The Clientele, with the Ladybug Transistor and the Great White Jenkins

The Clientele, with the Ladybug Transistor and the Great White Jenkins


Catching a band at the beginning of a tour, when they’ve got a new album and they’re debuting songs onstage, one can often sense the freshness the group brings to the material. The day before this gig, London-based guitar pop band the Clientele had released the sublime God Save the Clientele, a lush collection that brings to mind the melodic craft of bands like Love and The Beatles. They’d been in the States less than a week and were embarking on a month-long, coast-to-coast trip.

What’s all the noise about? The Clientele forge ahead through sound problems at the Satellite Ballroom.
Listen to Bookshop Casanova by the Clientele, found on their recent release, God Save the Clientele:

powered by ODEO
Courtesy of the Clientele and Merge Records – Thank you!

Richmond folk outfit Great White Jenkins opened and were followed by New York’s Ladybug Transistor, a band that, like the Clientele, look to the late ’60s for inspiration, albeit less successfully. The Clientele took the stage as a quartet—singer, guitarist, and songwriter Alasdair MacLean backed by bass and drums and augmented by violinist and keyboardist Mel Draisey. As they launched into “Here Comes the Phantom,” the first track from their latest, it was impressive how well they carried off the song live. MacLean ably transposed to guitar the song’s bouncy piano line, which is reminiscent of the opening from “Daydream Believer,” and his voice sounded fantastic.

But there’s also a downside to catching a band at the beginning of a tour. Though the song selection was ace and performances were good, a short blast of static would periodically come from nowhere (a faulty cord on Draisey’s violin, I was later told). MacLean apologized about sound problems, saying that this was “one of those nights when everything goes wrong, but we’re going to try and make it right.” An hour into the set, as the band played its early single “I Had to Say This,” the static kicked in and wouldn’t leave, overwhelming the audience with a piercing din out of some avant-garde industrial nightmare. The Clientele left the stage, the noise was eventually quieted, and the patient and appreciative audience was able to coax them back for an encore. The band maintained their good humor, as MacLean joked that the ghost of Lou Reed’s noise opus Metal Machine Music was in the house. A quick run through the Television Personalities’ ’80s nugget, “Picture of Dorian Grey,” and the Clientele called it a night, hoping, perhaps, for better luck in the next town.

Posted In:     News

Previous Post

Signing in the rain

Next Post

The little Frenchman who could

Our comments system is designed to foster a lively debate of ideas, offer a forum for the exchange of ad hoc information, and solicit honest, respectful feedback about the work we do. We’re glad you’re participating. Here are a few simple rules to follow, which should be relatively straightforward.

1) Don’t call people names or accuse them of things you cannot support.
2) Don’t direct foul language, racial slurs, or offensive terms at other commenters or our staff.
3) Don’t use the discussion on our site for commercial (or shameless personal) promotion.

We reserve the right to remove posts and ban commenters who violate any of the rules listed above, or the spirit of the discussion. We’re trying to create a safe space for a wide range of people to express themselves, and we believe that goal can only be achieved through thoughtful, sensitive editorial control.

If you have questions or comments about our policies or about a specific post, please send an e-mail to

Leave a Reply

Notify of