Damon & Naomi live in London
The last time I’d seen Damon & Naomi was when they played a short set for the Walthamstow Rock and Roll Book Club in… a pub upstairs room in… Walthamstow in June 2019, who could know it would be over four years before they made it over again. Or indeed that COVID, that caused the hiatus, would rear its ugly head on this tour!
Damon & Naomi’s first show in London in over four years was at Cafe Oto on a Sunday afternoon, and I have to admit that a Sunday afternoon is a perfect time for a Damon & Naomi gig. No having to hurry, or worse leave early, to have to catch the last train, time to mill around afterwards and chat, and walking from a gig into the sunshine is a special feeling. It helped that the gig was special.
In the four years since they played I had moved from London, where most bands play, to the North East of England, just outside Newcastle, where lots of bands don’t. Damon & Naomi couldn’t get a gig in Newcastle so I made the trip to London. One of the reasons we chose Newcastle was because it was an easy journey to London, so easy that I could leave at a sensible time on a Sunday morning and arrive at Cafe Oto in plenty of time for a Sunday afternoon gig.
Richard Youngs opened the show with a rambling, apologetic introduction. The apology was for his underpreparedness, that occasionally showed through; the faces he pulled as he hit a wrong piano chord added somewhat to the charm of the set.
Damon & Naomi opened with a couple of songs from A Sky Record, and then a couple of older songs before Naomi cast aside the keyboard and strapped on that bass for a run of even older songs including In The Sun from their first release, the Pierre Etoile EP (although with Naomi on vocals so tehnically I guess from Playback Singers) and then stepped back even further into the past with Galaxie 500’s Another Day which they have been playing live for a couple of years… but now, with that bass - so, extra special.
They were then pulled back on stage for an encore, despite the approaching curfew, of their beautiful cover of Tum Buckley’s Song to The Siren. And then it was over.
I hung around and chatted briefly to Damon, got a selfie with Naomi, and then… into the sun, and onto a bus.
Two days later Damon tested positive for COVID and Naomi took to a stage without Damon for the first time ever (with Richard Youngs coming on as a sub).
Hopefully the adventures Damon always seems to have when he visits the UK don’t put him off from coming back soon… and maybe to Newcastle!