A night of euphoric indie Brit Pop, infused with elements of vigorous and emphatic punk and bluesy rock’n’roll, last Thursday night saw JuiceBox and JW Paris take the stage at East London’s Werkhaus. Werkhaus is a new warehouse-style, subculture-philosophy inspired DIY venue on Brick Lane, with recent bookings including upcoming DIY artists like Rascalton, Dutch Mustard and Scary Lemons, and future gigs featuring artists like Strange Cages, Phobophopbes, GETRZ and Cavalcade. Last week was a very special night, as two of London’s most popular indie rock bands came together to play
Opening the gig were JW Paris, who are now going forward as a two-piece collective, composed of vocalist and lead guitarist Daniel Collins, and vocalist and bassist Aaron Forde. Their live presence is deafening, and the tight synchronicity and articulate aura they have when playing is all the more amplified by the richness of their sound. Their sound can really be described as a multitude of genres, as they blend blues and punk elements into a classically indie rock sound, which live is captivating and enticing. Their set included older tracks that fans know well like Radio, Rapture,and Darker Side Of Paradise, as well as the newly released Fly, and previously unheard tracks That’s Why and Sober. JW Paris craft bluesy, grimy rock and roll twisted into a kaleidoscopic blur of 90s grunge, and this vivacious and fresh sound was all the more so powerful and enticing when played live on stage
Headliners JuiceBox put on an incredible set, the four piece drawing a huge crowd to the gig. Their sound is one that is vivid and scatty, blending indie rock with more classic Brit Pop and rock’n’roll elements. Their style is very riff based and chorus heavy, all the components of a good indie rock track solidly present within their entire sound and style as a band. A personal highlight of the set was JuiceBox’s rendition of Nick Cave’s Red Right Hand, the band putting a special spin on it and performing the track in the heavier, dirtier style embodied in the Arctic Monkeys cover. JuiceBox seemed a lot scattier and heavier this gig round, more so leaning towards an industrial-rock style with this gig. They have a very well crafted attitude and sharp demeanour as well, which helped amp up the impressionable and enticing stage presence they have
You can see JW Paris and Juicebox together for Benumu at Camden Assembly on October 27th, 2019
A night of pure euphoria, immersive psychedelia, and a trippy feel of love glowing around the O2 Arena, Saturday night saw psychedelic royalty Tame Impala grace London for the first time since last summer
The project is led by Kevin Parker, who creates, records and produces every piece of Tame Impala music; translated on stage, he uses an immense band who mix guitars with dreamy synthetics to create a subtle psychedelic pop aura. The meticulous tightness of the way Tame Impala play is astounding; every last note played in perfect synchronicity, which creates a strange and weird bubble of glowing synths, the music alone giving audience members a definite high feeling. Swirling his day dream vocals through each track, Kevin Parker performs like a true creator and artist; quite shy and reserved in his playing, yet the daring confidence and vibrancy of his music glowing around the entirety of the sold out arena
What was most mesmerising about the performance was the light show Tame Impala put on; in the backdrop of the stage, a psychedelic arts screen was playing, filming the band in motion, whilst distorting it into an array of vibrant rainbow colours. The first time I saw Tame Impala, it was supporting Arctic Monkeys in 2015, and on the stage-screens they had a more realistic image, projecting surreal images up, such as a skull being used as a fruit bowl, and so on. The current backdrop they have is just as surreal and psychedelic, but far more immersive and stunning. This was accompanied by a magnificent laser light show, each piercing light beaming out into the arena in exact sync with the music. It was reminiscent of a shower of shooting stars, each laser beam glimmering through the venue like fairy dust. As hazy and lucid as the set was, amplified by the consistent use of reverb and fuzz effects, the sharpness and brightness of the lasers pulled the entire audience into their light; the feeling from this was just one of pure magical euphoria, their set one cosmic explosion. The most spectacular part of the performance for me was the last six songs, where the lights and music seemed to hit in a different way, a wave of complete euphoria splashing over the crowd as they played Eventually, It Is Not Meant To Be, Borderline, Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind?, Feels Like We Only Go Backwards, and finally ending their stunning set with New Person, Same Old Mistakes; to me, this last fraction of the show was the most breathtaking and magical part of the night
Tame Impala also played tracks like Elephant, The Moment and Apocalypse Dreams, opening with the famed crowd pleaser Let It Happen
The whole night was full of precious vibes, and my memory of the gig still feels like a euphoric high. Bands like Tame Impala really make you believe that magic is real
Last night, London’s Scala was packed for what was arguably the most anticipated gig of the year, certainly of the month; upon selling out The Lexington and The Garage last year, The Blinders returned to the capital with a blinding Scala headline. Ambitious and bold, yet naturally triumphant, the Doncaster trio blew the roof off the venue, with support from the formidable Kid Kapichi and The Ninth Wave
Kid Kapichi opened the gig, and set an incredibly powerful precedent for the rowdy punk vigour which was to follow when The Blinders took to the stage. Full of valour and a nasty grungy zest, the heaviness and deafening riffs from the four piece was overwhelming, monstrous and unruly in nature. I saw them last week supporting Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, and seeing them jump from a 200 capacity venue to an 800 capacity one had a very natural feel to it; you can tell by the passion and angst embedded in their music that the band feel their music, and this resonated brilliantly with the receptive and passionate audience, a good few of whom had clearly attended the gig just to catch the band who are on everyone’s lips right now (myself included). The band’s set list was comprised of tracks like 2019, Glitterati, Jack Jones, Take It On The Chin, and personal favourites Puppet Strings and Revolver. Demolishing the stage in their heavy footed vicious stride, the energy and wild vigour Kid Kapichi possess live is dynamic, and the ear-splitting valour they have is bold and impassioned. They have a very special and unique dynamism to them, and it’s the lyrically forceful brutality and scarring, emphatic heaviness of the riffs which makes them so engaging and truly brilliant. Kid Kapichi – you are a fucking special band.
Next to play were The Ninth Wave, a band who are being hotly tipped left, right and centre. They lacked the scatty edge and punk DIY grit that Kid Kapichi embodied so heavily, but were more so a vocals based, artsy synth-punk band. Immediately resonating an 80s aura in terms of their look, they focused on harmonies and actual singing a lot more; the tuneless shouting and cocky punk screeches a lot of bands encapsulate at the moment is one of my favourite elements of rock music, but it was quite refreshing to see a band whose auras focused around the paired vocals of Amelia and Haydyn, Haydn’s vocals extremely reminiscent of HMLTD vocalist Henry Spychalski. The Ninth Wave used a lot of guitar licks layered over heavy synth patterns, which, whilst lovely to listen to, did seem to merge into one sound overall, which I would have liked to see adapt and evolve as their set went on.
And finally for The Blinders; a band Indie Underground has tipped for years now. Seeing them in a practically sold out Scala was incredibly overwhelming, as was seeing the overzealous crowd who seemed to crave the band, moshing and singing away to every track – you know you’re on the way to something special when people sing your own riffs back at you, a crowd reaction most prominent when they played Swine and Ramona Flowers. The Blinders’ talent really is immense; they possess such a wonderfully retro punk sound, which when played live just crashes into a raucous bubble of dirty riffs and slitting scarring vocals.
Black paint smeared down on his face, Thomas repeatedly took to the crowd in his unique stance, taking in the audience with his sultry gaze as he screeched political sirens at them. The politicised darkness to the band, fuelled by moaning sirens and anti-authoritarianism mantras which ran for a good few minutes before the band took to the stage, gives them a certain sense of depth and interest, which is always extremely exciting to see on stage as crowds react differently to them each time they play. Last night’s crowd was full of moshing, the insatiable urges of fans at one point turning the entire standing section of the venue into one huge circle pit. Sweaty and rowdy, The Blinders played a ridiculously good set list, including performances of Hate Song, Brutus, ICB Blues, and a couple of new tracks.
Deafening and violent, the band were blinding, and seeing them in the iconic Scala was a very proud moment; keep up to date with The Blinders here
Thunderous, sweaty moshpits at any gig are always something special; try that at a secret Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes gig in East London’s tiniest underground venue, the Sebright Arms. Presented by Jack Saunders, whose radio show on BBC1 and Hopscotch gig nights have a seminal reputation for introducing people to the best fresh new talent the DIY scene has to offer, the event featured live sets from Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, and support from three bands who could all battle it out for the prize of best new artist in the UK (and come out even); Calva Louise, Kid Kapichi, & Weird Milk. In attendance, members of Nova Twins and Strange Bones were at the gig, as well as a multitude of DIY writers and photographers who have always played an integral part to gigs at the Sebright Arms, and the live circuit it supports
Opening up the night, we were introduced to Weird Milk, a wonderfully tight and vehement act. So tight and meticulous in their playing, each track was ethereal in nature. Weird Milk create a very unique and special strand of music, with each track twisting and evolving as it goes on; this quality is extremely elusive as it requires completely perfect synchronicity in a band, something Weird Milk do with ease. What struck me most about their set was how strongly they felt the music. To love and enjoy playing is one thing, but you could see the passion and emotion on their faces as they physically felt and understood the music, a feeling which certainly translated across to the audience. Their sound embodies, on a first listen, am ambiguous retro vibe, each track nodding its head to 60s/70s rock’n’roll, yet the freshness and youthfulness of it makes it feel a lot more modern; dreamily ethereal, the band’s sultry hedonism is delicately tapped back into a more sharp focus, and the clean and clever way in which their tracks work could entice me forever. The vocal range of Zach and Alex was a joy to listen to also, flitting from dreamy harmonies to more scarring and vivacious projections – Weird Milk have today released their new single Anything You Want, and it’s a beauty. Listen and stream here
Kid Kapichi were the next band to play, and they bulldozed ahead, obliterating the stage to shards in the process. Striking and provocative, there was a naturally feral, raucous angst embedded in their set. A distinctive contrast to Weird Milk, the vocals are a lot more hammering and aggressive, wild old school punk shouting used to build up hype and a sense of violent on-stage anguish. The energy Kid Kapichi have was unbelievable, the untamed raw intensity no doubt fuelled by the mosh pits and head banging in the audience with ensued the second the band took to the stage. The cramped sweaty nature of the venue was all the more accentuated as they played, with the audience getting rowdier and more passionate as their set went on. Almost like cult-classics, each track Kid Kapichi played was drowned out by deafening audience reactions, fans screaming along and moshing in perfect sync with the thudding riffs and spitting lyrics. It was a cocky and abrasive set, wonderfully punk in all senses of the word. Howling and explosive, please keep an eye on the band who are building for themselves a shit-hot reputation in the world of alt-punk
And the ‘headliners’ of the night were old favourites, Calva Louise. Fresh off the release of their debut album Rhinoceros, Calva Louise have spent the last couple of months storming through the UK with sold out shows and blow off live events, including a string of dates with Kid Kapichi prior to last night. As always, the band excelled, and they seem to do this every time I see them live; the tightness of Alizon and Jess (bass and lead guitar respectively) was particularly strong last night, the impeccable sharpness of Ben’s drumming complimenting every fuzzy twist and turn Jess chose to take. The band played a chunk of their album material, Getting Closer and I’m Gonna Do Well naturally making an appearance, as well as favorites of mine No Hay, Outrageous and Cruel Girl. The sonic buzz saw riffs paired with Jess’s screeching glass shard vocals give the band a gritty scathing edge, and paired with the impeccable sound engineering from the band’s sound guy Alex, it’s near impossible for this band to sound bad. They fuse clever pop licks with a dirty punk valour, and this buzzing distorted sound shook the venue to bits last night
And then, for the final act of the night. This act had been announced and advertised as Tyrant Lizard King, which is actually the title of a 2019 Rattlesnakes track, and there was a lot of speculation as to who this band was in the run up to the gig – there had been a few rumours flying around, and certainly some word of mouth buzz, but no one could have predicted that they would be spending their Tuesday night watching Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes in a 150 capacity venue. The intimacy of the set was overwhelming, mostly due to the fact that the Rattlesnakes inevitably have rowdy circle pits, crowd surfing, and moshing, which was amplified a hundred times over in such a small space. Sweat and blood bounced off the ceiling, which as gross as it sounds was an integral part to the wonderful atmosphere inside the room. Drenched in sweat, Frank Carter was crowdsurfing from the first track in, his hands and feet climbing along the ceiling as crazed fans moshed and jumped underneath him, in beat to the hectic riotous riffs from the band. They played one of the best set lists I’ve seen them play, their set including tracks like Juggernaut, I Hate You, Wild Flowers, Lullaby, Devil Inside Me, and Crowbar. Pounding and intense, nothing really beats a Rattlesnakes pit; when the band played Jackals, lead guitarist Dean jumped out into the middle of the pit, with fans running a circle pit around him. And in true Frank Carter style also, he had a girls only mosh pit at one point in the gig, whilst imploring the vital importance of gigs (of all places) being a safe space for women. As intense and wild as ever, this was easily the best, and sweatiest, Rattlesnakes gig I’ve been to
Blinding and raucous from the very start, Jack Saunders smashed it with his line-up, and remains one of the best people in the rock industry for discovering new bands…or just for helping you see four of your favourite artists for free in a tiny venue. Keep up to date with him and his wonderful work here here
Photos by the incredible Keira Cullinane & Esme Bones
It’s that magical time of the year again – Independent Venue Week. A yearly occurrence where DIY venues, artists, and fans dedicate themselves to supporting the grassroots scene which as we all know, comes under threat time and time again. The Horn last year had a spectacular week of gigs, with bands like Spring King & Fizzy Blood playing the venue, the year before that having artists like Strange Bones, Concrete Caverns and BlackWaters playing. This year has kept up the venue’s impeccable reputation for IVW, in particular last night with Pip Blom blowing the packed-out venue away with their sultry, authentic rock’n’roll quirkiness.
A wave of delightfully nostalgic indie, Pip Blom were enigmatic and electric on that stage, a breezy ripple of fun energy and light heartedness emitted throughout. Their sound transmits an overwhelming feel of nostalgia, quite similar to artists like The Big Moon, Zuzu and The Magic Gang. On stage, their set had a cute quirky feel to it, which was refreshing; lead singer Pip fuses a cheeky teenage angst with something vibey and spirited, her fresh licks of guitar mirroring the buzzsaw riffs and loops from the rest of the band. Tracks like I Think I’m In Love and Pussycat feel so 70s in nature, pop-tinged beauty flowing effortlessly as the band played. The dizzy hazy pop sound Pip Blom create is really special, as it meshes their cheecky indie bite, a whirlwind of emotions stirred up in their sound. The Amsterdam quartet are revolving in a very special little bubble, and excelled perfectly on The Horn’s stage; yet another excellent addition to the venue’s IVW legacy
Down in the gritty and authentically retro venue that is The Macbeth down in Shoreditch, last night saw This Feeling’s best showcase in a long time, as Sophie & The Giants, BlackWaters and Yonaka took to the stage, the cramped intimacy of the venue combined with the eclectic genre of live music creating a very special atmosphere. There’s a dominant confidence that resonates live in each artist, who all have a indie base to their music, Sophie & The Giants infusing this with a cocktail of swirly pop synthetics, with BlackWaters and Yonaka leaning towards a vivacious punk eccentricity
Sophie & The Giants opened up the night, their enigmatic energy flitting between dreamy indie pop and synthetic choruses, screaming of low-fi ambience. Whilst not as jagged or avant-garde as a lot of new bands stealthily circling the music scene at the moment are, Sophie & The Giants have maintained a consistency in their sound and image, their pop haziness eluding a very interesting on stage aura. Intriguingly catchy and with an instant melodic appeal, Sophie & The Giants are perfect for pop fans who are craving something a bit more edgy and vibrant, an elegant aesthetic warmly intertwined in this band’s entire aura
BlackWaters were next, scarring the audience with their scatty chaos. They have always embodied a raucous, messy passion when playing, and manage to create an old school punk vivacity almost effortlessly. This uncaring, abrasive sharpness is paramount to the evocative nature of punk music, and BlackWaters have a sleasy brawling riotous edge which amplifies their disorderly, jarring grit. Given their rowdy punk flare, it would be intriguing to see the band explore something slightly more avant-garde, as their sound has matured into something a lot more eclectic since the last time I saw them – it would be interesting to see this grow into something more innovative
Brimming with an eccentric wildness, fuelled by dazzling grungy furore, Yonaka’s headline set was savage. This band are one of the most special live bands that I know, their live sets feeling almost biblical in that they are a pure experience. Ear splitting, broody riffs are used to evoke a burst of gritty post punk, Theresa’s sharp vocal overwhelmingly matching the deafening riffs and shock-wave drumming perfectly. The band played a variety of tracks, old tracks like Drongo and Ignorance making their way into the setlist, as well as Fired Up, Waves, Creature, and brand new track Rock Star. Genuinely one of those bands I could never tire from seeing live, the power of Theresa’s voice, accompanied by the confidence and sultriness of her on-stage presence evokes a raw, formidable presence, inspired by the lightning bolt of fiery energy that comes from the grungy riffs and bass lines, aggressive and rich in essence. From seeing them at The Horn two years ago to selling out The Electric Ballroom at the end of last year, the growth of this band has been incredibly inspiring to watch, and they have gone from supporting Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes and Bring Me The Horizon, to being sell out headline material in their own right. Seeing them in such an intimate setting once more was oddly nostalgic, as I know it is rarely going to happen again – a huge thank you to This Feeling for curating such a special night.
Gig rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Photos: no photographer source (please message if they are yours!)
Friday 23rd February was a truly special night, a gig which one can only describe as an ‘I was there’ moment. The evening saw East London’s finest post punk triad, False Heads, officially launch their new single Retina, a track which has been sending shock waves through the industry. Following on from a series of tour dates with Strange Bones, False Heads have been playing up and down the United Kingdom for the last month or so, and Friday night saw them play their biggest headline gig to date at Camden’s Dingwalls.
I’ve been following this band live for around a year and a half now, seeing them progress from playing tiny support slots in 2016 to gigging at Reading festival for This Feeling and supporting Josh Homme at ULU for The Nick Alexander Memorial Trust; but nothing was more special than this Dingwalls headline gig. The venue was packed from the off, the room buzzing with a strangely apprehensive atmosphere, one of excitement and anticipation. False Heads have a renowned reputation for vigour and energy, the band being uncaring and abrasive in their live aura. Vocalist Luke Griffiths has a cocky reckless edge, his heavy guitar riffs complimented perfectly by the brutal spitting vocal he possesses. Live, his angst and energy translates across to the audience with ease, matched effortlessly by bassist Jake Elliott and drummer Barney Nash, both thrashing and angry in their own right.
The band opened with relatively new track Whatever You Please, a track delicately cutting and brooding, with a rough softness to it. The track has an element of build up to it, which makes it the perfect opening track for them. With ease it flowed into Fall Around, then Yellow and Twentynothing, each track packed with a crass and cutting punk grit. Yellow is a favourite of mine live, the fast upbeat chorus contrasting the thudding crashing nature of the verses. The next track the band played was Retina, which was released earlier on this month; the track has a vicious, mesmerising quality and is already a strong contender for the best False Heads riff. The lyrics are brutal and full of gritty angst, mirrored by the grungy bass line played by Jake which sets the tone of the track. Lines like ‘sew the other shut, mongrel or a mutt?’ and ‘set my retina off, tastes like metal’ have that raspy gritty bite integral to the band’s sound. Inspired by an acid trip and ‘manoeuvring your way through your mind,’ it’s the construction of Retina, and its flawless live execution, which give it such an exciting quality. The riff mid way through rips the track apart, Barney’s harrowing backup vocal gliding over the sharpness of Luke’s lead guitar. Live, the execution of this was intense, an electric spark embedded in it.
The band continued with Slew and Weigh In, the ending guitar note of Weigh In naturally turning in a heartbeat into the opening note of Wrap Up. Wrap Up is always thrilling live, and probably has the most evocative feel of explosive angst in their set. The performance of this saw Luke jumping into the audience and crowd surfing, before ending that killer guitar solo by recklessly throwing his guitar onto the amps and knocking them over, proceeding to jump onto Barney and the drum kit. The way they play live en-captures the essence of pure punk, their sound and live auras alike giving the band an old school sense of punk nostalgia. Getting the crowd to all crouch down as he screamed ‘and I had plans but they all fell through’ was a cleverly thought out move from Luke, as the entire audience followed this instruction, making for a blinding mosh pit as the chorus in Wrap Up dropped. From the very first track, the audience was dancing and moshing, the venue completely packed out; for a grassroots DIY band, this gig was blinding to say the least.
False Heads always put on a show as good as Friday’s was, yet this was the first time the audience was as receptive and excited as the band were, each member of the crowd feeding off the angst and passion the band were emitting. It was an honour and pleasure to see the band live again, and a reality check that their times of playing small venues is coming to a swift, and thoroughly well deserved, end.
Retina is out now, and available to stream/ purchase here
Purchase a limited edition red vinyl of Retina with b-side Said and Done (recorded at Parlophone Records) via Vallance Records here