Euros Childs @ the Boston Arms, London 01.11.13

Legendary indie venue plays host to feelgood gig of the year

Nov 1st, 2013 at The Boston Arms, London / By Ben Wood
Euros Childs @ the Boston Arms, London 01.11.13 No-one else has had a career quite like Euros Childs. For the past 20 years – first as frontman of cult heroes Gorky's Zygotic Mynci, then as a solo artist – he has followed his muse wherever it takes him. Kick-ass 50's rock'n'roll, prog-pop odysseys, country-tinged ballads to make you weep, synth-strafed oddities... he can do the lot. But as entertaining as his albums are, the live arena is where the man really excels.

The packed music room at this old-school North London Irish pub has a whiff of the community hall about it. This feels appropriate: Euros Childs has a melodic knack to die for (his most seemingly straightforward tunes feature effortlessly smart chord changes and segues) but, both on-stage and on record, he's utterly unpretentious and wittily down-to-earth. This is a major part of his charm.

Euros certainly gets his money's worth out of his support acts tonight. Scottish 60s-esque melodicists The Wintergreen (guitar and drums) and sample-and-loop chanteuse Laura J Martin (flute) make up much of his band, with Euros up front-and centre on keys and vocals. They keep things simple but tight, and swing like a barn door in a storm.

After opening with the uptempo Welsh-language 'Bore Da', the band plays much of Euros' new album Situation Comedy, a collection of vignettes from the perspectives of various – often rather sinister – characters. These tales of madness, lust and murderous impulses seem great fun to play, with highlights including the jazzy romp 'Second Home Blues' and the positively demented 'Brides in the Bath' (don't ask...!)

For every piece of light-hearted plinky-plonk catchiness such as newie 'Ooh La Oona', there's a song to break your heart. 'Holiday From Myself' is a magnificent paradox, Euros bemoaning the fact that he's sick of the sound of his own voice, to a truly wondrous and affecting melody. 'Parents Place', from Ends, is an impossibly tender tale of retreating to the house of mum and dad with your tail between your legs, which ends on an intriguingly ambiguous note.

Always a strong live performer, tonight Euros seems positively possessed, steaming through rave-ups such as 'That's Better' and 'Roogie Boogie' with a manic intensity. Freaky ghost story 'Cavendish Hall' and proggy gem 'Like This? Then Try This' show he can pretty much do anything. The tunes keep coming, Euros' vast back catalogue jam-packed with hooks, riffs and tunes to die for. It's a masterclass in the art of the three-minute pop song.

The richly deserved encore features mega-catchy recent single 'Tete a Tete' and the deeply romantic 'Spin That Girl Around'. Then he's off, after playing another blinder. Luckily, the man's such a song machine, he'll no doubt be back within the year – and he'll be great then too.

The feelgood gig of the year.