Earlies: Fleche D’Or, Paris, Thursday, January 18
Psychedelic noodling? Cavelier moustaches? Brass sections? Oh yes!
Earlies are the world’s only band formed on the axis of Texas and Burnley. Whenever they even need a rehearsal they face an 11-hour commute over the Atlantic. They sport handlebar moustaches and aren’t ashamed – they’re like The Magic Numbers with less immediate sex appeal. They make opiated psychedelic country that sounds like Gram Parsons in space, and there’s somewhere between four and a million of them onstage at any one time, playing instruments they’ve just invented.
When they released their 10 out of 10-scoring debut ‘These Were The Earlies’, they were amazingly overshadowed by the Numbers themselves. Now, you might think the world needs another psychedelic country crew like a whale needs a tightrope, but tonight (the debut performance of follow-up ‘The Enemy Chorus’) these songs prove an amazing weapon against prejudice. Standing in front of a crowd of curious Parisiens they resemble a bunch of wizards and tonight, this coven are summoning the spirit of The Beatles. ‘Foundation On Earth’ re-imagines ‘A Day In The Life’ as a mariachi swingers’ party, while ‘The Ground We Walk On’ sends Eleanor Rigby out picking mushrooms in Hansel & Gretel’s chocolate forest and ‘Little Trooper’ basically is ‘Across The Universe’. Even at their worst, they pack the venue with as much weirdo wonder as the Super Furry Animals doped up with George Harrison.
One lunchtime a few years ago NME invented a scene called ‘shroomadelica’ describing psychedelic soul bands whose dribbling magic, we reckoned, had the same transportive power as The Third Summer Of Love’s stimulants – magic mushrooms. Tonight Earlies prove to be the thrilling conclusion of this, making the crowd’s minds go gooey in ways they don’t understand, but transparently enjoy. The Numbers may have been sent packing, but the magic continues.