Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves of Destiny
Kings College, London
September 26, 2012
A little face paint and a rummage through the fancy dress chest has the potential to turn even the dreariest of live performances into something oddly comical and surreal, yet this is something Beth Jeans Houghton and her Hooves of Destiny have nothing to worry about. The masquerade, the costumes (the “camp samurai” drummer in his kimono), only seem to elevate the mood to unnatural levels, whereupon the uninhibited audience will indulge in a little primal screaming and launch themselves onstage to bellow “fuck off” in the punkish frenzy of “Prick aka Sean”. If you’ve never had the full Houghton & Hooves experience before, this, and some additional explanations of outré sexual behaviour are just par for the course.
Houghton is in her element onstage. She engages and is engaging, of undeniable talent and charm, encased tonight in gold trainers and red polka dot suit that on its own would be hard to deny her as anything less than the ringleader of this travelling chamber-pop circus. The Hooves for their part are indispensable, at times playful and obedient to Houghton’s whim/sy, while rampaging alongside on the I’m-sorry-what-was-that-you-said? “Shampoo” and adding colour to her psychedelic folk canvas on recent single “Dodecahedron”. Despite a cancelled show a few days before with Houghton battling illness, her voice remained strong and the warmth and weirdness of Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose was rapturously (and deservingly) rewarded.
Setlist: Atlas/Humble Digs/Before I Go Away/Franklin Benedict/Your Holes/Dodecahedron/Liliputt/Joe Frazier/Shampoo/Chips To Go/Man Slide/I Will Return, I Promise//Sweet Toothed Bird/Prick AKA Sean