The Phantom Band – Nottingham Bodega Social Club, Tuesday November 3.
Two dates into their autumn tour, this Glasgow sextet have been struggling to maintain their line-up. For Monday night’s Leeds gig, the drummer from support band Stop Eject filled in for Damien Tonner, who had been called back to Scotland for a funeral. Although Damien managed to fly back for the Nottingham show, the band was once again missing a member. Guitarist Greg Sinclair’s absence was announced as the result of a “serious psychotic episode”, which had apparently caused him to be admitted to a monastery. In his place, a “phantom” member had been constructed at the foot of the stage, resplendent in the same gold lamé monk’s cowl that was worn by the keyboardist and bassist.
As it transpired, not a word of this was true. Like most of the band, Sinclair holds down a full time day job, and a professional emergency had called him home. With two other guitarists in the band, the gap was seamlessly closed around his absence.
Combining a knack for catchy, riff-driven numbers (The Howling, Folk Song Oblivion) with a more leftfield, experimental approach, The Phantom Band’s playful eclecticism bore comparison with the much missed Beta Band. Their chugging rhythmic steadiness suggested a schooling in Krautrock, whereas on the epic lament Island, distinct highland folk influences rose to the surface. A sparse but attentive audience gave them the respect they deserved.