News of Jane Weaver’s tour caused a rush of excitement and a raise of the eyebrow in the Woolley commune, I have been a massive fan of her work since hearing her 2007 Cherlokalate album, but the Hare and Hounds? I expected a jasmine scented outdoor amphitheatre with Jane entering the stage as the Summer daylight fades into starlit illumination and not the upstairs of a pub on the outskirts of Brum on a pissing down November Wednesday. However, the Hare &Hounds credentials are embedded in the Midland’s music scene as a no frills full-time venue for both up and coming and the established; only few days earlier the wonderful Algiers had encouraged the crowd to test out the floorboards.
So we grabbed drinks in the downstairs bar, got our hands stamped in case we needed more and joined the packed out audience. To anyone unfamiliar with Jane’s work I suggest you go listen to some as it’s a bugger to describe. I once told my wife ‘Imagine Vashti Bunyan singing over psych-induced electronica.’ and she quite rightly threatened to stuff a thesaurus up my ample arse. Quite simply, Jane has been following her own unique path since splitting with her first band; Kill Laura which had morphed briefly into Misty Dixon before starting a fully fledged solo career.
Listening to the folky vocals layered over material that ranges from EDM, Krautrock to electro-psych you could expect a waif-like lead singer festooned in paisley and silk scarves dancing in front of bearded technoheads. What you do get however is a 3 piece of drums, guitarist and Jane in a big fuck-off dress singing, handling keyboards, guitar or all three.
The live sound is beefier too with most of the songs coming from 2014’s Silver Globe and her excellent new album Modern Kosmology, an album that will no doubt feature in 60 Minutes With review of the year’s top 10 releases (actually I know it will as I’m writing it. Steve W).
‘Did You See Butterflies’ has the crowd moving as does ‘Slow Motion’ which later builds into a harder version of the Architect. We get the sublime Argent and her vocal distorts on Don’t Take My Soul, but by then she has the crowd totally won over and no one cares. The set finishes with I Need a Connection and the crowd parts as she walks through them to the dressing rooms and everyone represses the urge to follow her to see what she will do next.
Review by Steve (co-host of 60 Minutes With)