review archive

Butterflies of Love – The Garage 18th July 2003 / Jeffrey Greene - Arts Café 23rd July 2003

On Friday night we go to see The Butterflies of Love at The Garage. It’s like wallowing in warm caramel, the songs oozing around you, woozy, bleary eyed, delicious. The place is far from full, the industry hyenas that usually pack the back section of the room are nowhere to be seen, affording us respite from their idiot chatter that normally rises like a noxious cloud from the bar. A respectable roomful of the faithful hugs itself around the stage, swaying and shimmying. Down the front three Actionettes line up to dance themselves silly, pulling impromptu moves, arms outstretched holding imaginary steering wheels for ‘Dream Driver’. Butterfly co-pilots
a haze of intoxo-pop Songs are short and perfect, some (‘The Mutation’) are languorous, stretching like lazy cats on warm bricks. Others, (‘Belt and Shoelaces’, ‘Get Ready’) rock along purringly. Each one wraps you sweetly round its little finger before letting you down again gently. It’s a haze of intoxo-pop that’s over far too soon. Co-pilot Jeffrey Greene’s ebullient, deranged between-song ramblings are kept short, mindful of The Garage’s curfew, which is a shame; the guy’s a born entertainer.

Comet Gain-man David Feck, Butterflies lover extraordinaire, heckles from the audience and flicks some good-natured v-signs at the stage, as is his way. The band hurriedly clambers back on for an encore of the sprawling, narco-beauty that is ‘Wintertime Queen’, Dan Greene’s voice stretching and winding round the lyrics, ‘She’s a strawberry, she don’t mind icicles’. We luxuriate all too briefly in its ruby-eyed glow before it’s time for the Butterflies of Love to fly.

Wednesday finds us in the cosy old Arts Café, slumping midweek dozey-eyed in a corner. David Feck (again) bundles in to hug Jeffrey Greene, slumped in the opposite corner, and conspiratorially shows him a handful of paper moustaches he has stashed in a pocket. The pair of them giggle like schoolboys and stick a moustache each to their top lips, the dashing cad look quite suits them. Jeffrey Greene has been cut adrift from his fellow Butterflies and is embarking on a summer solo odyssey around the country, this is his first night. Pre-gig he regales us with tales of in-band sartorial whimsy, wondering whether we were impressed by bassist Peter’s safari suit look at Friday’s gig and disgusting us with drummer Neil’s eschewing of laundry throughout their European tour last year, preferring to spray his one and only gig shirt with Febreze. Jeffrey himself augments his crumpled orange tee-shirt with a country-rocking green shirt before climbing onto the foot high Arts Café stage; both actions are a tad unnecessary. It’s (as ever) sweatily baking in here, plus Mr Greene towers a good foot over everyone without having to add extra inches to his gangling height.

country-rocking green shirt
a baby giraffe of a man
For some reason (I think he’s a fan, he’s got a mention on the Butterflies’ second LP) Sean Hughes does the introductions, a bit of a waste as Jeffrey Greene is a right old hilarious charmer himself. It takes him a good chunk of songs to apparently settle in to the oddness of playing alone, preferring to let the music do the talking for a while. He hunches around his guitar, a baby giraffe of a man, eyes squeezing shut, songs of lovelorn confusion ‘Lies can be the truth’ twisting and whispering out. There are Butterflies songs and his own new stuff and lots of bigging up of Dan Greene as an inspiration and a genius (and, note to confused zine writers, NOT Jeffrey’s brother). Towards the end we’re encouraged to call out requests, Sean Hughes gets his way with ‘Rob A Bank’. I’m pleased about this ‘cos I’ve had it whirling through my brain ever since it didn’t get played at Friday’s gig.

We’re told that tomorrow, at 9am, Jeff is going to hire a car in Croydon, so if we see him driving recklessly round town we should go up and buy him a beer and he’ll pull over and sleep it off and then drive on to the next beer. And with that he steps off the stage, still head and shoulders above everyone else in here.

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