LIVE REVIEW: April Smith and The Great Picture Show and Tunng @ Bootleg Theatre 11/19

November 22. 2010 | By Trina Starke

Tunng (photo from Big Tent Festival) photographer: Alan Lord Hagos Haggarty

Like every city LA has pockets of seedy areas which one would rather not find themselves on a drizzly Friday night. Eclectic venue Bootleg Theatre is in one of these areas located on Beverly Boulevard (don’t be fooled, this ain’t the Hills). But with its plywood walls, concrete floor, illuminated “COCKTAILS” sign and room capacity for about 150 it warmed this LA street corner on this particular Friday night due to the musical stylings of April Smith and The Great Picture Show and Tunng (Full Time Hobby).

Accompanied by a ukulele, upright bass, drums, accordion, and keyboard all of which comprise The Great Picture Show, April Smith blew her cabaret pipes performing originals including “Colors”, “Terrible Things” (from Weeds) as well as U2 cover “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”. I first saw the ragtime-esque group when they opened for Fanfarlo in early 2010. The charming vintage-pop band is equally as delightful now as they were eight months back.

Underneath the warm lighting of the Bootleg Theatre, London band, Tunng delighted the crowd of wine-sipping thirty-somethings with silly robot-like dancing and whispery-falsetto harmonies performing various tracks off their most recent folktronic-pop album … And Then We Saw Land. While vocalists Mike Lindsay (guitar) and Becky Jacobs (keys, melodica) flickered about the front of the stage my attention was invariably drawn to the whimsical percussionist, Martin Smith. As his bare-feet jangled bells dangling from twine, his hands sashayed from shakers to chimes to shells. Mid-way through their performance of “By Dusk They Were In The City” an out-of-character Lindsay donned a pair of absurdly large glittery sunglasses and ripped into an electric guitar channeling Mick Mars from Motley Crew to which the LA audience burst with laughter. Tunng is a comically adorable band with a great spirit and beautiful sounds.

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