Electric Soft Parade: Live Reviews + New Shows


Tour Diary 2011 Part 1: Places: Edinburgh, Falmouth, Eel Pie Island, Manchester + Newcastle.

Better Looking Records: “live psych jam for Silent To The Dark by The Electric Soft Parade in London”

Oxford Academy, 28th Oct: chrisblizzardphoto.com Click link for Photos: “I’m glad the silence was better than the booing they’d had previously. I guess most people were waiting to see what they sounded like. Turns out, they sounded pretty good, and judging from the audience reaction, everyone else thought so too”

Hammersmith Apollo, 29th Oct: dailystar.co.uk Supporting a big rock star is no mean feat but for The Electric Soft Parade it was a walk in the park. The Brighton gang opened for Noel Gallagher and made waves with tracks from jangly EP A Quick One. With steaming melodies and powerhouse harmonies, ESP sounded more like ELO. The White Brothers (Alex and Thomas) shared vocal duties on Number One and waltzed their way through a cover of Elvis Presley’s If I Can Dream. It’s no surprise Noel’s taken a shine to the five-piece. ESP’s tour continues across the UK this month.

Liquid Room, Edinburgh, 30th Oct: musosguide.com Pleasingly though The Electric Soft Parade were just launching into ‘Empty At The End’ when I wandered through the door so it was a welcome surprise to discover they’re back in this incarnation and that Brakes haven’t become the White brothers’ sole concern (not of course that there’s anything wrong with Brakes). Live the band at times came across like Joe Jackson doing his thing but they have a cosy and inoffensive sound all their own still for all that, with new song ‘Number 1’ fitting well into their canon. Unfortunately their first time back in the city since 2003 was brought to a rather abrupt end mid-anecdote, due no doubt to time concerns, but for what they got the punters were thankful.

Lily at Edinburgh by TheBrokenlizzard on Youtube

Masque Theatre, Liverpool, 31st Oct: link2wales.co.uk Before you could say Electric Soft Parade they were on. Now I’ve seen the name chucked about for years, and always had them down as a Delerium Records type psychedelic mushroom smoking band – maybe I’m confusing them with Poisoned Electrik Head or everyone’s Dads favourite ELO. They have been swimming around the under currents for ten years or so without ever having really broke the surface – and maybe tonight’s set goes a bit of the way to explain as their style swaggers from soft pop to hypnotic rock and back again – from sounding like The Strokes to Squeeze playing The Beatles to something leagues ahead – the penultimate tune (the long one) that jumped from riff to superb riff taking you to that Poisoned Electric place I had wrongly anticipated.

liverpoolmusic.com The night started with a warm up from the Brighton pysch-pop band, Electric Soft Parade who have just returned to music from a two year break, and have jumped straight back into things by releasing “A Quick One EP” whilst touring the UK with British Sea Power. Their sound is somewhat of a mish-mash of Britpop they clearly were inspired by the bands emerging in the early 1990s like Oasis, The Stone Roses and Pulp, nonetheless they have crafted their own sound out of these influences.

Concorde 2, Brighton, 1st Nov: theargus.co.uk If, in 2001, you’d been forced to choose which of these Brighton-based bands would be headlining Concorde 2 in ten years’ time, the clever money would have been on Electric Soft Parade. As it was, they soon clocked-up daytime radio support, Top Of The Pops appearances and a Mercury Music Prize nomination before fading away, while British Sea Power have steadily gathered widespread critical acclaim, a dedicated fan base and ongoing success. It was a bit of a surprise, then, that it was Electric Soft Parade who seemed to be having more fun. Here, amid the brotherly banter that flowed between Tom and Alex White, they reeled-off a classy collection of snappy and bouncy pop treats, played with passion and panache. From the fizz of Start Again to the fuzzy harmonies of Silent To The Dark, they played with the energy and enthusiasm of a new band, not one which was foolishly dropped by the mainstream music business.

Performance Centre, Falmouth, 2nd Nov: Review for Source FM On the 2nd of November 2011 University College Falmouth’s Performance Centre played host to Electric Soft Parade in the small yet and intimate Studio K. After a lively set from support act The Little Leagues the band took to the stage.

The audience intimacy did not seem to faze the band, with singer Alex White commenting “You’re small but perfectly formed”. Emphasis was placed on the band and their musical talent, as lighting did not overshadow and the stage acted as merely a platform for their instruments. The multi-instrumental band were casually suited and booted and seemed confident and comfortable on stage, often interacting with the audience. They smoothly transitioned through their catalogue and played catchy crowd-pleasers such as ‘Start Again’ and ‘Empty At The End’ from their 2002 album Holes In The Wall, as well as their more recent material such as ‘If That’s The Case Then I Don’t Know’ from their 2007 album No Need Be Downhearted.

I felt immersed in the performance as the band played, as I could feel every note, due to the vibration from the amps pulsating through every inch of my body. I would describe the bands style as a psych-pop hybrid of The Beach Boys, The Feeling, The Foo Fighters, with long instrumentals to rival Coldplay, Pink Floyd and Muse appealing to a wide range of tastes. What I loved about the performance was that audience could see that the band were talented musicians and really felt the emotion of each song they played; whether it was one of their own or their take on an Elvis Presley classic ‘If I Can Dream’…They certainly brought a new meaning to Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Deaf Institute, Manchester, 4th Nov: highvoltage.org.uk (click link for full review) Returning to the live fold after a three-year absence, any nerves ESP’s Tom and Alex White may have vanish after they blast through ‘Start Again’ and the perfect slice of pop that is ‘Empty at the End’. The band’s sound is heavier here than on their recordings, where the jangle of acoustic guitar often features, but this is all part of the fun. After all, ESP are a little different to the ‘artists’ usually appearing on the circuit.

For example, they engage in banter, swear, laugh at themselves when they mistime a count-in, and call each other ‘Chief’. At the outset Alex admits that he has a sore throat, before shamelessly popping a lozenge. Cricket jumper-wearing, thick-rimmed glasses territory this ain’t.

ESP’s strength lies in their ability to pull together a variety of indie influences, doing what they do with breezy charm and, yes, guitar solos. The activity on stage as the multi-instrumentalist White brothers switch roles lends energy to the performance. During ‘Silent to the Dark’ Alex picks up sticks and improvises on the toms as Damo Waters, his live drummer, keeps the beat. Clearly confident when jamming out, you get the impression this is how many of ESP’s songs began life.

I would have loved to have heard ‘Why Do You Try So Hard to Hate Me?’ from Holes in the Wall, which doesn’t make it into tonight’s set, but we do get a brilliantly noisy ‘If That’s the Case, Then I Don’t Know’ from No Need to Be Downhearted. The weather outside is filthy, but on this wet Bonfire Night weekend, ‘Lily’ and ‘Red Balloon for Me’ round things out neatly before Tom White sends the fans home happy with the promise that a new ESP album is on its way.

the-fly.co.uk The streamers hanging from the curtains above the stage give tonight’s show an air of a ticker-tape parade. Appropriate considering this is the first tour the Brighton brothers, plus band, have embarked on in more than two years. Fresh from supporting Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, at considerably larger venues than tonight, Electric Soft Parade are a little older, and in some cases a little balder, but time has done little to curb their enthusiasm.

After shuffling on stage with a few nervous smiles, all tension slips away as the band cuts into a bracing blast of a new song. There’s plenty of room at a half-full Deaf Institute on a rainy evening for what is essentially a chance to try some fresh material and get on the road again. But those who chose to stay at home miss a joyful display from a band clearly relishing being back on stage.

The White brothers jostle around, giving each other playful kicks and shoves as they showcase new songs and b-sides. There’s a ramshackle aura about the performance, with false starts and a few missed beats, which only adds to the intimate atmosphere of witnessing the rebirth of a once-great band. At times tonight, ESP display the jauntiness of The Beatles at their most whimsical mixed with ‘Is This It’-era The Strokes. Alex White expresses his disbelief that almost a decade has passed since he released debut album ‘Holes In The Wall’. However, ‘Empty At The End’, ‘Start Again’ and particularly ‘Silent To The Dark’ sound as fresh and relevant as ever – the latter including its traditional extended wig out. Songs from the underrated ‘American Adventure’ are just as good, with their tales of ordinary sadness. Welcome back, then, Electric Soft Parade, a ticker-tape parade on bonfire weekend is no less than you deserve.

Newcastle Academy, 10th Nov: Click here for Photos

Manchester Apollo, 26th Oct: by kavita41 on Flickr Electric Soft Parade - Manchester Apollo