Venue: The Labour Club (Website)
Event: Masters of Budvar
Location: 95-97 Charles St Northampton England NN1 3BG
Our headliner - and this is a bit of a coup for us - is Ramon de Juan. Raised in Benidorm's infamous nightclub district, Ramon moved to the UK during the eighties, where he became involved in the electro scene and developed an irrational fondness for Adam and the Ants. Later, inspired by the Stone Roses and Throwing Muses, Ramon picked up a guitar and started writing songs.
Today he plays hypnotically beautiful music with shimmering, clean guitars and atmospheric keyboard washes. Signed to the painfully cool Fishsoup Records (run by Bic Hayes, the "other" Pet Shop Boys guitarist), Ramon has recently completed his first album with ace producer Choque Hosein of Black Star Liner at the controls. For fans of modern European songwriting and ambient chill-out alike.
For a sneak preview, try to imagine a blissed-out Curtis E. Johnson crossed with the most extravagantly melancholic moments of early Roxy Music; it might give you a bit of a headache, but you won't be far off the mark. Gorgeous, at any rate, and worth seeing before the Meeja get ahold of him and drive him up out of our price range!
Supporting Ramon will be Northampton's own Spittle Rattle. SpitRat mainman Michael Holloway is a veteran of the wild scene down at Slurps in the nineties and is widely admired around town as a master of cracked folk-blues ballads. He has also played in Germany, Switzerland and France. Accompanying himself on guitar and backed up by Paul Williams (Ubu Swirl) on bass, he delivers a set of depth, intensity and granite-black gallows humour. Fans of Jeff Buckley, Nick Cave, PJ Harvey, Nick Drake, the Velvets and Spiritualised should make this a date. As should you.
Opening the bill is Pat Fish (The Jazz Butcher/Wilson) continuing his bizarre project of revising his back catalogue in a psychedelic karaoke style. Something like an older version of Simple Kid - without the charm, but with more software and a busload of larcenous beats. With each and every one of his Masters of Budvar sets specially and exclusively devised for that night only, a couple of ill-advised cover versions do tend to turn up during programming, so expect big dumb songs and big dumb surprises.
And there it is. Entry is free. The first act will be on at about 9:00 o'clock. We have cheap beer, pretty lights and a lovely PA. For we are Masters of Budvar, doing it for love.
Excerpts from a review of Ramon de Juan's first EP written by Sam Saunders, Leeds Music Scene It is an exquisite piece of work.
It's so much more than just mood music. Soft and emotionally fragile might not be your thing. But you have to stand back and admit the guy can write and perform a song that tells a delicate story. You'd burst yourself with joy if you could sing such a song to your loved one.
There are some distant FX guitar touches and the lightest of electronic suggestions. It fades deliciously away, leaving a nostalgic and lonesome feeling as piano notes fall like gentle touches of silk. It is beautiful.
It isn't rock and roll, but it could save your love life.
Four and a half stars