Live Review: Blonde Louis with Monaco Bears and Camus and the Cat at Letchworth Plinston Hall – 25th November 2011

By on Friday, 9th December 2011 at 4:00 pm

I rounded out my last night of holiday in London with a show that was outside of London – Letchworth Garden City, to be exact. What was I doing out there? Seeing Blonde Louis. If you recall, I wrote about them as one of the Bands to Watch in summer 2010. Fast forward through the end of November 2011, which saw the band playing a Christmas show (er, one month early) in their hometown. I’ll be honest, it felt a little weird being the oldest person at the gig, save anyone’s mums and dads who also happened to be in attendance. But I can tell this was totally worth it. If Smash Hits still existed, I think these guys would have no trouble getting on the cover. (This is not to say they are just a bunch of pretty faces, as you will read later…)

There were two opening acts for the night. The first, Monaco Bears, are not from Monaco but Hitchin. (Figure that one out.) I don’t know enough about the band to suss whether the pint-sized, leather-clad, ginger-headed guitarist was telling the truth when he said their lead singer was poorly and his brother was filling in, but if that were really the case, the replacement did pretty well. The beats and melodies are pretty good for a very young band (Maccabees?); they’ll need to work a bit harder though if they want to make a dent in the crowded indie market. The vocals reminded me of disaffected Blink-182 or Weezer and I heard potential in there, I just think they need to get older and need to work on things a bit more. ‘IOU’ and ‘Publicity’, their closing track’, were the best of the bunch.

Camus and the Cat were next. I wish I knew who the frontman was – their Facebook says their members are “Camus, the cat and all their friends”. Hmm. Anyway, my impression was that he screamed out Jack Johnson who, for some of you, is probably right up your alley and you’d love this. (They even have a song called ‘To the Sea’, which was a little confusing to say the least.) Instead of existentialism in the music (colour me disappointed), the sound of this band is very loose: not necessarily surfer dude but quite sunny. An multi-instrumentalist that played trumpet and xylophone, among other things, made their set-up a bit more interesting (more Fanfarlo?) than your standard guitars/drums line-up. But what made more of an impression to this jaded gig-goer were his obnoxious fans who shoved their way to the front and pushed the devoted Blonde Louis fans, who had been present long before the show started, out of the way, and I groaned when I saw little girls just crushed. Maybe this is common in Letchworth but if you ever made those kinds of moves in Washington, prepare for retaliation. Considering the age of the fans, I didn’t think this was nice or fair; whoever you are, it’s just poor form.

But to all this mostly young female audience, it was Blonde Louis they’d come out this Friday night for. Oh dear. It’s been so long since your faithful editor has been in the thick of the teenybopper crowd – I mean, we’re talking the Backstreet Boys and N’Sync era – so I stayed well enough back to observe things from a good distance. Shouting, screaming, pogo-ing: this was all par for the course. The Christmas theme was extended by a nice set of twinkly lights around drummer Jack Cox’s drum kit and the amps scattered on the stage. And the applause when the band finally got onstage was deafening. I’d been trying to video bands’ hit songs on this gig holiday in England but I was unsuccessful for Blonde Louis because there was no way I was going to get a clear shot of ‘Midnight Kiss’ or ‘Sleep on the Floor’; too many arms in the air, too much shoving in the dancing, too much jumping around.

Which is not a bad thing at all. It’s pretty awe-inspiring watching a band you first heard of via email ages ago just kill it in front of a hometown audience. What I do have are less known but equally as good ‘California’ and lead singer Josh Clarke letting the rest of the band take a break and despite being lonely, he performed a pretty cool medley of their song ‘If You See James’ (b-side to ‘Sleep on the Floor’) along with two songs that don’t really fit Blonde Louis’s genre but worked rather admirably. Watch both below. So I’ve heard on the down low that the band are planning to head out to America next year. Fingers crossed. If they do, it’d just be the next step to worldwide success, which I think the band have every chance of if they keep soldiering on and gaining fans wherever they go.



After the cut: more photos and set list.

Monaco Bears Photos:

Blonde Louis Set List:
When the Lights Go Out
Midnight Kiss
Jump in the Fire
Sleep on the Floor
Better with Him
No One Like You
If You See James (solo acoustic by Josh Clarke with Kings of Leon and Katy Perry cover snippets)

Blonde Louis Photos:

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3 Responses

7:33 am
14th December 2011

WOOP!! Blonde Louis are going places!! 🙂 xx

10:40 am
30th January 2013

hahaha just found this again! Nice review! (Our singer WAS ill and that was indeed his older brother singing for us) x

7:07 pm
30th January 2013

talk about taking one for the team! 🙂

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