We Ruddy Love Gerard and the Watchmen
Dave Gerard, towering above even my six-foot-something frame has been one of my very favourite musicians since first we met. It was an early Folkroom gig – the best we’d put on thus far. O. Chapman had silenced the crowd, Jessie Moncrieff had riled them back up, and then Dave came on and everyone saw this glimmering, flickering candle that had only just been lit. Dave Gerard and his long-term right-hand-man James Frid shone with the sort of faltering beauty that you knew could only ever precede something far greater, warmer and brighter. We didn’t have much of an idea just how good Gerard could be, but I’m starting to think he himself always did.
They came back and played an unforgettable and absolutely devastating set unplugged at the Folkroom piano. The crowd fell silent. The bar staff stopped serving, clambered up on chairs and started taking photos. I almost cried, but then I’m like that. You can see from the video Gerard’s friends recorded that it was something special. It turned out that this singer-songwriter, when let free amongst wild musicians, roamed bravely and formed such affecting and heart-wrenching music that it almost defies my words.
Now Dave and his posse, under the guise of Gerard and the Watchmen (we pushed for him to call the band The Delicate Wash, but he wasn’t having any of it), are set to release their debut EP. It’s called ‘I Climbed A Tree’, and it makes me so happy the fact that I’m not literally bursting is testament only to the strength of my skin.
Of course, I was always going to love it – the opening track is a gorgeous and more developed take on ‘Stables’, the song that closed my record label’s free compilation last year. But it’s nice to see these sounds develop, these songs that I’ve known for so long sound so new; these songs that are so new to me seem so familiar.
The best song for me is ‘bonus track’ Sophia – something so warm and filled with love really comes to life with the full band behind it. That said, the EP has this tight, restrained feel that means the listener isn’t overwhelmed by the forcefulness that makes Gerard and the Watchmen such a live spectacle.
And they are a live spectacle. That much I can promise you. ‘I Climbed A Tree’ is not a Folkroom release, but we still leapt at the chance to help host the EP’s launch party this Friday. It is, in many ways, a Folkroom affair. Our great friend Josienne Clarke provides backing vocals on the EP, and the two support acts on Friday first met Dave at those two Folkroom gigs we mentioned earlier. As a live line-up goes, there isn’t much you could ask for beyond O. Chapman and Laura Hocking in support.
But this is still very much the product of Dave Gerard and his Watchmen. And what a product it is. Give listen to ‘Sophia’ below and watch a live Folkroom version of the EP closer above. Then grab yourself a ticket to come catch Gerard and the Watchmen’s launch on Friday here.