Photography: Sam Rowlands / samrowlandsphoto.com

THE LEMON TWIGS

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  • Goat Girl
Harvest Sun @ District 3/12/16

As District starts to fill in anticipation for THE LEMON TWIGS, support band GOAT GIRL emerge and mill about on the stage for a bit, nudging and smiling knowingly at each other, before taking their places and launching into the surly venomous blast that is Scum, with the killer post-Brexit line “how can an entire nation be so fucking thick?” The band, communicating as a unit through knowing nods and glances, deliver Country Sleaze, Scum’s double A-side, letting its acerbic lyrics “I’m disgusted, I’m ashamed of this so-called human race,” do the talking. They regard the audience with a cool confidence and steady cynical eye throughout, almost like we’re not meant to be there. It will be interesting to see how that approach holds up in shows as the band gets bigger, because they will.

The Lemon Twigs are a peculiar set up, former geek child actors, turning to music full-time once their voices broke and no longer slotted tidily into the Nickelodeon business model. Brian D’Addario takes the vocal lead for the first third of the set, the more melodic laid back of the two, with younger brother Michael hidden in amongst the drum kit (one that seems far too big for him). With his Gram Parsons fringe hanging over his eyes, Brian settles behind the safety of the keyboard. New song Why Didn’t You Say That? is a bright delight of tune, a kiss of the summer sun on a dark cold December night. And the single These Words sounds terrific, because, how can it not?

When it’s Michael’s turn to come up front, (him in the glam satin kecks in all the press shots), we’re more than a little bit gutted to see that he’s in mere polo shirt and jeans. But, we get over our disappointment soon enough. Michael’s the performer, the rock star of the duo, he scissor kicks, jumps and back flips like he’s just learned how to do both for the very first time, and wants everyone to see. There’s a cockiness to him; swigging from his water bottle and lashing it on the stage floor, fat splashes of water going everywhere. He’s beyond cute.

More new songs are debuted tonight, including Queen Of My School, from an EP due out early this year. The comparisons to Big Star are of course obvious, and Alex Chilton’s All Of The Time gets the right treatment tonight; and when Michael notices there’s a guy wearing a Big Star t-shirt in the audience, he asks him to come to the front so he can see.

It’s my belief that drum solos should never have been invented in the first place, but the D’Addarios are fans of the concept, Michael indulging himself for longer than he should. When Brian takes up the sticks, he does a drum solo as well, only not for as long. For that, he has our gratitude.

The thing with The Lemon Twigs is, try to resist as much as you can, but, harmonised melodic pop, whether it leans heavily on the music of Todd Rundgren, Big Star and their peers from forty years gone, or not, still holds a magic. The D’Addario brothers are an intriguing and seductive combination. With pop music, there doesn’t have to be a reason why it pulls you in; it just does. And that is that.

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