Looking delightfully sinful and sexy in that preppy puff-ball skirt gorgeous Steph springs about the stage like a newborn lamb – full of fun and frolics. Also up front and enjoying the razzle-dazzle of the limelight is James on acoustic guitar – giving everything he has. James is an entertaining and wry songwriter with an eye and an ear for penetrating ditties and insightful melodies that have an astringent quality of irony and humour all of-their-own. In fact, lets face it,the whole Alphabet Backwards philosophy towards music is one of individualized perpetual pop – perfectly formed – and at it’s finest.
Josh (the bass player) is ‘the’ Josh of the T-Mobile viral band, but in Alphabet Backwards he takes up a lonely and furtive position at the back of the stage, thumping and grunting reliably. Also back in the moonlight shadows is the drummer Paul who, to be fair, looks like a cross between a Martian and your physics teacher. But between them they whip a fairly lively beat and keep rhythm alive.
More important, in the band line-up, is the keyboard maestro Bob – who (unfortunately) looks like a crazy-eyed axe-murderering psychopath but (and I am reliably informed of this) he is actually a lovely guy and a church organist. One of the best things about the Alphabet Backwards music is the way that their songs utilise Bob’s keyboards – whore sounding grunts, screams and wheezes one minute are replaced by merry-go-round chiming chirrups or whining crazy-horse sirens the next. The sounds come neatly tucked into the creases and crevices. Such is the combined virtuosity of the band-members that there is never a dull moment in their repertoire, always looking for more complete and richly formed connections and juxtapositions of nuances and style.
Major anthemic hits like the ‘ 80’s pop single ‘ with its Na-Na-Na-Na-Na chorus are always big hits with the crowd. But one of my favourites is the sardonic song ‘Primark’ where ‘All the Girls Look the Same’. Oh! Yes. Still humming that one in the bathroom two days later!
The sheer vibrancy and joy of this music is unbearably addictive. Theirs is a magic-painting book of textures and images. A joy to listen to and behold.