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21 January 2004

The Disconnection Tour
Birmingham, Flapper and Firkin

Motel 74
Into My Blood
Lightbulb Song
Let It Fall

Only appearance of
"Lightbulb Song" on the tour.

Review by Holly Noseda

I was not in the mood to leave the warmth of my house on Wednesday 21st January, I don’t mind admitting it. It’s for that reason that I rolled into the Flapper and Firkin towards the end of The Honeymoon Machine’s set. Dammit.

After uncountable nights of gritting my teeth and doggedly tapping my feet through support sets that wouldn’t muster 59 pence worth of donations if performed in any sort of street capacity, in the hope of finding that elusive pre-huge performance, the one time I throw caution to the wind (and throw caution to the wind I did – I didn’t even put any mascara on) I miss the Honeymoon Machine. From the few minutes I did steal I can tell you that the accomplished and full sound was as much Libertines and Strokes as it was Lou Reed.

The Honeymoon Machine, also the name of a 1961 Steve McQueen film, release their debut single Angie on March 22nd.

The atmosphere felt heavy with emotion, I don’t know why and I don’t even know if this was hormonal imagining on my part but when the pre-Carina musical interlude crept into Love With Tear Us Apart (Joy Division) the whole room seemed to swell and sag.

And then Carina. A gypsy girl with black, black eyes fills the tiny stage with her vocals, which come as stark contrast to the little voice she adopts when speaking. The West Midlands is Carina Round territory. A local lass, she was raised in Wolverhampton, and seems entirely at ease with the accented audience. With a guitarist in a plastic mask (complete with eery trampish make-up) I felt under dressed in many ways, compounded by the figure Carina cut with her black suit (and later, borrowed Devil horns). She’s been doing this for years, and you can tell. The crowd is bristling with excitement and almost simpering adoration. Clearly it unsettles her slightly, and at various stages of the evening she dares them to hurl abuse at her… One meek voice at the back has a stab but they just love her too much for that.

Warm, foot stamping banshee-in-ballgown folk songs carved from the same stump as Tori Amos and PJ Harvey, Round’s back catalogue is reasonably approachable to newcomers. Latest single Lacuna sparkles in the small setting and B-sides are as rapturously applauded as album favourites.

A formidable talent, to suggest ‘big things’ seems at odds with the natural comfort Carina Round oozes. A stadium tour would jar like honey on piss and a David Gray or Damien Rice style best seller (which she is more than capable of) would similarly wreck what is so special here. A class act. If you get the chance to see her now, go, before her talent and the adoration of her fans consumes her.

Originally online at