Disorganised as ever, and making my way to a gig straight after a typical Monday at work, I strolled out of the Barbican’s tube station with nothing more than a vague recollection of the name of the road I was supposed to locate and walk down. I promptly walked down it, but, with confidence in my judgement down to Owais Shah proportions, I turned round and walked down all the other roads as well.

Remarkably, despite this series of detours, I was at the venue earlier than I had planned to be, and was loitering there for ten minutes or so even before anyone set up a ticket operation at the door. When someone did set up, they had still yet to be handed the guestlist names, so I had a bit longer to wait.

Now, I’m not at heart a stingy person, but when a band gets in touch and asks if I fancy popping down and seeing them perform without having to pay, I’m hardly like to turn the thing down. So while the first paying punters shuffle towards the door, I hang around looking conspicuous. But with no need to panic, because the man behind the music of Idiot Son, Andy Thompson, is not hard to spot. Sure enough, a man with thick-rimmed glasses and a Morrissey quiff promptly appears and ushers me inside.

The Slaughtered Lamb offers the people who run the Electro Acoustic Club there something a little bit rare - actually something that can justifiably call itself a club. Cosy, in a word. There are armchairs and sofas and the performing area is not so much of a stage; just the bit where those amongst the attendees who’ve bothered to turn up with instruments plonk themselves. Chestnuts aren’t roasting on an open fire, or anything like that, but if they had been, I probably wouldn’t have even blinked.

A good venue, then, for the music of Idiot Son, whose songs tend towards the cosier end of the musical spectrum. Their album, ‘Lummox’ (2004), is one of those that floats around gently in the background - but with enough spark to keep the ears pricked. The combination of strings and light guitar jangles sometimes manage to make some songs seem sad, while on other occasions, they seem to be bathing the sadness of the lyrics in something a little more uplifting.

Alas, Idiot Son are not hardy giggers. Andy Thompson writes most of his songs explicitly about London, and its not hard to see why - he never goes anywhere else. For those of you less inclined to buzz around the metropolis, you may never get to see him sing. Indeed, even those of us who do live here don’t get to do it often. This is the Idiot Son’s first public outing since they opened up proceedings at one of our band nights in 2007.

In all honesty, I didn’t expect there ever to be another gig. I doubt whether there were many other people in an audience actually waiting for headline act Cortney Tidwell, genuinely waiting for one either, and it seemed as if Idiot Son activity had ceased entirely. But, watching them play, it seemed as if they hadn’t been away.

Granted, there was one slight teething problem, when Andy realised that he didn’t know what he had done with his guitar pick. But listening to the familiar sounds of ‘The Daily Grind’ and ‘Emily, I Have A Plan’ didn’t give the impression of a band that had been on a two-year hiatus. Furthermore, there were new songs that sounded even better than those recorded in the past, with slightly more adventurous melodies and strident arrangements.

Andy sometimes strikes an apologetic tone on stage, in typical British fashion, apologetic for having written such good songs. But he is left in no doubt that his songs are appreciated. Indeed, I hear several of those people clearly waiting for the headliners comment favourably. It was a little strange, standing in a room listening to songs which I know backwards, remembering every word from an album that Pennyblackmusic editor John Clarkson made his album of the year back in 2004, when no one else there appeared to know them from Adam. But I still had fun.

Idiot Son will hopefully finish off this promised new album, and maybe they’ll even drop in to play live a little bit more often than once every two years. If they do, you should come along too.

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Commenting On: Slaughtered Lamb, London, 6/4/2009 - Idiot Son

ie London, England

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18394 Posted By: andy (idiot) (London, funnily enough)

Thank you Ben, thank you John, thank you pennyblackmusic. We are, as ever, indebted to your goodselves. Thanks for listening and continuing to.
andy (idiot)

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