Ladybird at Fusion Cafe, Seattle | 29 March 2008
Coming from France by way of New Zealand, Ladybird have landed on the shores of the United States and are in the midst of a tour that started in San Diego and will take them all the way to New England and end in Quebec. Quite an amazing feat for a band that is literally unknown by just about everyone. No kidding, I walked up the steps of the Y to pin-drop silence. There were a few people milling around, but no signs of a show going on. I popped my head in a door and ask if I was in the right place. Ben Funkhouser, the 15 year old kid that puts on the shows at Fusion tells me that I am indeed in the right place. He says they’re just waiting for some people to show up to start. He offered me a chair and a snack in the meantime. So while I’m waiting I wandered into the main room (conference room) and ran into Ladybird which is only two people, soon to be four. When they hit Chicago their drummer and tambourine player will be joining them for the rest of the tour. So while we’re waiting for people to show up I talked a little with the them about how a French guy ends up in New Zealand meets his hero Martin Phillips of the Chills on the streets, and gets Kay Woodward of the Bats/Minisnap to play on his record. I guess the answer to all of those questions is the same as the answer to why are they touring in country where no one has any idea who they are? You have to start somewhere, and when you start, it’s amazing the stuff that happens.
The Flying Nun connection is a no-brainer, their sound has a poppy ramshackle kind feel. It’s easy to think that they are the long lost French relatives of the Clean. They are steeped in a mid-80’s DIY sound, that reaches from New Zealand to Scotland and the Vaselines and Pastels both of which they sing odes to on their album Love Will Conquer All. Live last night, playing with only half their band, they sounded charming with acoustic guitar and cello. The cello went a long way in filling out the sound, but really their charm overpowered the meager sound system and the night was won. Between songs they even sheepishly asked if anyone had a floor to sleep, and got the drummer from one of the other bands on the bill to play on a couple including Oh You Know. The set was short, eight songs, six from the record and a couple new ones, but the small audience was totally into it, and most of us bought their CD after.
I had not heard of Ladybird until I read Fire Escape Talking Friday afternoon, I guess it was fortuitous that they were in town the next night. If you’re reading this, they may be in your town tomorrow. If that’s the case you should go see them, amazing stuff could happen. If not amazing, at the very least you will be charmed by this little band and their songs.
Here are the rest of the dates for the North America tour:
Apr 2 Missoula Free Bike Missoula, Montana
Apr 6 Echo Base Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Apr 10 Swing State Lake Villa, IL, Illinois
Apr 11 The DAAC w/ Redbear GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan
Apr 12 The Castaway CHICAGO, Illinois
Apr 13 The Empty Bottle w/ Reddelicious Chicago, Illinois
Apr 14 HELP CHICAGO, Illinois
Apr 16 The Bear’s place w/ Indiana Beach BLOOMINGTON, Indiana
Apr 17 Luna Music at 6PM!!! Indianapolis, Indiana
Apr 22 TBC MORGANTOWN, West Virginia
Apr 23 The Lilypad PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania
Apr 26 The Barracks JERSEY CITY, New Jersey
Apr 27 TBC Trenton, New Jersey
May 4 TBC NORTHAMPTON, Massachusetts
May 5 AS220 PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island
May 7 L’Escogriffe w/ El Boy Die Montreal, Quebec