Review: Comet Gain at The Lexington
Published on January 14th, 2013 | Theo Gorst
David Christian, ex-Huggy Bear and current Comet Gain maestro, is somewhat dismissive of his band’s impact and recurrent themes while talking to the crowd in between songs. He humours the capacity crowd by listing his obsessions: old 45s, social inadequacy and idolising indie-rock stars through posters. It’s as if Christian himself is unaware of how much his band means; he can self-deprecatingly cast off the importance of his lyrics, yet when playing his songs there’s no such flippancy. What’s obvious is how much Comet Gain not only mean to their front man, but also to the crowd.
Throughout the band’s hour-long set calls are made for “The Fists in the Pocket”, and Christian abates regularly before offering a joyous rendition to end the set proper. Before the track is played, one fan declares to Christian his unadulterated love for and long-term devotion to the band, and having got the front man’s attention asks him to play “something he feels in his heart”. Christian and the crowd laugh, but beneath this there’s a pertinent sincerity to the words; after all, Comet Gain spoke of believing “in obsolete things and passionate hearts”, made their “records from [their] hearts to yours”.
The band was formed in awe of bands like Buzzcocks, Orange Juice and Dexys Midnight Runners, and continues from one decade into the next as a love letter to art. Christian sings with such rare honesty that his voice is often hoarse with conviction throughout the show, and it’s disarming to witness this convinction be reciprocated by an unusually reverential London crowd. Uncool as it may seem, it encapsulates what Comet Gain are about: “Believing in art, Believing in yourself”.
The band have released numerous records, yet a commercial impact remains elusive. This both helps sustain the band’s image of swimming against the tide and also ensures an intimacy to shows, yet it also seems completely unjust in light of the songs – new and old – that they play. The aforementioned “The Fists in the Pocket” is sandwiched between “You Can Hide Your Love Forever” (one of the best pop songs of the last decade) and a re-worked “Herbert Hunke Prt 2”. The latter is extended beyond its 4 minutes and 2 seconds on record, and encompasses a new verse where a character’s isolation is emphasised before it’s asserted that he or she belongs within their songs, belongs at their show.
This is Christian singing something from his heart, and when the crowd rapturously respond they are doing likewise. All those in the Lexington – be they band or crowd – believe in art, and most importantly believe in Comet Gain. Commercial acceptance is secondary, loving a band is principal and its value is shown.
Rocksucker says: Four and a Half Quails out of Five!