Hotel Lux, The Rhythm Method and shame. Man, what a lineup. Last Wednesday evening at Scala was a beautiful, mad evening of avant-garde art and fashion, sound tracked by uniquely abrasive music from three of the most intriguing bands right now.
The gig opened with Hotel Lux, a band I first saw live at Truck festival this summer on the So Young stage. What I love about this band is the raw punk attitude they have, not through heavy riffs and aggressive music, but through their unapproachable attitude and the moody sense of arrogance and broodiness to them. A five piece, the band use guitar sounds and a keyboard to build up a raw old school sound, often fusing synth elements in and out of their tracks. There’s a very dark, brooding beat to their music, not the kind you’d mosh to but arrogant and intimidating enough to spark an atmosphere of intrigue and interest from their audience. It seemed like there was a lot of anger to the band, amplifying an aura of grit and rawness which translated to the audience perfectly by the crude spitting delivery of the lyrics. Very bitter and scratchy with a pure British feel (think Skins meets Dead Pretties and Goat Girl), Hotel Lux deliver something very exciting on stage. Catch them live next month in London, playing The George Tavern on the 19th.
Next to grace the stage were The Rhythm Method, a band I’m not quite sure how to describe. The music itself is pure synth, classically 80s with a keyboard and synth machine played alongside a backing track. This kind of music I really don’t like in general, there just seems to be a lack of DIY old school guitar rock which is my personal preference. However, I weirdly enjoyed it? There was something so gripping and hooking about their set, and the music may have been synthetically produced but you could tell the immaculate thought and talent which had gone into it. The band felt like they’d jumped straight out of an underground 80s dance club, with this synthetic dance vibe to the tracks. Politically harsh and gripping, the lyrics touched on something more socially aware and intriguing, which I really liked. Opening one of their tracks with the line ‘if you voted Tory, you’re a nonce,’ the band refused to shy away from a boldly political left wing stance. I think the thing that drew me in to their set was the cockiness and confidence which Hotel Lux too had exhumed so well. The Rhythm Method were tight and impeccable in their sound; normally I’d say that can’t be hard with synth, but their set was just as much about image and performance as music quality, which they delivered extremely well. I would like to see the band live again at some point, but they still haven’t swayed me to synth music completely…still need some convincing!
One thing which made Wednesday evening for me was the audience at the gig; a beautifully artistic avant-garde audience, it felt like a vintage New Romantics gig, lots of red eye shadow and platform boots and berets and velvet knocking about. What I love about gigs, especially in the stunning capital, is how free it is for people to be as unique and out there as they want. There was a very 80s New Romantics feel to the night, very Vivienne Westwood/ HMLTD vibes, and this feel of art
and fashion and creativity came into its own element completely when shame took to the stage. I first saw the band at Reading festival this summer, but seeing them on a large festival stage is no way near comparable to seeing them in an intimate sweaty venue such as Scala. They were insane from the off, using heavy blaring riffs and a manic deranged style to entice and excite and energise the crowd. Moshing, crowd surfing and jumping into the crowd are classic acts at a shame gig it seems, with this rowdiness there from track one. Similar to bands like October Drift and Avalanche Party, I loved the pure gritty edge shame have live. Their setlist was fantastic too; for me, The Lick was my favourite track, not just because I love the live version to pieces, but because the wittiness and sharp tongued humour and satire of the lyrics rips through the raw underlying riff to create a pure masterpiece. Other tracks on the band’s setlist included Concrete, Tasteless and Gold Hole; the riotous blur that was shame live was really exciting and intense to be a part of. Got covered in beer (at least I hope it was beer?) and ended up an absolute state, but it was so worth it.
shame play America and Europe between now and December. Pick up tickets here