Scott Lavene at the George Tavern
Swaggering geezer Scott Lavene treated the George Tavern to a hybrid live show incorporating music, poetry and especially comedy. The punky songwriter channelled Ian Dury and Chas & Dave from the get-go with his morning-after stubble and unmistakably Essex demeanour.
Banter was a key ingredient of Lavene’s show, drawing peals of laughter from the punters as he told the story behind nearly every song. “You know when sometimes you meet someone and you think it’s gonna last forever, and it only lasts about four days. This song is about that. According to this Yamaha keyboard it’s disco,” he said as he triggered a four-to-the-floor beat and launched into You + Me.
Lavene’s croaky, flexible voice is a rock ‘n roll jewel without a drop of pretension. When his vocal cords cracked on a high note in the cinematic Methylated Blue, he continued the song unfazed with an improvised spiel in lieu of lyrics: “I haven’t sung that note for a year and a half. You can listen to it on the record. Hard note to find if all you’ve done is smoke for a year and a half,” was met with a ripple of laughter from the socially distanced audience.
Although it is a key part of the man’s likeable character to wallow in insouciance, he allowed that attitude to leak into his performance, several songs melting into each other in monotonous sameness, starting with the airy My Kinda Girl. The show felt more like a stellar stand-up routine, or a live poetry night, but from a musical perspective the energy waned from the middle of the set onwards. In Lavene’s own words: “I appreciate you all applauding. It was not easy to leave my flat and do this,” but he assured everyone he was glad he did.
He introduced the banger Light of the Moon with a hilarious dig at a member of the crowd – “You, sir, might relate. You know when you’re working in a factory and you develop a speed habit and your girlfriend dumps you and you think ‘I’ve fucking had enough of this’? This song is about that.” The marvellous piece of storytelling really showed off the singer’s vocal cords against a backdrop of growling six-string bass. He dropped out the midi beats for the last verse to great effect.
These bursts of vocal prowess and heavy, grooving six-string bass riffs kept one wanting to hear a bit more of that rockstar side, as opposed to the rambling storytelling – however delightful those stories may be, Broke proving an instant hit in triggering uncontrollable laughter in the room.
Scott Lavene fully commits to his devil-may-care character and it is a pleasure to partake in his cynical saunters. This time, it felt like the punk-rock wordsmith could have delivered so much more with a band behind him and an audience unbound by covid restrictions.
Photos: Virginie Viche
For further information and future events visit Scott Lavene’s Bandcamp webpage here. Milk City Sweethearts is released on 17th September 2021.
Watch the video for Broke here: