Arthur Rigby And The Baskervylles

Arthur Rigby And The Baskervylles – Half Moon, Putney 30/07/13

Brass players are starting to disappear unexpectedly from up-and-coming bands on the London gig circuit.

If you go on their website (below) Arthur Rigby And The Baskervylles are billed as an 8-piece band to include a 3-piece horn section, and there’s no saxaphone player. Tankus The Henge, a band of whom I am more than fond, were reduced to a single horn player (from a full complement of two) the last time I saw them.

It’ll be like the disappearing bees. Not The Bees as in the band “The Bees”, although come to think of it, what DID happen to them?. I mean  the insects.

You’ll all notice it in about three years time and then it’ll be like “oh no, why didn’t we listen to Tony”.

The name of the band, according to the violinist, derives from references to singer Ben Hatfield’s heroes and influences. His grandfather was called Arthur, and Baskervylle Road in Heswall, Merseyside is where Paul McCartney bought a house for his father Jim. And the “Rigby” bit …

It’s fair to say Macca will nod approvingly on hearing these guys.

I’d heard their sound described as “chamber pop” and they do have certain similarities to the excellent Paris Motel (who should make another original album soon btw!)

If you want comparisons they have more in common with the Divine Comedy and Dexys – and the quality of the songs is more than a match for Hannon or Rowland.

They released an EP last year called Tales From Pegasus Wood, five superbly crafted songs arranged beautifully, the best being “Follow”.

Live, however, they pack far more of a punch – without ever doing anything so crass as “rocking out”. Many more successful bands could take a lesson here as to how to translate your music from the studio to the live setting. It’s not a matter of turning it up and playing louder and faster, so you lose the subtleties. Sounds obvious but it’s often ignored.

Arthur Rigby and the Baskervylles give the impression of a band who really get off on what they do, a proper team effort with seemingly no egos pushing their way to the front of the sound.

The sound helps – I hope they never play anywhere with dodgy sound as this would detract from the magic they create. The Half Moon’s sound people always do a good job in my experience, and tonight they excel themselves. It’s loud, but you can hear every instrument clearly.

There’s a minimum of chat as the first few numbers are played with nary a pause, which is most welcome. Most of the songs are new to me, but have that quality that makes you think they’re standards.

As I walk to the station my lasting memory of the gig is of the trumpet player singing along to the song during a bit where he hasn’t got anything to play.

When the band are as into the material as that, you know you’ve got a good thing going.