however, does not entirely reach the shiny happy fun-loving fans of The Lovely Eggs.  Despite the fact that both the front man and the bass player occasionally address the crowd, we don’t really get the impression that the band has any interest in connecting with the people listening to them in the room. “We went from playing every weekend, or thereabouts, around England to crap audiences and crap towns, to suddenly going to play in America”. This excerpt from the 2009 interview seems to testify to this lack of interest that almost falls into misanthropy. What defines a ‘crap audience in a crap town’, I’d like to ask the front man, and also what defines a crap band then.

The Hipshakes Photo by Francesca Nottola

The Hipshakes Photo by Francesca Nottola

Their sarcastic and ironic self-deprecating statements (like ‘please stand a bit further away’ to the audience which was still standing close to the bar or ‘Professional people making professional music’), paired with the singer’s gesture of shooting us with his guitar and his fake convulsive gestures which might have impressed in the late 1960s but not a 2015 audience that has seen it (almost) all, do not succeed in seducing the audience, which remains as cold as The Hipshakes themselves.

The Hipshakes clearly have a huge musical potential, with powerful drums, great guitars and immense energy, but a bit of variety in rhythm and a more positive attitude towards people that are curious to learn something about them and eager to appreciate their music would perhaps turn them into more successful performers. If The Hipshakes don’t care about interacting with ‘crap’ audiences, then they might as well spare themselves and gig goers from something that they don’t seem to enjoy that much. Live music is, by definition, interaction, not an infliction of ego-filled products by aspiring rock stars onto passive subjects. Audiences don’t usually appreciate that sort of attitude.

And now for something completely different. At 9pm, the magic surrounding every live performance of The Lovely Eggs fills the room. As soon as the smiles of singer/guitarist Holly Ross and drummer David Blackwell hit the stage, the crowd is immediately tuned with their humour and generally hippie/Lebowskian attitude. Exhibiting their usual beautiful handwritten playlists at their feet, The Eggs start their show with their hymn to averageness, ‘Ordinary People Unite’.

I only discovered this precious band recently, and as soon as I heard ‘Digital Accordion’ I  instantly felt they were the ones for me. The Lancaster duo, through their irresistible mix of making a joke of everything, lots of raw power on guitar and drums, hilarious lyrics and videos and, most importantly, an excellent ability to connect with and entertain the audience, have gained through the years a truly dedicated fan base. They enjoy being on stage and we all feel it, and I enjoy watching them on stage and hearing things like ‘I Like Birds But I Like Other Animals Too’, also part of tonight’s set list, to which the audience sings along, making Ross smile as if thinking: are they really singing that? If Kim Gordon – who was in Manchester last week – had met Holly Ross (I wish she had), perhaps she would have recharged her batteries and would have enjoyed some genuine Strongbow-filled laughs and a very lovely mix of distorted guitars and a very sweet voice.

The Lovely Eggs Photo by Francesca Nottola

The Lovely Eggs Photo by Francesca Nottola

I don’t mean to advertise a specific brand of cider, but the controversial drink plays quite a crucial role tonight, for being the main fuel of the Eggs and also the protagonist of the traditional nostalgic tale told by Ross about the good old times when people had house parties and then had to move to pubs and get plastic bottles filled with cider to deal with the sorrow.

Among other songs played tonight, ‘Do It To Me’, ‘Music’, ‘People Are Twats’, ‘Goofing Around’ and ‘I Just Want Someone To Fall In Love With’, which sees the entire audience sing along.

There is always a story about the poor mother-in-law, who is either trapped in a hotel with their baby watching soaps, or forced to insert records in sleeves (on the right side ‘because when they pull the record out it has to read Side A’!!! or roll t-shirts for the merchandising desk. ‘I cannot believe you do the merchandising yourselves’, a woman commented at a recent gig in ‘that’ London. ‘Fuck It, Yeah’, is the singing response to that, we do. ‘Fuck It’ is another Lovely Eggs evergreen played tonight that triggers strong vocal support from the audience.

Tonight we are blessed with a new single, ‘Magic Onion’, of which I now own a fashionable t-shirt.

The performance of The Lovely Eggs is extremely enjoyable both for the music and the feel-good atmosphere the couple create around them, in a non-cheesy, very Northern way. Which other band would ever talk about mushy peas and cider? I like them because they are authentic and they don’t take themselves too seriously, despite being clearly very successful and adored by audiences well beyond the Lancashire borders.

Someone from the audience requests ‘Digital Accordion’, which the band plays, making me severely happy and the crowd explode into a brief, moderate pogo.

I love the way Holly Ross throws legs and hair everywhere like a proper wild rock star and then goes back to the mic and smiles, occasionally leaving one shoe on the other side of the stage. How can anyone possibly not like their cheeky unpretentious refreshing attitude? The rest of the set list includes ‘Allergies’ and ‘Don’t Look At Me’.

Another lovely gig by The very Lovely Eggs with lots of fun involved. They seem very happy, and so are we. Well, I’d be happier if I had a ‘Fuck It’ scarf. Hopefully the band will soon reintroduce this important item in the catalogue. You can enjoy The Lovely Eggs in conversation with the Silent Radio people here.

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Francesca Nottola

I write, translate, edit texts and take pictures. I solve problems for pensioners and create problems to everyone else. Sometimes a history researcher and language tutor, I would happily live in a national archive or in the head of professional musicians. Unfortunately, I say what I think