I'd seen India Electric Co before and so I jumped at the chance to catch them on the second night their recent headline tour because they're a duo that stands out from the crowd . They pack so much in and have such a variety in their songs that there seems to be more than two people on stage. Cole Stacey is the vocalist, with guitar, mandolin and stomp box whilst Joseph O'Keefe is a multi-instrumentalist on guitar, fiddle, accordion and piano. Even the piano, that most familiar of instruments, stands out as Joseph will hand mute the strings to give a different sound. Their music has an incredible precision to it where each note counts and they also have that understanding tall good duos have. Watching them move around each other on stage was fascinating.
As mentioned, the music has so many elements to it. Based on the instrument line up they sound like a folk duo, and on occasions they are, but they're so much more. "Thought Fox" is a good example of this, bringing in elements of gypsy jazz, blues, dance and even a bit of Bjork that leaves you wondering what's going to come next. On the night they followed up with "Chaos" which a more rock feel to it.
This ability to create something different is very evident in their music. "The Girl I Left Behind Me" is a well known song but they adapted it but giving it a new tune and words.
Between songs Cole has quite as acerbic wit, but delivered with such fun. Opening the second half with "Beirut" they unplugged and came off stage. Normally that's a good way of making a real connection with an audience but according to Cole they only did it because they wanted to see what it was like in the cheap seats!
In two sets they brought the audience very much with them and their set ended with not only a call for an encore, but a standing ovation. That isn't something you see often at a gig, and rightly so. It deserves to be retained as a special marker, which this was. The encore was a well received version of "Drive", but in a very stripped back version that brings the lyrics to the fore.
India Electric Co should certainly be on your list for a live show but they also have an as yet unnamed album for release in spring 2020. On this showing it will make waves and cement a growing reputation.
Tony Birch words and pics
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