Tuesday, 2 December 2008

LIVE: Roses Kings Castles. FOPP, Cambridge. 28th September, 2008

As fun as “proper” gigs are, sometimes it’s nice to not get pushed around or covered in beer. Hence, why intimate instores such as this one are such a pleasant change. With CD racks moved to one side and a privileged group of fans sat in a semi-circle on the floor or stood patiently a little further back, Roses Kings Castles takes out his acoustic guitar and enchants the top floor of FOPP with songs from his self-titled debut album, catching the attention of a few passers-by in the Saturday traffic along the way.

For those who haven’t yet heard, Roses Kings Castles is the side project of drummer Adam Ficek, first started as a way to keep busy whilst on tour. A couple of weeks prior to this meeting, he released his eponymous first record on his own label, The Sycamore Club. Tonight, Ficek is due to play at a Syd Barrett tribute gig across town but for now, he has a small but eager crowd to entertain.

Starting his five song set with recent single ‘Entroubled’, the audience is immediately drawn in. Whether intentional or not, playing with no microphone or amplification means to be able to fully enjoy Ficek’s performance you have to surrender yourself to him and give him your full attention. It’s a different experience to one you might normally have with live music, having to make an effort to hear the performer rather than being deafened by them, but the unusual act of exertion serves to make it that little bit more special.

Throughout the short set, Ficek chats and jokes with the crowd, especially when he has to restart second song and potential Christmas number one, ‘Horses’. A little later, ‘Sparkling Bootz’ is played much to the audience’s delight. Finishing on the beautiful twee-pop ‘Never Certain’, Roses Kings Castles leaves the store a veritable success, hopefully a trend that will continue wherever he goes.

Rhian Daly