JOSEPH ARTHUR- Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh 17/11/2007

Joseph Arthur is alleged to be off his tits this evening. As are his band "The Lonely Astronauts". Well, at least the blonde guitarist, who, although being very talented on her instrument of choice, makes the mistake of opening her mouth in the first song and drowning it in rather ungodly vocals. Thankfully, for the rest of the set, she seems too distracted by the lighting than to make the same mistake again. Phew. Stage left is an annoying bassist whose toothpaste smile starts to defer towards "happy clappy" after a while. The other guitarist is, joyfully enough, stunning. I focus on him for the rest of the set, although he seems to have something going on with the blonde. Drat.

Joseph Arthur doesn't speak much to his audience, but when he does, it's often extremely interesting. The highlight of the set comprises him humming into the microphone, a deep growl, then encouraging us all to do the same. For a couple of minutes. Did I mention he was off his tits? A weird kind of charisma emanates from him as he plays a two-hour collection of harmonic alt-rock, much of which is extremely uplifting. From New York, perhaps his best known song is "In the sun" (I think it was featured on a perfume advert or something), an emotional homage to mistakes made, as much of his songs are (taking on almost religious undertones if not for the drug use) or sweet little lovely anthems which, although featuring not the best lyrics in the music world ("You would call/I'd call you back/And then I'd leave a message on your answering machine": Honey and the Moon) are very endearing and totally cute. The band goes into a lengthy, trippy song towards the end of their show, as we go into a trance. It's what you could call an "experience". And definitely one you should try yourself.

Anna C

Thanks to Lauren for being lovely and getting us into the show.

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