Granted there are a ton of people who bah humbug their way through this time of year, I’m not one of them. I like getting presents (even the naff ones), I like that it’s suddenly acceptable to warm up alcoholic drinks & I get excited about Christmas songs.
The birth of this festive album, This Is Christmas, actually took place last year when they were snowed in and stranded in Sussex. In May, when they were yet again stranded in New York due to hurricane Irene, they were able to complete the album.
Taking the name Sleigher their Christmas band gives you a hint that we’re not dealing with sentimental slosh ideal for department store adverts. The tracks balance the pop of Tim Wheeler’s Ash with Emmy’s intelligent, witty lyrics. The result being upbeat, slightly mental songs that will have the biggest scrooge’s cockles warmed.
Bush Hall felt like a Christmas occasion, bathed in a soft red glow. Tim taking to the stage in dinner jacket, and Emmy wearing a floor length gown holding sleigh bells delicately like a glass of vintage wine. Zombie Christmas and (Don’t Call Me) Mrs Christmas had me dancing like a Nan on the desert sherry (that look will be fashionable in 2012; you heard it on Flush The Fashion first).
A personal highlight of the evening being an audience waving their hands aloft as if touched by a preacher during Jesus The Reindeer (Kitsch, sarcastic, a touch of a nativity play about it).
The duo was left on stage alone to perform See You Next Year. Tim said “It’s just you & me now”, Emmy’s reply was “Me, You and a can of Stella” as Tim took a swig. Even during the touching, stripped down moments on stage they are enigmatic and amusing.
There is tenderness in their Christmas offering, Home For The Holidays performed heartfelt and sincere. But overall, as a live experience they effortlessly create a light hearted holiday atmosphere. I was swept up immediately into the spirit of Christmas, all my worries left at the door with the bitterly cold weather.
They also covered Last Christmas as a sigh inducing duet and ended on Fairytale of New York. It’s just not Christmas until you’ve swayed and sang your heart out to this track, one hand clapped round your lovers shoulder and the other hand clutching a pint. Therefore, in my eyes Emmy The Great and Tim Wheeler delivered Christmas at Bush Hall last night.
I’d have them round for eggnog any day of the week.