Jonny – Nottingham Bodega, Thursday February 10.
Given that they couldn’t even remember the release date of their debut album, it’s fair to say that Jonny – a side-project comprising Scotsman Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub) and Welshman Euros Childs (formerly of Gorkys Zygotic Mynci) – are an act with nothing to prove. And given the number of false starts and mid-song cock-ups that peppered their set, it was clear that neither performer was taking the venture too seriously.
The stumbles – most of which were related to Euros’s inability to set the right tempo on his drum machine – were shrugged off with easy-going humour, and the duo’s relaxed geniality and unforced charm characterised the whole show.
Blending Blake’s lyrical romanticism with Childs’ wide-eyed whimsy, Jonny’s songs are light, tuneful, cheerful, and steeped in pop tradition. The quaintly old-fashioned lyrics stem from a more innocent time: when girlfriends were addressed as “ladies”, when lovers sent each other letters, when music fans accumulated “videos and tapes” that would “never be erased”, and when it was deemed perfectly acceptable to write tender odes to the simple joys of bread and butter.
Seven dates into the tour, album track Circling The Sun was given its debut performance. “We’ve sung it before”, explained Euros, “and we’ve played it instrumentally before, but we’ve never sung it and played it at the same time.” And yes, it showed – but then again, it scarcely mattered.