They came all the way from the Manchester borough of Chorlton to bring the kids some folky/jazzy pop and they weren't going to let a sadly underpopulated venue bring them down. So Alfie played a mighty fine rock 'n' roll show last night in San Francisco at Bimbo's. Frontman Lee Gorton, who physically resembled an amalgamation of Charlatans singer Tim Burgess mixed with Kelly Jones of Stereophonics and sounded like Burgess fused with the Bluetones' Mark Morriss, spoke to the crowd between every song, thanking those of us who were standing and commenting on how "romantic" those were that were sitting at tables.
As the band worked through approximately 10 songs from their first two albums, the oddly-worded If You Happy With You Need Do Nothing and the recently released Word In Your Ear, Gorton told of how excited the band were to be in town and at one point even thanked those of us Yanks who were somehow clued in enough to attend one of their shows by buying about 20 people down in front a bottle of Budweiser. The crowd loved the sincerity and sweetness of the band (who also tossed their disposable cameras into the crowd for members of the assemblage to photograph the band for posterity's sake) and raucously cheered and applauded between songs. By the time the band wrapped up "Summer Lanes," band and crowd alike were fast friends and it was truly a feel-good moment that reminded you of the power of music. I strongly recommend anyone who likes Elbow, Turin Brakes or Badly Drawn Boy to check this sextet out while you can. It will be a well-spent night out.