Mr. Kyps, Poole

It’s always something special when a show on a Thursday night has the same buzz to it as a Friday night, and tonight, the clever, monthly ‘gig for a quid’ scheme at Mr Kyps is greeted by a large crowd, especially considering that it is a working day. Polly & The Billets Doux join a list of bands including the fantastic, ‘The Rumble Strips’ who have played the same style of night, and it’s obvious why, as they have recently released their debut album, ‘Fiction, Half-Truths and Downright Lies’.

A buzzing atmosphere continues to build and eventually Coke Can Jack walk on to start the evening. Clearly a friendly band, warm smiles are shared between the band and the crowd as they break into their opening track, ‘Bourbon Eyes’ which shows off a charming, mellow sound with a soulful twist. They show no nerves as their vocals immediately connect with their instrumentals and harmonize with each other perfectly. Gradually the band showcase more upbeat songs as the increasingly popular Cajun drum thumps along with my heart beat as the long hair of their percussionist, bounces with the rhythm. Songs like ‘Get Better’ highlight the positive approach the band takes with their song writing and with reverb soaked solos, there is a very uplifting feeling achieved from their set.

After a mesmerizing set from Coke Can Jack, a completely different band strolled on stage in the form of Mountain Feet. As they play their first song, I am stunned by how different they sound compared to how they look. They seem like a grunge rock band from a first glance, but once they break into song, they flood my mind with classic rock vibes. There are certainly factors of the countryside in their music and a clear following flood the front of the stage. Their front man has a fascinating voice, which compliments their country vibe as they hit progressive chords and harmonize vocally to generate a warm feeling to the room. With the crowd starting to move (slightly), their guitarist fuses a harmonica solo into their set which has the crowd in a state of ecstasy. Sadly, their use of the harmonica later in their set seemed to slow down the momentum of their set, but there is no doubt that Dorset will not see many bands quite like this one.

The room waits in anticipation as Polly & The Billet Doux open with a soft, folk fuelled sound which instantly seems charming and inviting. Polly and her band (except their drummer) harmonize their vocals to perfection, which sends a strange feeling through me, probing the evidence to why they are such a highly considered upcoming band. As their set continues, they manage to switch styles and reveal a rock ‘n’ roll side to their songs; yet continue to harmonize beautifully despite more detailed patterns building. There are many unique factors to the band, including the use of a double bass, which only adds to the folk fuelled nature to their music. They also show their multiple talents as their double bass player switches instruments between songs, to show clear ability on the bass and even on acoustic guitar during the soulful track, ‘I Would Ask’ in which he even sang on his own to expose his vocal strengths.

The highlight of the evening had to be the bands final song, which was a cover of, ‘House or the Rising Sun’, in a completely different style to the original. Through their own twists, they managed to fuse two guitar solos into the song with Polly playing their guitarists part while he let rip on a long harmonica solo between guitar solos. With the crowd shouting for more, the venue allowed Polly to return to the stage alone to perform an acapella gospel song which stunned the crowd into silence as her vocals spectacularly varied between softer tones and more vibrant flamboyancy. Make sure you see them in Southampton in April if you missed out.

Polly & The Billets Doux
Cry Cry
Follow My Feet
To Be A Fighter
Factory Whistle
Don’t Trouble Trouble
Cup and the Lip
The Rounder
Who do you love – Bo Diddley
I Would Ask
Pretty Thing – Bo Diddley
Head of Steam
Back to Earth
House or the Rising Sun
Since the Fire started burning in my soul (gospel solo)

Mountain Feet
It’s a mystery
She cuts deep
lies cause suicides
Sharing you
Pride and joy (stevie ray vaughn cover)

Coke Can Jack
Bourbon Eyes
Beg Steel or Borrow
Get Better
You Against The World
Bad News
Devil on your Shoulder

Download Polly & The Billets Doux’s new single ‘Cry Cry’ on iTunes:

Words by;
George Fullerton.