TRCH Dracula

Live Music Review: Fuzzbox at The Chameleon

9 February 18 words: Gav Squires
photos: Gav Squires

Following the release of his critically acclaimed album Pictures, Movies & Apartments late last year, Montreal's Paul Jacobs brings his tour to Nottingham as part of I'm Not From London's Fuzzbox night.

Those Howlin Sounds Chameleon

Those Howlin' Sounds

Last time I saw Those Howlin' Sounds, there were four of them but this time it's just frontman Alex Strongman. They have a song called Forgotten Me - I hope that the rest of the band haven't forgotten him! Set opener 2p Philosophy has a lovely bit of spring reverb on the guitar, giving it a '60s surf rock feel. The main touchstone though is the modern lo-fi garage rock of Ty Segall et al. It's all very good but it's just a little bit clean - back in the '60s, garage rock band The Sonics took ice picks to their amps to give their music a dirty, overdriven sound and a bit of that wouldn't go amiss.

Unqualified Nurse Band Chameleon

Unqualified Nurse Band

With Unqualified Nurse Band, the overdrive pedal is depressed right from the off giving their opener We Are Sparta FC a lovely scuzzier sound than Those Howlin' Sounds. They're also a much heavier band but there's a really interesting use of effects pedals that give the songs an unexpected depth of sound. Hold On To It is one of two new songs that get played that should be coming out pretty soon. Penultimate song, What Do People Talk About requests "tell me the last great film you saw" - hmm, probably Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

Paul Jacobs Chameleon

Paul Jacobs

Right from the beginning of his set, Canadian Paul Jacobs is exciting and visceral, constantly beating him tambourine against his chest, hip, wrist or the floor. The band are crazy tight having been on tour in Europe for the last month and the keyboardist/percussionist playing the tom and electronic drum pad with her maracas sounds incredible. While there is obviously the sound of modern garage in the vein of Ty and Oh Sees (we still call them Thee Oh Sees in my house) there's a definite psych element here too - Born In A Zoo has an almost delicate, psychedelic sound, making it the best song that The Flaming Lips never wrote. It could be the passionate and energetic performance but I also detected a little Ezra Furman in there too, especially in the fourth song - Paul Jacobs is definitely a perpetual motion person, he doesn't stop moving throughout the entire show. The whole show is incredibly frantic with hardly any breaks in between the songs. With absolutely no offence to The Chameleon, which is a great venue, Paul Jacobs should be playing to a packed-out Rescue Rooms at the very least - this is an amazing performance that more people should be seeing. It's a real lesson in how to put on a garage rock show - it's probably the best act that I've seen in the last year of going to Fuzzbox.

I'm Not From London website

Tell us what you think