Michael Hann

A perfect welcome back to live music: Sarathy Korwar at Kings Place reviewed

Plus: the pastoral post-punk of Goat Girl

When the music took flight Sarathy Korwar and his three-piece band was astounding and brilliant. Photo: Monika S Jakubowska/Kings Place

There is a reason music writers tend to stick with music writing rather than transferring their manifold talents to the business side of things. Our dirty secret is that, for all our exquisite taste, most of us — with a few exceptions — have no conception of what the rest of the world actually wants from their music. The first piece I ever wrote was a student newspaper review of a gig in a Leeds pub, in which I gushed about the headliners but noted, with a sneer, the fact that the support didn’t appear to have any actual tunes. We would be hearing no more from them, I cautioned. The headliners were a long-forgotten band called Tad. I forget what happened to the other band; their name was Nirvana.

I first saw Goat Girl a few years back, opening for an American duo called the Garden. They had just been signed by Rough Trade, the esteemed indie label, and I was persuaded to go by a couple of friends at the label. They were a little taken aback by my reaction: ‘God! Weren’t the Garden amazing! Goat Girl? Yeah, they were all right. Just another post-punk band though, really, aren’t they?’ It may not come as a complete surprise, then, to learn that two albums on, Goat Girl are one of our most highly regarded young bands, and that their second album, On All Fours, was a delight.

Listening to live music again, you notice things you took for granted: how a kick drum makes your sternum thud

And here we all were. In a room together, waiting for actual live music again, albeit early on a Saturday afternoon rather than late at night (they played two socially distanced shows, one in the evening). With gigs having been so infrequent for so long, one noticed things one took for granted — the way a particular bass frequency makes the snares rattle across an unhit drum skin in quiet moments, how a kick drum makes your sternum thud.

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