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The Butterflies of Love/ The Chemistry Experiment @ The Portland Arms, Cambridge

(20th September 2002)

Itís hard work introducing yourself to bands sometimes. I only put myself through it because of the songs.

Hello, Iím Jimmy Possession. "Oh! Wow! Youíre Jimmy Possession! Nice to meet you at last! Iíve got to go to the toilet!"

Ah.

Hello, Iím Jimmy Possession. "Really? Ha Ha! Youíre not as old as I thought youíd be!"

Hmm.

Hello, Iím Jimmy Possession. "Hey, man! Oh, Robots fanzine. Hey that was a great interview we did. Hey, we love that zine. Itís the best. What was your name again?"

Ach.

Yes, itís hard work. People youíve conversed with over the email are suddenly real, and in a band, and with a big gang of mates, and looking a whole lot cooler than you. You have to wait til theyíve played so you know who they are in a pub (half) full of scruffy buggers. But straight off stage is not the most coherent time which is why the last reaction, the latest reaction, is also the best reaction.

Hello, Iím Jimmy Possession. "Sure, howís it going Jim?"

Daniel Greene is in focus. Heís also pleased with his performance, with his dancing especially. His best move is the one where he gingerly balances on his left leg and cautiously sticks his right foot out in front of him. Itís a slow-motion manoeuvre, but then nothing happens quickly in the Butterfly world. The songs slowly uncurl and embrace as guitars ring out chiming, classic, classy chords and the words flit and float, drawled in that these-are-important-but-man-is-it-ever-hard-to-get-them-out way that American bands so casually pull. The Butterflies of Love rattle through a short set of short songs, short on their singles, to an audience some way short of capacity and a long way short of being Butterflies fans but shortly to become so. Jeff Greene is not short. He is also not in focus ("What was your name again?") but he got it together long enough to close with the most magnificent self-endorsement and people queued to buy records full of his and Danielís songs.

The Chemistry Experiment were more British about the whole thing; self-deprecating and less direct. Warming up for the Butterflies they played musical chairs with musical instruments (and they probably play musical instruments with musical chairs if the glorious confusion of their The Giraffe Album is anything to go by.) They are surely the only band in the world with a strap-on xylophone. Emily ("Iíve got to go to the toilet") plays it. Steve ("Youíre not as old as I thought youíd be") sings and the rest of the band take the piss at every opportunity. Songs are all over the place. Joy Division meets Disco? Country music wrapped in a thick blanket? David Gedge and a flute? Songs about Postmen? Songs about Stevie Wonder? Present, correct and wonderfully dazed.

I chat and drink and then make my way towards the door and home. "Hey, hadn't you used to be Jimmy Possession?"

At least there's always the songs.

[This review previously appeared in Careless Talk Costs Lives]


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