Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Stairs - Mexican R'n'B

The weed bus takes us on a wiggy ride out of London, accompanied by the rustlings of Rizla and the popping of beer caps. We watch the dopey mess that is Help on the telly, and when we stagger off the charabanc we're properly pie-eyed and disoriented. Just about ready for planet Liddypool.
OK, so this may be an exceptional night at the (replica) Cavern, but it gives you some kind of crash course in the stuff that's both great and lacking in the music of this city. You realise just how schooled the bands are, so attentive and finicky about the tones and details that characterise beat music and early prog-rock. They're complete fans. What isn't so healthy is the way this can become so obsessive, how introverted and out-of-it the whole scene can be.
Anyway, The Stairs represent the better end of all this. They bounce around and give the impression that they're having an terrific time. Ged Lynn is a little waif of a bloke, but he goes into twang frenzy from the start, while another guy who looks like Eric Idle in tne Rutles twats his tambourine and then Edgar opens his enormous gob and produces a mass of growling, gut-bucket effects. The Stairs are fun.
I guess it was a mistake to do a set of covers before the 'real' show. It was a revelation to see them biffing out 'Over, Under, Sideways Down' - squint a little and see Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck shaking it with the Yardbirds in '66. But presently you get The Stairs' own songs, and you find that they're not so hugely different. 'Weed Bus' and 'Take No Notice...' have funny, spliff-suckin' storylines, but they sound like the other old things, and they haven't yet got the beauty in their writing - like The La's have - to transcend this.
The Stairs are good, but a wait-and-see band, deffo. They need some kind of perspective. Maybe - with all due respect - they should get out more. -[Stuart Bailie] New Musical Express

Listen:  Part 1  and Part 2 

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