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August 6, 2007 | by  | in Music | [ssba]

The Clientele with support from Robert Scott

Tuesday night was drizzly and miserable, and who better to get cosy with than The Clientele. With support from Dunedin legend Bob Scott (the Clean, the Bats), these four lovely Londoners provided a warm mixture of mellow, wafting pop tunes and the occasional bout of harder rock noise, delighting the modest (hey, it was a Tuesday) San Francisco Bathhouse audience.

Scott delivered a solid acoustic opening set, running through a few newer songs, but drawing mostly from older material. The lucky Bats fans present in the crowd were treated to a glimpse of material from their soon-to-be-recorded album, which was especially nice. Clientele keyboardist/violinist Mel Draisey joined him for a few tracks at the end of his set, adding a tasteful veneer of violin to the songs. Closing with the sparkling ‘Horizon’ from the Bats’ most recent album, At the National Grid, Bob aptly showed why he’s so deserving of his status as one of our more revered musicians, performing with quiet confidence and sure skill. His taste in hats is also excellent.

Opening with the gorgeous ‘Since K Got Over Me’, the Clientele quickly and quietly wooed the crowd with their charming pop sensibilities. From there on they ran through a few tracks from their earlier recorded efforts, before focusing on material from their last album, God Save the Clientele. A lot of their songs tend to be predominantly rather hushed and quiet, and as a result the band occasionally appeared to be somewhat tired on stage. Singer/guitarist Alasdair MacLean even openly apologised for appearing to be bored early on in the set.

This fairly mellow approach made it all the more fantastic to hear some of their harder numbers, such as the marvellous ‘Bookshop Casanova’, and ‘The Garden At Night’, during which the band took the well-deserved opportunity to throw off their pop shackles and, to use a worn phrase, rock out. During these brief periods, the band became less of a subdued, Byrdsian pop group and truly revealed their penchant for raging solos and volume in general.

All in all, the band performed a great set, winning the admiration of those in attendance. Although they’re probably used to bigger crowds at home, the Wellington audience proved to be responsive and appreciative, making them feel right at home here on the other side of the world.


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