Autumn arrived with the post the morning I took delivery of my
much-anticipated John Lewis furry hot water bottle. But even the
allure of a cosy hot water bottle-filled night of tea and
television wouldn't stop me going out. I'm not what you'd call rock
and roll. I just love Little Fish.
Two summers ago I went to see Blondie play Kenwood. Impatient for
the main act I was prepared to write off the warm up band. Then I
heard Little Fish. Their raw sound and charismatic front woman,
Juju, were a revelation. Deborah Harry had seen them open for
Courtney Love and was so impressed that she invited them to tour
with Blondie. When I met Juju again at Deborah's birthday party I
didn't initially recognise her. She seemed slighter than the force
of nature that I had seen on stage.
Friends and community are important to Little Fish. It's something
you can tell when you meet them, or attend one of their gigs. There
is a closeness to their fans. They like making things; music of
course, but tonight Juju is also selling apple juice made from her
garden. They bake, they make comic books, paper art and their
latest venture is writing a book that charts the ups and downs of
the music industry with Unbound. There is nothing manufactured
about them, everything is handmade and personal. Perhaps that's why
north London music venue Barfly is full on a Monday night, and
everyone is full of love for this band.
They've tasted success. Linda Perry heard their music and flew to
Oxford to hear them play. They were signed to Custard Records and
recorded Baffled and Beat in Los Angeles. But the road hasn't
always been easy.This year they left Custard to pursue an
independent career, and most recently Nez the drummer has left the
band because he has a family to support.
Tonight marked a new chapter in the Little Fish story and the
launch of their new single Wonderful. Like the song, the vibe at
Barfly is optimistic. The band invited their friend George to read
poetry - probably a first for Barfly. They were supported by their
friends Black Casino and The Ghost, another great female fronted
band. This is not not a traditional gig but then Little Fish are
not a 'traditional' band; who else would have a friend play the saw
through one of their songs?
Even though she's recovering from a cold Juju's trademark scream
is still present for the climax of Umbilical Cord. The sexy rasp
only goes to make Morning Call even better. Ben is a really
accomplished musician and his harmonica interventions create a
really great bluesy-sound and a different but relaxed feeling to
this set. An accoustic version of Heroin Dance from their Baffled
and Beat album is amazingly haunting, but it's the anthemic new
folk song The End of the World which steals the show for me. The
much awaited Wonderful is a really feel good uplifiting song, and
special because it refers to a time when Juju lost her voice for
three years and was told she would never sing again. Only a game
and the encore Darling Dear both get the crowd singing along before
it's time to head home once more in awe of their talent.
Later, at home, tea in hand, I read the comic book that
accompanies their new song. The last page reads, "They headed into
the dawn of a new beginning, and it was going to be wonderful." I
really hope that's true.
Little Fish's new single, Wonderful, is now available
from the band's website click
You can vote for their book at Unbound click
The band play Oxford Truck Store this Saturday, 15