It is becoming gradually apparent that Parlour Flames enjoy playing with their audience’s expectations. The eponymous debut album of the new band of former Oasis rhythm guitarist Paul “Bonehead” Arthurs and cult Manchester-based singer-songwriter Vinny Peculiar confounded many critics and music fans alike. The “ringing” guitars of Bonehead’s former band were now largely gone, and in their place was a rich collection of soft psychedelic numbers, pastoral tunes and stripped back piano pieces.

Tonight, however, in their first Edinburgh gig, Parlour Flames rock out. Bonehead, his head hunched down, focused on the strings of his instrument, is a steady, reliable presence on guitar. Peculiar in contrast is more flamboyant. A gangling figure and one of rock’s great eccentrics, in a world of his own somewhere between Jarvis Cocker, Todd Rundgren and Vivian Stanshall, he half teeters, half slithers across the stage as he sings. They are powerfully augmented by Ollie Collins on bass and cello, Rob Steadman on keyboards and Che Beresford on drums.

From the opening ‘Get in the Van’ – an ironic choice of opening track as their tour van has picked up a parking ticket outside the venue - Parlour Flames are electrifying. They play all ten tracks from the album, but these are often far different versions from the studio sessions.

On ‘Never Heard of You’, about a long ago briefly successful rock star’s failure to talk his way onto the guest list of a night club, the central character, as a result of Peculiar’s steadily frantic stage performance, becomes increasingly sinister, while on the record he was more a figure of fun. ‘Jump the Brook Ruth’ – a mesh of gentle psychedelic hues and drones on the record – concludes, with a strong performance on cello from Collins, in a rush of distortion. On ‘Too Soon the Darkness’, about Peculiar’s uncle’s death and funeral, the full tragedy of the occasion is brought to the fore with from Peculiar a series of heart-wrenching bellows and cries.

There are two new numbers as well, both of which promise much for the future. The melodic, upbeat pop of ‘The End’ is as much, as Peculiar explains, about the beginning of something rather than the end. ‘Something Nothing’, a baggy-style festival number, meanwhile has Peculiar lolloping about the stage, hands self-mockingly punching the air.

Possibly because it is a Monday night – always the dead night of the week for concerts – and possibly because Billy Bragg is also in Edinburgh for a gig that night, Parlour Flames play to an audience that can not stretch beyond fifty or sixty at the most. Those that who are there, however, leave knowing that have seen something very special.


Set List:

Get in the Can
Manchester Rain
Lonely Girls and Horses
Sunday Afternoon
The End
Pop Music Football and Girls
Never Heard of You
Something/Nothing
I’m in a Band
Jump the Brook Ruth
Too Soon the Darkness
Broken Hearted Existentialist









Related Links:


http://www.parlourflames.com/
https://www.facebook.com/ParlourFlames/


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