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London’s Little Barrie Returns to Saigon

Rock and R&B band, Little Barrie, will return for the second time in as many years this Wednesday at Cargo Bar. The three-piece band - Barrie Cadogan (Primal Scream), Vigil Howe and Lewis Wharton - was one of the first bands introduced to Saigonese audiences by the restless and resourceful organiser Loud Minority.

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The English band is currently touring following the release of their new album “Shadow,” for which the band collaborated with Scottish producer-musician Edywn Collins, much of which was recorded with the aid of a 4-track cassette recorder.

We met with the band to find out more about their return to Saigon, dealing with music critics and more.

Last time Little Barrie came to Vietnam, your show with Dengue Fever was unceremoniously shut down and moved. I personally remember standing outside the “bar” with a group of cops. Can you tell me about how that night went for you guys and what kind of expectations do you have for Saigon this time around?

The last Vietnam trip was great but a bit of a whirlwind, almost like a dream. It was pretty surreal as we were there for less than 24 hours. We'd flown in after opening for the Stone Roses in Paris which was amazing but also surreal as they were the main inspiration behind me learning the guitar. By the time we arrived we'd been up for hours and were pretty out of it. I remember eating some great food and then driving round the city to collect an amplifier for the gig that night. Saigon was blazing hot and buzzing with energy. I really enjoyed that gig - In the bar with a restaurant next door that had half a giant boat in it. I don't remember the cops or much else though! We went back to the hotel as we were up at 4:30am to fly to Japan. 

Hopefully this time we can get to see a little more of the city. Really happy to be playing here again.

Your latest album, “Shadow,” has been well received, and the song “Fuzzbomb” has been on heavy rotation on my playlist. I have read some album reviews that have called “Shadow” under-rated and others very Arctic Monkeys-like. Do you ever pay attention to critics or is being personally satisfied when you put out new tracks enough?

Some critics will say they like you, some will slag you off and some will make strange comparisons about your music. You're better off just getting on with what you like doing rather than paying too much attention to reviews, good or bad.

I’m going to bring the focus back to “Fuzzbomb” and the drums - I guess this question is for Virgil - How much cowbell is too much cowbell?

The cowbell is a very misunderstood instrument. It actually takes years to master. To truly know how much cowbell is sufficient one must study the ancient texts passed down through the generations. Right now I am only a student, but one day I hope to become truly one with the Cowbell.

When Little Barrie rolls into Saigon we will just be at the end of dry season and entering the hot season. Is there ever a time when leather jackets are a bad idea? Or is there an ultimate combo like leather jacket and flip-flops?

I wear leather jackets a lot on tour in hot climates. In terms of keeping cool they're useless, but I feel a bit lost without one. I once wore leather onstage in Barcelona at a summer festival for a 90 minute set - Never again. I not a flip-flop kind of person either. Boots are for all weather.

Some quick Vietnamese cultural word association:

Fish Sauce - Soup

Ladyboys - Bangkok

Dog meat - Tesco's

One last question - If you had to tell the music goers of Saigon one thing they should leave at home for the Little Barrie show, what would it be and why?  

Leave the flip flops at home - Try a different shoe!

Little Barrie will perform at Cargo on Wednesday 27th May. More info on tickets and time here.

[Photo via Betina La Plante]

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