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6 June 2004

Paris UK Tour
Oxford Cellar Bar

Planned as headline gig as Damien Dempsey tour finished. On the day Carina decided to go on second in order to leave early. Support by Holiday in Hawaii and Fireworks Night.

Motel 74
Into My Blood

Let It Fall

Review by JCE

Arranged seemingly after the Paris tour ended, this last date of the tour was poorly advertised outside of Oxford, but still was a sell out!

The Cellar Bar is just that - a cellar with a couple of bars in it, down an alleyway just off the main pedestrianised street. Someone said that its creation was as a result of Tom Yorke investment?

I arrived a little early, and trying to find the venue just followed my ears as I could hear Elegy drifting down the streets of Oxford, and wandered in to see Carina and the band doing the soundcheck - no security here yet? The venue floor was littered with guitars, cases, various wires and skateboards! The band seemed to have brought more back from the states than memories. A quick run through of the main parts of the set and off for a bite to eat at a local Italian

When I returned to the venue, there was hardly any standing room, the place was packed and already the heat was building. Carina was due to be the only act tonight but bizarrely two others had been added and with some quick negotiation, Carina wanted to go on second so as to get back home at a reasonable time - the first band didn't go on till 9.30

At ten past ten, Carina took to the stage to a huge round of applause and burst into Shoot. A strong performance in the tight and cramped venue. One of the best Motel 74's I've heard followed with some great guitar work by Tom, with Carina's voice sounding better than it did at the last gig in London. A husky sultry performance enthralled the crowd and the applause elicited a huge grin from Carina.

Into My Blood was as strong as usual, although the PA suffered a few times as Carina let go. More than the normal number of pictures seem to be taken during this track, but that just encouraged the band and the performance was thrilling. John's drumming was especially note worthy during this one, driving the song strongly.

A quick run through of Monument that seemed to dampen the crowd's enthusiasm, as there seemed to be a large exodus to the bar. Lacuna followed this. One of the most exotic versions I've heard. Clearly the soundman had found an echo on the mic, as this was new, but this added to the dark and mysterious imagery. A bluesy version brought the crowd back amid cries of "we're not worthy" and was followed by the loudest and longest applause of the night.

Paris followed, and despite the band not liking this one, a rockier feel to the performance added new dimensions for me, as Tom seemed to experiment more around the bass line.

Even the feedback during Elegy seemed to be planned and fitted perfectly, although this slower song lost the crowd a little at the start but Carina's more balanced and relaxed voice brought most of them back as she had them eating out of her hand. By now the heat in the room, with the crowd packed tightly in meant that steam was rising and the walls sweating, as the erotic guitar solo frequented by Carina's screams created an atmosphere that must be illegal in some US states!

The last song, Let It Fall, saw Carina really let go. I think Tom and Smudge had to move out of the way several times as she cavorted around the stage flinging her guitar all over the place. Even the front row moved back a little. The Pixies interlude was particularly strident tonight and lasted longer than usually with the whole of the verse being sung.

Overall a fantastic gig to end the tour, enjoyed both by the band and the crowd who formed an orderly queue at the merchandise table to meet the lady and get that CD signed

Written for

Photos by Daisy Jones