Live Review: Skipping Girl Vinegar with The Good Ship @ The Troubadour, 18th July 2009.

By: Will Alexander
Support band The Good Ship are, as their name suggests, a pirate themed band with a sense of humour.

On stage from left to right there’s an accordionist in a puffy white shirt reminiscent of a Seinfeld episode, a violinist with eye patch, admiral’s cap and a fake bird teetering halfway down his back, 3 guitarists, a bassist, a drummer and the one female member doing back-up vocals. Yes, if ever a band looked like a bunch of pirates with a few ounces of fashion sense, or a group of extras from a pirate’s of the Caribbean set, this was it.

The music was fun, melodic in layers and full of vocal harmonies. The energy from the stage easily transferred itself into the crowd. As the end of the set approached, the band played ‘The Last song of the Night’ (second last) and one of the guitarists picked up a mandolin and stalked into the crowd, reaching as far back as the bar and giving the whole tune a R.E.M. sort of feel – blending old world accordion, a traditional Irish-like violin sound and that timeless aussie shearing-shed kind of sing along music from the guitars and drums. This soulful and complex sound culminated in the final track ‘Don’t kiss me with your lips, use your penis’ which lyrically was about as funny as its title suggests. This track, as promised by the lead singer definitely had a Rockabilly hoe-down drive, which coupled with the onstage antics ended up feeling quite genuine.

Next it was time for the feature act Skipping Girl Vinegar who had well doused the stage in cut outs of woodland critters, and lead singer Mark Lang standing in front of his squirrel microphone seemed to be singing through smiles for the first few songs.

Musically, their songs had a depth, melody and resonance that complimented the sentiments in the lyrics, all laid out in tight progression by a band obviously no strangers to their art.

The full band had a great energy that continued until the 5th darker ballad style song ‘Slow Steady hands’ when the keyboardist Amanthi and bassist Sare left the stage and just Mark and Chris (drums) remained. The pair played some new songs Mark had written on the road recently. Acoustically they sounded great. The acoustic songs lead back into fuller band animation, occasionally broken up by Mark’s band stories. The sing along started up again (“Karaoke that’s cool” – well almost) and they pulled out an old song about riding on trams called ‘Wasted’ which whipped the crowd right back into submission. Some sat, some stood and a few danced; as ‘One Chance’ made its rollicking finale I found myself warmed, glued to the experience and noted that all those around me were equally engaged. It was great to hear some new songs, leaving me a little hungry for a new album, a little hazy from the cooper’s and all in all satisfied. Great Show