Emily Thomas reviews an unforgettable gig in Glasgow, with Baby Strange, The Blinders, Neon Waltz, Rascalton, Voodoos and The VanitiesRead More
Occupying a twisted sensibility and raw power that would leave any Iggy and the Stooges fan salivating, Clever Thing are establishing their mark as one of Brighton’s favourite new bands.Read More
Reflecting on our own evening at The Finsbury's Blogtober, where The fin., Bokito and The Coolness ensured it was a night for the memoirsRead More
The month-long Blogtober Festival got underway at The Finsbury this weekend with two nights, curated by For Folk's Sake and Young & Aspiring, that set a high bar for the remaining 29 showsRead More
As Slow Club prepare to release their new album, Giedre Zaveckaite reflects on a recent live performance from the band at Hackney’s intimate Paper Dress VintageRead More
A hugely enjoyable night, rich in good old indie sounds with a blend of psychedelic influences and ecstatically dancing fansRead More
Soaked with humbleness yet intimate and even a bit other-wordly due to Nathan Ball’s deep, wistfully longing vocals and carefully accentuated singing.Read More
Combining the fuzz of Rust…-era Neil Young with the wall-of-sound dynamics of the Secret Machines, Disco Doom single-handedly obliterated the mundane winter blues on a late November eveningRead More
Caspian hit that glorious sweet spot where every note just sat right and emanated energy throughout the room, vibrating through the audience. It was a killer performanceRead More
Singer Rob Cross is a fine lyrical chronicler of the travails of the unfashionable everyday, not unlike a provincial British Springsteen, and, for all their punk roots, Orphan Boy at their best have a flavour of The Boss’s widescreen, anthemic escapism.Read More
'The 15-year-old girls from Norfolk are an experimental cross between MGMT and Haim. It was deliberately DIY, the musical equivalent of a Jackson Pollock, and entirely captivating.'Read More
Joel Sarakula's official single launch for 'Northern Soul' brought out the laureate in our contributor, who expressed his praise in prose...Read More
Everything about the band was endearingly lo-fi, even down to the way they introduced themselves to the audience – "Me, him and him are called Happyness" – and their audience banter was yet more proof that Happyness are just three silly dudes who'd be a right laugh to hit the pub with.Read More
Dead Ceremony managed to create a three-dimensional sound with a depth that filled the room, the singer lost in the music, seeming to forget he was being watched.Read More
Shiners came out seeming determined to top Bad Sounds, strumming furiously and pulling shapes, fingers never leaving the fretboard throughout their Eighties- and Nineties-influenced ska-flavoured rock.Read More
Charismatic, quick witted, versatile and in possession of a stunning, octave-spanning set of pipes, Nakisha Esnard was the gifted ringmistress of an oddly ramshackle show at a pre-festivities Finsbury. Fronting a pared-down reggaeish quartet and resplendent in checked shirt and bow tie, Nakisha thrummed at her mandolin while her super-soulful singing stretched the limits of her backers’ lazy skank palette, her prodigious energy initially too big for her band, even when her vocal meanderings focused on such prosaic subject matter as guzzling vino prior to the gig. Early doors, it all had the feel of a jam session, the Luton chanteuse even improvising a cheeky proposal to sack her group as another tune ran its apparently formless course. But perhaps this unorthodox, unstructured delivery was the better to showcase Nakisha’s hyperactive showmanship, her on-the-spot witticisms and off-the-cuff interactivity that drew the crowd to her. And, almost indescernibly, the band’s sparse dubisms began to assume an infectious, natural feel, no longer at odds with the singer’s expansive talents but offering a loose canvas to display her offbeat brushstrokes on original material that fused poppy r’n’b with all things roots. To further stir the melting pot, she finished with a ukelele-driven ska version of ‘Spice Up Your Life' sung in full operatic mode, which, as unlikely as it sounds, was hugely enjoyable. From the enormity of her voice right down to the personalised messages scrawled on the back of each of her flyers, Nakisha Esnard displayed effortless self-assurance as a musician and entertainer – a slick package given a twist tonight by its casual presentation.
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A band have to be pretty sure of their sonic prowess to face their audience with permascowls and hostility, but Loom have more swagger than a gathering of Gallagher brothers and certainly don’t lack for electrifying tautness and brute force. Blasting out angry grunge-punk of the weightiest order, their breezeblock miserablism is powered by a pounding rhythm section, two vigorous guitarists and a compelling frontman, Tarik Badwan, who, when not channeling a blend of Peter Murphy and Kurt Cobain, stands glowering and provocative. Who to provoke tonight, though, among the Finsbury’s typically diverse crowd, seemed to throw the band a little. Badwan’s forward surges were dramatic, but once at crowd-level it seemed there was nothing for it but to clamber back on stage. His coiled aggression was a fascinating watch, though, and the rest of the band offered a committed visual backdrop. Loom’s volcanically stroppy stance can’t detract from the fact that they are a band whose driving hardcore incorporates catchy refrain after catchy riff; a five-piece who, at their best nail the kind of pop-aware punk at which Nirvana excelled. ‘I Get A Taste’ was thrillingly spartan rock’n’roll, like a supersize Velvet Underground, while closing number and current single ‘Lice’ was another piledriver, Badwan repeatedly bawling “Get Out of My Head” before falling prostrate and exhausted on stage as the feedback faded around him. Heavyweight knockout indeed.
The evening had commenced with another eye-catching and uncompromising act, although Eighteen Nightmares at the Lux were on more of a psychobilly tip, playing fuzzy rock’n’roll with bombastic gothic vocals. The drummer and bowler-hatted bassist were done out in Joker-style make-up (the latter’s psycho-scarecrow look genuinely creepy), giving further indications of their schlocky horror bent. Their skittery rhythm and blues was reminiscent of The Cramps, sharing a slack and skeletal sound, although this nocturnal vaudeville act took a different turn during penultimate number ‘Master John’, when some glistening slide guitar came on like The Gun Club may have if they’d gone emo, giving Eighteen Nightmares their most distinctive song of the night.
In-between this heavy, heavy monster pairing were Haus, a youthful post-millennium-indie outfit, all polite melodies, spry dialect, contrapuntal chops, rimshots and tom rolls. Three guitarists seemed a touch OTT, given the marginal disparities in each one’s playing, but this is a style that relies on such subtle distinctions and, anyway, the six members look as much a set of mates as a band (presumably they’ll be ribbing the bassist about his 1980s denim jacket, collar-popped) and that’s enough reason to cement the line-up in itself. Theirs is an increasingly overcrowded genre, however, one in which Foals are probably as surprised as anyone to be the defining act, and, to rise above the herd, Haus may need to produce more of the heightened dynamics of their final two tunes, ‘Token’( I think) and ‘February’, which were quicker, bouncier and less regimented than those preceding. The band seemed to be more relaxed and fluid during these closing tracks and the crowd, which was at its most densely populated when these boys were on stage, responded in suitably animated fashion.
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Photos & Film by Chris Musicborn @musicborn @lostinthemanor
It’s hard to see how LazyTalk could become any more efficient at what they do. The band’s populist blend of ska-punk, drum’n’bass, British hip-hop and Jamie T-style street smarts is perfectly forged to whip up any crowd, including that at the Finsbury this Saturday night. Throw in a couple of anthemic, terrace-ready tracks, such as ‘Luzaville’ and ‘Memories’, and you’d imagine it’s only a matter of time before some sharp svengali picks up the band and runs with them. Frontman Piers Robinson has assembled a fluid quintet of skilled rebel-rousers, of whom the trump card could be keyboardist Josh, who took time out to blow gear-shifting sax solos when the tune demanded. Meanwhile, Piers wrapped his tongue around contemporary grievances ranging from the corporate dilution of pop to the perils of the pre-dawn bus-ride, all keenly observed and addressed in quickfire prose. Reappropriated covers of hits by Ini Kamoze and Dawn Penn (I’ll leave you to guess which ones) gave clues to the band’s roots - and there was certainly a punky reggae party at their rhythmic core - but LazyTalk picked and mixed from myriad sounds of modern urban Britain. Most of it was delivered strictly to crowdplease, and although the doubling up of tempo following a languid intro was a trick somewhat overdone, it never failed to lively up the dancefloor. An unashamedly bang-on-it good-time act with fire in their bellies and brains behind the beats, the five-piece put a smile on the face of a sweaty Finsbury, just as they did last time they played here some 18 months previous. This is a band who, by now, should surely be instigating knees-ups at bigger venues nationwide. LazyTalk just need an action plan.
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The lovely lo-fi psychedelia of Mazes’ Ores and Minerals LP has been one of the year’s more absorbing releases, but the band were a shadow of their recorded selves at Village Underground tonight, the loops that should have augmented the guitar, bass and drums trio felt somehow shorn of all melodic depth. This meant the focus fell too unforgivingly on the jagged string-picking and off-kilter vocals of Jack Cooper, who was reticent in the spotlight. Showpiece tunes, such as ‘Bodies’, ‘Hayfever Wristband’ and the ‘Mrs Robinson’-esque cover ‘Donovan’ were still pretty fabulous, strong enough to withstand a below-par performance, but, stripped of its studio subtleties, much of Mazes’ idiosyncratic poppy Krautrock veered disappointingly close to the landfill. A blip, perhaps.
No such crisis of confidence for Parquet Courts, so full of Big Apple swagger that they barely seemed to notice a couple of false starts and even got away with some interminable drone rock in ‘She’s Rolling’ (an antidote to the hardcore snippets that peppered the rest of the set) before kickstarting the pogoing and stage-diving proper with Light Up Gold’s zippy back-to-back openers, ‘Master of My Craft’ and ‘Borrowed Time’. Looking like four insouciant college kids, the Courts’ excitingly forceful hipster punk occupies an unlikely space where The Strokes might rub up against Discharge. Their slacker singalongs slammed into the sell-out crowd via a surge of distorted adrenaline and unrelenting high-speed 4/4, delivered in a whirl of hair, sweat, power chords and feedback. Guitarists Andrew Savage and Austin Brown took turns to bellow out lyrics in a Brooklyn drawl, the latter joking how he’s made more trips to London this year than to his mother’s - the band have more than quadrupled the size of venues they’ve played while doing so. The intimate ferocity in which they specialise is best suited to compact and sweaty, though, and it’s hard to imagine them pulling off such a relentless onslaught in establishments much bigger than Village Underground. Relish the moment, of course, but the Courts may have reached a career crossroads where the snotty attitude and humour of thrilling garage nuggets like ‘Master of My Craft’ and ‘Stoned and Starving’ point the way over much of the set’s powerful but perfunctory punk rock. After all, Parquet Courts may come on like indifferent wasters, but their wise-guy lyrics betray a band whose ambitions surely lie beyond just sharing the bill with Anti-Pasti at the 2016 Punx Picnic.
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