Parlour Flames at The Joiners on Saturday 13th October by Sam Skilton
On entering The Joiners the door staff always seem to ask which of the night’s bands you have come to see – it’s the sort of quirk which you come to expect from a classic small music venue. A quick glance at the tally suggests that most have turned up to see Parlour Flames.
Rewind 18 and a half years. It’s 1994 and the life of a certain Mancunian called Paul Arthurs is about to spiral out of control. Better known as ‘Bonehead’, Arthurs plays rhythm guitar in a band which is all set to take the country by storm – Oasis.
Return to 2012, and having been part of arguably the biggest band in the country over the last two decades, it is somewhat surreal to see the guitarist stroll onto the stage and spend 20 minutes helping to set up his new band’s equipment before they can begin playing. Parlour Flames is the latest of Bonehead’s projects since he left Oasis in 1997 to concentrate on his family life, and it sees him link up with his friend Vinny Peculiar to form a band which he describes as, “psychedelic-based art-rock”.
By the time the headliners take to the stage, Southampton band The Docks have warmed the crowd up nicely with a set of stomping guitar anthems, reminiscent of the ones which made Bonehead’s first band so popular in the mid-90s.
Peculiar certainly lives up to his name. The frontman is an unusual but intriguing character who somewhat resembles Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker, both in appearance and personality. His lyrics match his eccentricity, but they are wonderfully poetic in addressing familiar concepts such as the ‘Manchester Rain’, ‘Sunday Afternoon’ and ‘Pop Music, Football and Girls’ – or as Peculiar puts it, “hockey, classical music and boys as it could be for you”. ‘I’m In A Band’ particularly strikes a chord with Bulletproof Donkey, the second support act who have mingled into a crowd which Peculiar is more than happy to interact with.
At times it is almost possible to forget that Bonehead is seemingly effortlessly providing the melody to the songs. Then a booming Oasis-eqsue guitar riff brings the attention right back to the man whom most came to see in the first place.
You may have already come to a verdict on Parlour Flames, and they may not be to everybody’s taste, but they are certainly intriguing. If that alone is not good reason to see them live, then the chance to meet Bonehead surely is.
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