I am not a nostalgic person, but that night at the Hope and Anchor in Islington really makes me want to move back to London and spend my evenings in dark venues up to four times a week, just as I did when I was writing for music magazines. Nowadays, I no longer get in for free and have to add the train and tube fares to my budget – and I am so busy with my own projects that I wouldn’t find the time to write as many music articles as I did back then!
Therefore, I choose the events I attend very carefully. And tonight, I congratulate myself on my choice.
There are quite a few familiar faces on stage and in the audience, people we have seen on stage numerous times. These are people who have had the courage to keep their creative flames alive despite all the obstacles and setbacks faced by musicians nowadays. In a society that is reversing to the relative comfort of conservative attitudes and is embracing a sinister brand of global blandness and trend-led consumerism, it is reassuring and genuinely heartwarming to find yourself in the company of people who create such thrilling work. Because yes, it was a thrilling evening indeed, full of fantastic and innovative music. Every single one of the bands tonight deserve a bigger audience and a larger venue!
The photos are not as good as I'd want them to be, unfortunately (light was too low for the camera...).
One of Geeta’s songs is called Goose bumps (featured in the teaser video below). How very fitting for such a fascinating performance that mixes vocal prowess, keyboards and electronic sounds! Hailing from Montreal, Geeta is an experienced multi-instrumentalist, singer, artist and producer who has worked extensively on the international art scene. Tonight, she is performing in the poorly lit basement of a pub, and she still manages to capture our imagination and bewitch our senses with her otherworldly songs that pierce the gloom to bring enlightenment to our ears. A natural heir to pioneer Björk – producing electronic music that sounds incredibly organic and close to nature and the universe – Geeta throws herself into her performance with a raw intensity. A real gem.
Will Crewdson is a busy man, and has been for years. I first knew him as the guitarist for fabulous glam-rockers Rachel Stamp, but he has played with so many people that the list is too long to type here (if you’re interested, go to his bio on the Scant Regard website); not surprising though: he’s probably one of the best guitarists around at the moment and looks effortlessly cool at any one time. He is currently very active with the fledgling new wave/electro band he has formed with Shaheena Dax (also ex-Rachel Stamp), She Made Me Do It.
Scant Regard is Will's solo instrumental project in which he is free to experiment with electronics and samples as well as show off his guitar skills. It’s really original, catchy, experimental and cinematic. I love the video for the addictive Sneaking into Godforsaken Territory (see below!), full of vintage footage of vintage fashion and pin-ups which remind me of the books I sell on my stall!
One could describe Prude as a supergroup, the cauldron in which is brewed an explosive musical potion of rock’n’roll and industrial: fronted by an unbelievably charismatic Jared Louche (ex-Chemlab, artist, storyteller, performance artist and educationalist), Prude consists of Louche, Matt Fanale (Caustic), Marc “Plastic” Olivier (Plastic Heroes), Phil DiSiena (Infocollapse, Cyanotic), Howie Beno and Christophe Deschamps, all experienced individuals who have been involved in music for years. They have just released their terrific first album, The Dark Age of Consent, a thrilling vortex of abrasive electronics, rock’n’roll histrionics, groovy melodies and wordy, sharp lyrics – we get a glimpse of Mr Louche the poet. I love musicians who mess up with your head and create a surprise with each and every track. With their eclectic sound and their tendency to revel in the darkest recesses of human nature and the sleaziness that comes with it, Prude remind me of other industrial/rock supergroups Pigface and Revolting Cocks, which can only be a positive thing!
Tonight, Mr Deschamps is on drums, guitarist extraordinaire Marc Plastic provides the grooves and Jared Louche gives a pretty flamboyant performance. The rock is turned up and the electronics down, but this doesn’t prevent us from appreciating the terrific tracks. As I watch Prude play in the tiny space, with the heat and the music building up like inside a pressure cooker, I cannot help thinking that if they carry on at this pace, the Hope and Anchor will end up imploding! Prude’s ambition deserves a bigger venue.
See you in the front row!
I have been looking forward to seeing Black Volition play live, and they are even better than I was expecting.
After the swaggering confidence of Prude, the tone of the evening changes as the atmosphere thickens like the darkest of full-bodied Bourbons. The core members of BV are Will Crewdson and Reza Udhin (founding member of Inertia and keyboardist for the iconic Killing Joke since 2005). Live, they are joined by Roi from North London-based electro band Mechanical Cabaret, accompanied by Spike T Smith (The Damned, Morrissey) on drums and Gary Day (Morrissey, The Gazmen) on double bass (a fantastic vintage-looking specimen!).
It was thrilling to listen to and fascinating to watch: the band members really gel together and there is an unmistakable chemistry between them as they play their beautiful songs. Black Volition describe their sound as taking “a trip through the sleepy towns, lonesome woods and dark cabaret of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. Then transport yourself to the back streets and gloomy swamps of a vampire-ridden Louisiana in True Blood via a desert valley of spaghetti westerns”, and I couldn’t put it any better myself. It’s haunting (Underground Cities) and utterly, utterly seductive. This is what a walk around the deserted set of Hollywood’s latest Film Noir would have felt like in the Golden Days of cinema, with a pervading menace just vaguely perceptible underneath the surface (Hands on You). On debut single Rivers (video below), Will’s guitar is full of western-tinged flights of fancy and it’s impossibly catchy. The Rain, featuring performance poet Danni Antagonist, is a thundering, brooding gem of a track that stays with you a long time after it has been performed. Gripping stuff!
This is subtle, multi-layered and nuanced music. The cinematic quality is undeniable, and if the Peaky Blinders editors still needed a few tracks to add to the series, then they should really have a word or two with Black Volition. For my part, I am waiting for the first album with impatience and hope to see BV live again very, very soon.
I think therefore I write.
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