Broadway, the hole buried in the depths of Hammersmith’s Clarendon Hotel, is not an ideal place to witness any spectacular. Tacky gothic sketches on the walls, limited space on and around the stage, and dangerously dodgy amplification mixed with an unsympathetic sound engineer, make for one of London’s lesser-appreciated venues.
These downfalls affect Goddog, a quartet comprising sax, keyboard, guitars and drums, who will be remembered for their percussionist Plume’s headware if not for her snappy style of singing. A red beret and eight or nine jerky tunes make a pleasant change from the norm who support in this dimly-lit pit.
FOHSimon Huw Jones, the voice in the forest, wanted to be lit by projections, while the remaining three were covered with colour. No room was the verdict; creativity crushed they’ve even begun. They make do with what’s available, opening quietly with “So this is silence” and immediately complaining that the voice is too silent, the bass to loud and the overall sound too muffled. By their third, the sound is corrected and the music compelling. Justin manipulating his guitar with an effort that out-ranged the most complex synthesized sound, engulfing the small gathering with emotion, embroidering the music with effects. Steven Burrow’s bass and Nick Havas’ drumming work as the catalyst, harnessing the sound to full effect.
They whisk through their set from the fast, moving “Twilights pool” and “Midnight garden”, to the relaxed melodies of “Wallpaper dying” and “Talk without words”, thriving on the atmosphere, radiant amongst the mass. Throughout Justin swaps from an electric lead guitar to an amplified acoustic, using six-effects pedals and nimble strumming to create raging crescendos and subtle overflowing rhythms. The emotions are changing from hot to cold, building the image that erupts with each scream.
I’ve heard tell they compare these Trees with The Cure, a crippling misconception, arasing from a support slut that should have prompted, not hindered, their widespread acceptance. I reckon they’re closer to heaven, but to confirm the commonplace law, that a hack should always categorise, I’ll say they’re closer to Wham! Take it as Gospel.