Situated in the bohemian Bedminster suburb of Bristol, a compact El Rincon is the perfect venue for Davey Woodward to unfurl his twisted tales and astute social observations that go beyond even the B-roads of everyday relationships. Part Bob Dylan, part Leonard Cohen and even part Robert Forster, Woodward serves up his songs with just his trusty acoustic guitar but to beguiling effect. He even finishes his set with a playful ditty about the confusion between two yellow substances - custard and mustard which puts him briefly in Jonathan Richman or Jens Lekman territory.

After a short break Woodward returns with his group the Experimental Pop Band. The intimacy of the venue dictates that regular drummer Mark Bradley is surplus to requirements but the band's visuals guy, Mark Pope, does a fine job as a makeshift percussionist. The set is drawn mainly from their stunning current LP, 'Vertigo', with the stripped down arrangement adding an interesting twist. Songs like 'Can You Feel The Heat?', 'Soapstar' and 'Little Things' perfectly highlight the strength of 'Vertigo', while older tracks like 'Jodie' and 'Boutique in My Backyard' (a 'Melody Maker' single of the week way back in 1996!) highlight the strength of the band's impressive back-catalogue.

They even road test a clutch of new numbers such as the ultra catchy 'Aliens' in which Woodward asks "Is there anybody out there? 'The Girl in the Hoops' and the closing Beach Boys-indebted 'California'. A fourth unreleased track that has been knocking about their live shows for the last couple years, 'Sunshine', also makes a welcome appearance and surely won't remain unreleased for too much longer.

There's even time for swirling encore of '40 Greatest Hits' that morphes into a loose jam of 'Blue Boy' as the licensing curfew is reached. El Rincon may be small but tonight the packed few witnessed a band very much at the height of their powers.

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