Before the reviewing bit of this review (it’s going to be good. It was a good gig. Here’s your spoiler: go see Gringo Star, they’re great), I want to first take a minute to talk about my hearing. Just as I’m sure you do, I like going to gigs in tiny venues where I can stand next to the speakers and watch a band’s frontman sweat drip on the floor (Nick Furgiuele should be in the running for the hardest working man in ‘show business’). However, I’m sure that you, reader, are smarter than me and remember your ear plugs.
So, while my ears are still ringing from standing right next to the speakers whilst enjoying the glorious surf-pop-blues-psychedelic-jazz-garage rock sounds of Atlanta band Gringo Star, I wanted to issue a public health warning that I wish I would start to heed: look after your ears kids, and they will look after you.
It was worth it though. Last time Gringo Star (don’t let the name fool you, there is nothing about this band that comes close to a Beatles tribute - in fact, on the whole I think they’re largely more enjoyable than the Beatles) paid a visit to their devout, unlikely fan club in Chelmsford, I was not old enough to be at the gig even though I was at the gig, and the Gringos had a few less albums and a slightly different line up. However, their live performances are still unlike any other.
The seamless changing of instruments - aside from the occasional tambourine thrown/kicked across the floor - from Josh Longino and brothers Nick and Peter Furgiuele allow for Gringo Star’s setlist to move from surf-pop summer sounds (‘Magic’ and ‘Get Closer’), to songs too melodic to be described merely as garage rock (‘All Yall’). Just to add to the mix, the bluesy undertones of ‘Ask Me Why’ sound a little bit like the theme from Rawhide. To clarify, I think this is a good thing. I watch The Blues Brothers a lot as a kid.
Gringo Star’s crowning moment last night, however, was their encore performance of No Man. As far as I know, the track found can only be found on their 2007 self-titled EP, but for those in Chelmsford who have been going to The Bassment to see these guys play for the past 10 years or so, it was a welcome surprise.
If you’ve never heard Gringo Star, I’d recommend All Yall (2008), 2011’s Count Yer Lucky Stars, if only for the eerie Esmarelda, and their new album The Sides and In Between. Above all else though, I’d recommend you go and see them play live whenever you can. No matter what you’re expecting, they will exceed expectations.
You can find Gringo Star at an excellent venue near you:
London, The Lexington, 3/2
Cardiff, Moon Club Stage, 4/2
Teesdale, The Teesdale Hotel, 5/2
Newcastle, Think Tank?, 6/2
Birmingham, Sunflower Lounge, 7/2
Brighton, Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar, 28/2
Rossendale, The Artisan, 1/3
However, if the Atlanta Falcons lose the Super Bowl on Sunday, don’t forget to offer them your deepest sympathies.