Review of Nuetral Milk Hotel Gig at Roundhouse
Comebacks are ten a penny at the moment. You can’t turn on the radio without some old band making an attempt to comeback, damn there was even a whole show for the topic. A show I haven’t watched a single episode of. I mean any show that can think bringing Gareth Gates back has to be pretty bad. How long until JLS make their comeback, maybe in a McBusted type scenario with half of The Wanted. JLWanted?
Anyway, I digress. Neutral Milk Hotel is not a name that rolls off the tongues of most people, not least the average Music Eyz reader.
So 15 years on and Jeff Magnum is back. In the intervening years, his band’s second album Aeroplane Over the Sea received cult status. This was the first show back in the UK and was the first of three at Camden’s Roundhouse. Some of the revellers at this show would have been fetuses back in 1998 when it was first released. However their thirst for Nuetral Milk Hotel was unabaiting. As another side note, the Camden Roundhouse must be one of the best venues for live music at the moment. The quality of acts, the amazing crowd and the undeniable accoustics make this the venue to beat. Much better than the increasingly sterile O2 Arena.
Magnum is still a bit of an enigma. His scruffy cap and shaggy beard, suggested that a stay away, deep south trucker had entered the fray, rather than the lead of a US indie legend. As he attempted to introduce and interlude tracks, his voice suggested even more that the trucker (or vagrant) at rushed the stage. His mumblings did little to inspire confidence. Yet when he broke in to song, it was all different. Jeff Magnum was at his best.
When Magnum was joined by his band, including the full live instrumentation, the performance ascended in to a triumphant celebration. The rip roaring tunes with amazing voice instantly set the crowd alight, almost as if a gas had filled the room to force euphoria.
Magnum was at his peak as he broke the mazing musical composition of Holland,1945 and the crowd, upon invitation, sang along as one to The King of Carrot Flowers. The comeback was immense, one of those that you will remember where you were when you saw this. The comeback was made whole, particularly during his solo venture of Oh Comely and through the rousing encore of Ghost.
Jeff Magnum has finally ended his isolation. When you saw Jeff‘s beaming grin, you could be forgiven for thinking his hiatus was a plan. However 15 years is a hell of a plan. Jeff and Neutral Milk Hotel were just in awe of the reaction from the crowd. The crowd were equally in awe of the amazing show they had witnessed.