Theres has always been a place in my heart for Darren Hayman and Hefner, i can't remember whether it was an NME compilation that featured the track Pull Yourself Together (as well as Kimberley by Clinic) or a tape that Matt Glazebrook made me with The Sad Witch on it, either these two tracks triggered a long standing love affair with Darren Haymans heart broken, never giving in attitude to love. The lyrics have always been incredible, managing to be funny whilst at the same time touching, an art that few have mastered, MJ Hibbett tries it but I see him as a wanna be comedian rather than a singer.
I will admit to being not as much of a fan of the last two albums, that being Pram Town and Essex Arms, though having the chance to see him live recently means that these two will no doubt be revisited (certainly Essex Arms, i'm not even sure it's been commercially released yet). The aforementioned live performance though is where i'm at. The last time I saw Hefner, they had just released We Love The City and they were brilliant, performing downstairs at Rock City, it seems quite strange that 10 or so years later that Darren is performing alone with a Ukelele to little over 50 people at the Chameleon above Clinton Cards in Notttingham, but the setting couldn't have been better. The intimacy of the venue lent itself to allow the songs to come to life, lyrics you'd never heard before making sense, making you laugh and putting the genericism of life in England into a neat and tidy musical format. The references to labels and brands are there, whether it be Ben Sherman or Lacoste, the working men and footballing watching types could find solace in all the sentiments the songs produce. In my opinion this was one of the best live performances charisma wise that i've seen in a long long while, perhaps since Kenickie and i'll be amking sure that I catch him on every possible occasion from now on.