Friday, 14 March 2008

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, Charlie’s, Thursday 13th March 2008

There are some bands whose musical direction you can accurately garner from their name. The curiously monikered Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, as you’ve probably guessed, isn’t a jangles and joy, twee indie pop band, members crowding the stage with as many instruments as they’ve been able to find and dancing with happiness at being alive.

Some names, on the other hand, set mental alarm bells ringing - yet another band with ’The’ prefixed to their name, or anything involving the word ’Project’ or ’Outfit’ tagged on at the end. Despite their terrible name on both counts - none of them are even called Rosie - and being an unlikely support act for Owen Ashworth’s one man and his keyboard routine, young Leeds group The Rosie Taylor Project remind us that equally insightful, uplifting music can arise both from solitary flashes of genius and being surrounded by a bevy of like minded friends.

For anyone with a pre-existing propensity to loneliness, the sensory overload of a Chinatown karaoke bar is likely to exacerbate the feeling of being socially overwhelmed. The hallucinogenic combination of unsubtle incense, mirrors and disco balls, intrusive, clashing coloured lights, and heckling, interpretative dancing scallies, is enough to make anyone want to become a hermit. When he reluctantly shuffles onstage at Charlie’s, cup of tea in hand, telling us he’s really ill and that it’s the least he’s ever wanted to play a gig ever, Casiotone is not so much alone as surrounded by his own scared image peering back at him from a multitude of reflective surfaces.

Hugging the microphone close to him and distancing himself from us with a fuzz of defiant sound, Casiotone’s world weary voice somehow manages to sound like all of us modern city inhabitants, and our inner fears, at once.