Canadian folk blues heart throbs Timber Timbre performed their new album “Hot Dreams” at The Roadhouse in Manchester on Thursday. The crowd was the usual ageing hipster brigade dressed in the obligatory uniform of all black paired with stiflingly hot trench coats. It seemed no one was smiling, just sipping on redstripe and being generally too cool to dance. Sean Nicholas Savage’s mellow and understatedly sexy singing was a perfect support act, as it got the moody crowd limbered up, and eventually, minimal signs of sultry swaying could be seen.
As Timber Timbre finally came on stage, the atmosphere was electric. This was helped in part by the abundance of decorative electric red light bulbs dotted around the room, making me feel as if I were about to witness some unspeakable sort of dutch sex act. The stage was set with more loop pedals than I could shake a stick at, and I knew I was in for a treat. Fortunately, they did not disappoint.
The acoustics were as good as I could hope for in the small manchester basement, and the band were not lacking in the guitar, drum or keyboard department. Taylor Kirk has a unique and some what bizarre stage presence, as there were many interludes of aggressive rants at anyone seemingly using a smart phone to record him and some very intense eye contact in the direction of the younger and more attractive female members of the audience. They played an expected set, with a few of the more popular songs from previous albums intertwined with a few of their newer sexier and scarier sounds.
The sassiness of the new album did not translate entirely, and Colin Stetson’s absence meant that the performance of the single ‘Hot Dreams’ seemed a little disjointed, as the band played along side a pre-recording of his saxophone. The live performance seemed much rawer than the record, creating a stronger deep-south blues vibe with more shouts twangs and clangs and less milky undertones. As they went off stage for the first time it I was left wanting more.
The encore was imminent as everyone was very aware that the band’s most famous song ‘I Get Low’ was yet to have been played. Kirk sauntered back on alone, smoking a cigarette and started to whisper-sing in an uncomfortably erotic manner. As the song progressed the other members of the band joined one by one, until the full ensemble were present and playing with as much enthusiasm as the melancholy of the song allowed. After an intensely climatic ending, and feeling sufficiently sexualIy and musically fulfilled I went home to chain smoke and watch Twin Peaks in the dark.
Words: Natasha Smurthwaite