The Dowling Poole/Paul Miro - Birmingham, The Asylum 2 - 17th September 2014 Print E-mail
Written by Rich Hobson   
Wednesday, 08 October 2014 03:00

The Dowling Poole 1


Do you wake up tired on a morning? Are you listless, corpsing from room to room, surfing channel to channel hoping to find the next great band that just aren't out there on the seas of British radio? Do you really hate Nicki Fucking Minaj? Fear not, Uber Popper! The vocal cerebus of all things good, The Dowling Poole, releasers of that most mighty collection of psychedelic-rock-pop that is ‘Bleak Strategies’ have taken their musical genius to the road in an attempt to wash away the grey skies that threaten as the heavens grow dark to prepare for the *shudder* battle for Christmas Number 1 - and damn it if they didn't deliver!


Talentless warble crock this isn’t! The Dowling Poole are here to prove that not only can they crack out a fantastic album, but they can give you one of the best nights out on the rock scene at the moment too. Returning to the scene of their “pledge-exclusive” special gig from all the way back in July, The Asylum 2 in the back end of Industrial Birmingham plays host to the evening's proceedings; a stripped back acoustic event to ease us into their genteel genius, bedlamite batshit and snazzy spectacle, where the sun shines bright and the music just can't get any better.


Thus it is that we trundle over to Madhouse Studios (The Asylum's downstairs section) to gander at the varied Rock memorabilia adorning the walls (donated by many bands who have rehearsed, demoed and recorded there), complete with a wall-mounted drum skin of The Wildhearts circa Poole, signed by the absurd genius himself. Memorabilia nerdism aside, The Asylum's upstairs is a brilliant little rock 'n' roll hole for the gathering of the great and good this evening; an intimate knees up with everything a grown boy could need.


Opening up tonight's proceedings is Paul Miro - he of Apes, Pigs and Spacemen fame - proffering up a one man and his guitar set, spanning the 20 odd years Mr. Miro has been dancing atop the sabre pit of the music industry. You don't last that long if you don't have a great back catalogue of songs, stories and stage-presence to draw upon, and Miro is a brilliant mix of talent, chattiness and warm humour to set the tone for the rest of the evening, appearing from outside the ether of my personal musical knowledge and demanding a few hour sessions on YouTube when I get home.


The Dowling Poole 2


Then it's time for the main event; the Big Kahuna, the total blowout. The band are nowhere to be seen, and rumours of Mr. Poole refusing to take to the stage unless the whole crowd strip to their birthday suits and adorn giant rubber phalluses turn out to be a fabrication (though, when dealing with 'Random' Jon Poole anything is to be expected!), especially seeing as Jon has been chatting away to fans in the most amicable of ways for the better part of the evening at the bar (though, as should be expected by this point, he does insist that we do "drink my wee"; you were warned!). Dancing onto the stage adorned in golden Greek-style theatric masks (Jon captured on film as a vague blur with a happy face, and Mr. Dowling captured wearing the mask of tragedy), The Dowling Poole are a band with both an ear for a great tune and an eye to theatrics, at once being a band for the people without losing anything of their panache for the flash. Tucking straight in for a hearty meal of fantastic sing-alongs and sub dermal dance grooves, the band kick off with the pledge extra exclusive track ‘The Straw Man’, the whispered tales of nefarious deeds at the BBC put to song, the mighty trio start off as they mean to go on; with aplomb, massive choral sections and wit that will take you back to school.


Tonight's affair is brought to us by the masters of musical manipulation, Willie, Jon and Givvi providing the best vocal harmonics this side of well, you name it; Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles... the list could go on forever, suffice it to say that theirs is a harmonious relationship, one that draws on the richest and best of pop, psych and rock and filters it all through a series of genius sieves to distill pure class. The band are a perfect balance; Jon's eccentricities play wickedly against Mr. Dowling as the misanthropic straight man, bantering off yin and yang all evening, with Givvi silently presiding over as the face of consummate professionalism throughout, a level counterbalance to the swinging scales of humour onstage.


And humour is in plentiful supply tonight, the acoustic format giving the songs (and performers) plenty of breathing space to let their personalities shine as they swing through a selection of brilliant ditties from the ‘Bleak Strategies’ album alongside some more choice cuts from the respective performers' back catalogues. Highlights? Damn near every single tune from ‘Bleak Strategies’ burns bright, already sounding full, fresh and seasoned after just two outings on the live circuit. ‘Kiss On The Ocean’, ‘Sun Is Mine’, ‘Saving It All For A Saturday’ and ‘Hey Stranger’ are already staples of the band's live set and it's no hard task to figure out why; bouncy, lyrically rich and filled to the brim with audience-choral potential, the Strategies album translates perfectly onto the stage, helped along in no small part thanks to the warm reception this Wednesday evening crowd provide for every song.


Outside of the Dowling Poole's own songs, the band offer up a few choice cuts from their respective discographies; Jackdaw4 get a look in, with ‘Why Don't You Come And See Me When She's Not Around?’ closing the set, as well as ‘This Is Your Life’ being given a bountiful blast of vocal potency by the ever talented Givvi Flynn, who also takes up leading vocal duties on the track ‘Clean’. And for the Jon Poole obsessive clique out there, a couple of God Damn Whores tracks get an airing, with a notable acoustic version of ‘Unemployment Man’ from the Whores first album, as well as ‘Mundane And Beautiful’ from the brilliantly deranged ‘Heya-Heya-Heya-Heya-Ho!’ also getting stage time; what else could you ask for?


The Dowling Poole 3


This tour has proved to be a warm and close-knit kind of affair, stripping a full band down to the bare bones of Jon Poole and Givvi Flynn on guitar and vocals, with Willie Dowling providing keyboards and vocals. This of course means some of the more “out there” sections of the songs are simplified; however the marrow of the songs remain strong and pure, more emphasis being put onto the intrinsic character of the songs - character being something they (both songs and band) have in spades.


If you missed out on this tour you should, rightly, feel like an utter tit, but fear ye not as the rumblings in the soil are that this is the band's beginning, and whilst this may have been a 3 headed affair a full tour could yet be in the works for next year, ready to infect the public en masse with their brand of a magnificent pop-rock epidemic. As BTO famously said “Gotta work for our fortune and fame, success is a ladder, take one step at a time, and The People Will Remember Your Name.” Actually, that first one goes without saying. It's more likely the other one that will ring truest; coz We Ain't Seen Nothing Yet!


To pick up your copy of 'Bleak Strategies' - CLICK HERE