Monday, 8 February 2010

Muso Mondays - David Devant and His Spirit Wife

So this is going to be a new weekly thing of mine, muso mondays, where i shall bore you with ludicrous ravings about my favourite bands/songs/singers and so on. Usually this will come on a monday (simply because of the alliteration) but i was busy earlier this week, so today will have to suffice for the first one. I like the idea of setting certain blog themes to days of the week because it will give me some sort of structure so if i'm being lazy it will hopefully make me blog out of an obligation to myself :P
Anyway just so you know these are just my opinions, i certainly don't have the worlds coolest taste in music and i don't particularly know much about it (the compulsive music classes i had until age 15 didn't take a hold in my brain) i just know what i like and why i like it. here's a very generalised list of musical genres i like: 70s british punk rock, old school hip-hop and rap, brit pop, bubblegum pop, glam rock and most stuff from the 80s. I tend to dislike modern pop, r n b, classical, reggae and christian rock.


So, lets get going on the first post!



On thursday i got to see my second favourite band in the whole world*, David Devant and his Spirit Wife. By some bizarre series of events i have become friends with 2 members of the band, Foz? and Mikey (this would be shameless namedropping, but i can't imagine anyone reading this blog has ever heard of them. I could be wrong, but i doubt it) which has led to some really odd adventures.

Anyway, how best to describe David Devant? Hmm i guess on the surface they'd be classed as an 'indie-pop' band, if that can exist, or possibly just Brit-pop seeing as they were most prolific around the big Brit-pop boom, but they are so much more than that.

The band have been going since the early 90s (i think, i can't be bothered to do anything crazy like actually checking my facts) and while they never hit 'the big time' they did get a large and loyal following and very nearly broke into the charts after the success of their first album. They play rarely now, twice a year at the most, but these gigs are always amazing and bring out all of us loyal fans, the dangerously devoted.

Originally they were sort of a 'novelty act', not in a crappy kids-entertainer or joke-song sort of way, but in that they actually had a novel, original idea. They were sort of a 'concept band' and had amazing stageshows, involving 2 men with props, or 'spectral roadies' as they were called who would perform magic tricks or other stunts, the most famous being during the song 'ginger' when one would grate carrots onto the head of the other to literally become a 'carrot top'. The band were made up of 'The Colonel', 'Professor Rimschott', 'The Vessel' and 'Foz?'. The idea was that David Devant (a victorian english magician) would possess 'Vessel' (or Mikey, the main singer) and... well i've never been really sure how the others in the band or the stage antics fitted into this concept, i guess it's not very neat, it's just all an expression of individuality, art and magic that culminates together. Sadly these on-stage shenanigans were mostly dropped by the second album, though a more perfomative side is sneaking back in to the more recent shows, and i've heard rumours of something big coming soon.


In this video you can see some of the old tricks the Spectral Roadies would get up to. Also anyone as nerdy and into films as me may recognise the suit, once worn by Malcolm McDowell in O Lucky Man!:


Onto the music itself. Well, this is the part i'm going to have the most trouble with, describing music is incredibly difficult to me. It's sort of Beatles-ish, sort of Bowie-ish, poppy and fun, lots of keyboards, guitars and good drumming. The lyrics (ah, now i can go on about lyrics for ever and ever) are just fabulous. While they tend to keep to sort of regular themes of songs, love, life, the human condition etc. the actual words and spirit of the songs is a lot more playful. Recurring themes would be mis-rhymes ('Living in London don't seem that appealing, maybe your lover is living in Deptford', 'And my Uncle says i'm Barmy cause i don't pack my bags and join the Navy'), the supernatural and hopeless love. Early songs tended to revolve as lot more around stories about David Devant and the aformentioned wife.

One of my favourite tracks is 'I Think About You', a song which is purely about lust, lust of such overwhelming power that you're left unable to think of anything else at all. It also has some great references to masturbation (something that often occurs in my favourite songs. I wonder what that says about me O:) and even manages to make a nob joke out of a medal 'Oooh ahh in the garden with my famous purple heart on', 'When i think about you i do something i am not supposed to!', excellent.

Another song of note would be 'I'm not even going to try', the words of this speak deeply to my heart: 'I hope tha you understand what it means to me just to live a lovely life that is prospect free. Cause i'm not even going to try'

There most famous track would be 'Ginger', which Mikey said was meant to be a sort of war cry for outsiders (a bit like Mis-shapes by Pulp or Trash by Suede, those songs were big at the time) but using red hair as an analogy for an innate 'difference'


So in short i think they're an amazing band. I can't exactly say in words just why i love them so much, they just have a sort of magic around them and i guess that I, like Madame Devant am drawn in to these miraculous showmen. They certainly won't be for everyone, but if you like witty lyrics, men old enough to know better prancing around stage in glittery costumes and 3D glasses and indie-pop-art-brit-rock then give them a try :)

Also they have a song about Cluedo.

*although this is liable to change at any time, but number one is always the amazing, unimitatable, unforgettable Sparks. I'm sure i will bore you about them for many muso mondays to come..

5 comments:

  1. I never comment as I'm super dooper shy and usually don't feel as though I have anything interesting to say but I'm so excited to see this post. I had no idea that they were still together and I love their music so much. I seen them a long time ago (over ten years) in King Tuts as my friends band were playing with them and I adored them, it was and still is the most original and amazing gig I have been to. I bought their cheese grater T-shirt that night and could not be parted from it (it's still living up my mum's loft somewhere) and then went straight out and bought Work Lovelife Miscellaneous as soon as I got paid and have pretty much listened to it every day since, which for me is unusal as I'm very fickle when it comes to music. Every one I make listen to them loves them too but a CD is nowhere close to seeing them live, so I hope they play Glasgow again sometime so I can drag everyone to see them.
    Anyway what I'm trying to say is apart from having a great blog, being extremely beautiful, creative and talented, you also have wonderful taste in music. Sorry for the huge comment, this post just made me happy. Lorraine

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  2. Lorraine:
    Wow, i was name dropping after all!
    Hi, it's lovely to hear from you, i'm incredibly shy too (i have social phobia) but i've actually found writing a blog is helping me a little, i hope you'll comment again :)
    It's always great to hear from another Devant fan! I'm so jealous you got to see them back in there heyday, i was really little and didn't hear of them until about 2005. I'm also desperate for a cheese grater shirt, i might have to ask Foz if he has any (apparently he's got tonnes of unsold singles and stuff in his shed XD)
    In the last few years they've only really played in Brighton, London and places just outside the two i'm afraid. But i've heard the boys discussing something called 'This Rough Magic' they're hoping to do, which will be a sort of gig/performance harkening out to the old days, so if it does happen you should try and come on holiday down here for a few days!
    Also mikey now has a solo project, aptly named Mr. Solo and is a glam rock group with Eddie Argos from Art Brut and Foz is in a sort of caberet duo. Here are some links:
    http://www.myspace.com/mistersolo
    http://www.myspace.com/paranoiddogbark
    http://www.myspace.com/fostergilvan
    also here is my non-makeup-related youtube channel, which has a lot of devant videos including their art film and some documentaries, i thought you might be interested:
    http://www.youtube.com/fiddlefaddle
    please do try and comment again if you can, it was lovely to hear from you.
    xxx

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