Elder Fawn, Andrew Warner & Elena Cau @ Bierkeller
The diminutive frame of Elena Cau takes the stage, picks up the pink Fender Squire that stands there beneath the glaring lights and begins to pick out a slow, haunting melody that weaves it's way gently into your ear canal. Evoking images of ghostly Victorian age cafés and long, absinthe soaked dreams, her melodies carry you into the ether. It's an entrancing and spellbinding performance – unmarred by whichever idiot set the fire-alarm off during the first number.
Andrew Warner, by contrast, is a far more upbeat musician. A talented singer/songwriter, he too takes the stage with just an acoustic guitar for company. Starting with a cover of Britney Spears Womaniser, which sounds a shit prospect on paper, but is given an interesting lease of life when performed in this way. You can polish a turd then.
In fact there are a few covers tonight including a rousing version of Steve Miller's Abracadabra for us oldies, but it's Warner's own material that shines through. Bringing to mind The Arctic Monkeys with a twist of solo Ian Brown, he delivers slice of life lyrics that have a comical quality while succinctly nailing what life must be like for a twenty-something.
It's well worth leaving your shell to check this chap out and if you do venture out I urge you to pick up a copy of his EP Tales of a Twenty-Something. The songs are given new life with the added instrumentation and all of it is performed by Warner himself. Told you he was talented! Git.
Elder Fawn are a stark contrast to the rest of this evenings performers. A Manchester noisy bastard 3-piece from just down t'road plug in and suddenly it's all in your face, early 90's Sub-Pop era, off-kilter noise all the way. Imagine Red Fang jamming with Bleach era Nirvana in your living room. If you don't kick them out onto the street then this just may be the noise for you.
In-spite of the restrictions of a venue like the Bierkeller, and lets face it this venue is really for the 'trendies' that normally mob the Printworks at weekends, these young lads play with a fire and intensity that in any other venue would get the punters fired up and the sweat flowing. Here, however, some of the drinkers aren't quite sure what it is that's knocking shit of their ears. This is a good thing.
Vocalist Luke Gallagher has a decent shouty growl to howl style and pounds the bejeezus out of an eye-catching silver-sparkle finish Gretsch, dancing on pedals that send the overdrive into space also evoking an interesting tremolo effect for the intro to Lost in Translation.
Their set betrays their influences with a smattering of covers from the likes of Biffy Clyro, Red Fang and Nirvana with a tremendous version of Foo Figher's My Hero thrown in. This band needs to be seen in a more appreciative environment, heaving with students and sweat dripping walls but this is rock 'n' roll folks! Not every gig is the dream gig and nights like this build character. What doesn't kill you………….
Elder Fawn play FAC251 on the 21st August as support to ApexUK. Go.
Words: Paul Cooke