David Brent & Foregone Conclusion played their first gig last night (October 14) at London’s Bloomsbury Theatre. We were there, and this is what we found out:
Ricky Gervais can really sing
Different songs were performed in different styles, from the Stones-y ‘Ooh La La’ to the rap-reggae hybrid ‘Equality Street’ and the folky ‘Lady Gypsy’. One thing was consistent: Gervais’ voice. He sings in tune, he’s got a strong tone and he didn’t forget a single lyric.
There was a special guest
Actor Ewen MacIntosh appeared as Keith Bishop from The Office to introduce the band, fumbling with a piece of paper for a painful couple of minutes before saying their name. He’s gained zero charisma in the ten years the show has been off air, which is a relief.
Foregone Conclusion are not a joke band
None of the laughs came from the players. It’s Brent at the front, the lyrics are funny(ish), but Foregone Conclusion are as slick a session group as you could find, looking like offcuts from Mumford & Sons and sundry ’00s indie bands. On drums is Andy Burrows, former Razorlight member and songwriter, who has been helping Gervais with the material.
The time Gervais spent booking gigs for Suede left an impression
Gervais used to help Suede book gigs in their early days, and passed the band’s demo to Nude Records. His affection for Suede was apparent in his performance of the song ‘Slough’, in which he took on many of singer Brett Anderson’s affectations and vocal ticks. The song itself – recently covered by Toro Y Moi – celebrates Brent’s beloved hometown. “And you know just where you’ll be heading, it’s equidistant ‘tween London and Reading,” says one lyric.
They need more material
Even with 20 minutes of warm-up from rapper-turned-stand-up Doc Brown, the show was a neat hour in length. Gervais has already spoken about being approached by arena promoters interested in staging his Brent gigs, but at the current length, the show wouldn’t cut it. Fans had no need to be disappointed though – it was billed as a Work In Progress.
Brent needs to speak more
Beforehand, it wasn’t quite clear what format the show would take. A safe bet would have been: part comedy show, part gig. In reality, it was mostly gig: Brent barely said more than a throwaway line between each song, meaning there was little else beyond performances of songs from YouTube series Learn To Play Guitar With David Brent. His asides were, nevertheless, funny – not least when he was comparing his relationship with rapper Dom Johnson (Doc Brown again) to that of Chris Martin and Jay Z.
He didn’t do the dance
You know the one. And the audience were so well behaved, no-one even asked for it.