The joined forces of Saxon Zine
and Cool Brother…
Add free tinnies to any kind of marketing and you’re bound to get a good response, combine that with a killer headliner and you’ve got yourself a sold-out show. Oh, and it’s free entry… well everyone’s a winner baby. That’s what fellow zine-heads Saxon and Cool Brother curated for 3 consecutive Tuesday nights this April. So… forget April showers and spice up your week by filling it with the perspiration of a crowd in a dancing frenzy and modern music to round off your mundane day.
Opening the first night with a kick in the pants were Legss a four-piece from London. With an unconventional opening, the band didn’t hold back of their disregard for the orthodox diving straight in with a reading of supposed “hate mail” from the deranged and very descriptive mind of its author Angie Bentham. Whether this letter has any dystopian truth to it or not is left up to the listener to decide, but before they have a chance to think the band had begun their first number. Filling their setlist with songs unknown to many – bar perhaps a few regular purveyors of Legss – they performed a plethora of tracks with lyricism you’d expect to hear in any working man’s club and loaded with catch-you-off-guard breaks.
Almost imitating that Mark E Smith every man vocalism or the modern-day poetry of Baxter Dury, but without the charm, their songs are blunt, witty and sprayed with a splash of fun. The synchronisation of each element from guitar to drum to bass were key to their setlist’s success, given regular unexpected tune changes mid-song or recalls to riffs from two songs ago, and unsurprisingly their setup was faultless. Despite being on the obscure side, Legss take a disenchanted stance of everyday life through their music that might be hard to distinguish as fictious or not but is nonetheless catchy and comes in a shell choker (oh yeah did I mention they’re fashionable too…).
Following Legss were Blue Bendy, who although have been doing the rounds on the “obligatory” stages, have recently caused a buzz with their first online release ‘Closing Sound’ – which I am sure was in the setlist somewhere. Made up of six figures all poised behind their instrument of choice, their stage personas were a mish-mash of post-punk caricatures from a seated and shaded guitarist to figures wielding strange shaped instruments and a keyboardist rocking an over-sized suit. Matched quite nicely to their look was their sound, which is perhaps most accurately described as ‘miserable melodies’ with an added bit of Morrisey from their lead singer. As the set went on their aura of nonchalance was an unmissable feature, especially considering front man Arthur Nolan’s half crouch, half slouch silhouette, which no doubt had a part to play in the conception of their band name. While one can’t know exactly what a band are trying to get across, it’s like what one member of the crowd so rightly pointed out ‘I don’t know what they’re trying to do, I only know what I’m trying to hear’. So even if the blue or the bendy isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, they moved a substantial chunk of the crowd with their disjointed post-punk rhythms and melancholic adages.
Swiftly following on from the return of the crowd, after everyone seemingly made a quick pit stop to the smoking area or the bar, were Ushio an experimental project formed of duo Xaviers and Bo Ningen. Exploring the futuristic realm of post-rock, Ushio take the abilities of the most basic features of rock music – an electric guitar and a drum kit – and push them to their furthest extremes with the help of electrical tools such as pedals and drum pads. In amongst their trippier experimentation with sound are some solid grooves that seem to flood from their fingertips so flawlessly that they had to be spontaneous creations. Whether their tunes were practiced or not I guess we’ll never know, but what their intimate jam session did prove was just how much can be made from the simplest musical ingredients. Teetering on that fine line between being either a mockery of modern music or a figurehead of the modern art world, Ushio’s performance was an eye-opening peek into the direction music will soon have to take in order to sustain a new and exciting sound.
USHIO, PHOTO CREDS: JAKE LEWIS
Headlining the night were outlandish outlaws Sleep Eaters, who dressed in the finest of western style linen which made them look as if they could perform a mean jig at a barn dance while also being able to sling a gun as good as Shane. Loaded with swamp-rock cool these city slickers gave the Old Blue Last a headlining performance to remember and the chance to rough and tumble too. While Sleep Eaters are another band with minimal online presence, they make their name through performances up and down the country; where every stop they make they make a new set of fans. In doing so the fivesome have made quite the impression on the London music circuit with their name regularly popping up on various line-ups and often frequenting open mic-night at Andy Hank-Dog’s ‘Easy Come’ on a Wednesday night down in Skehans.
Playing tracks that have yet to see the light of day and already released number ‘Ghosts on Fire’, Sleep Eaters invited mayhem and punk infected Motown to fill the room and afflict their listeners. Taking inspo from a menagerie of country music luminaries and incorporating a tasteful amount of punk sleaze to their tracks, Sleep Eaters performance was a sensual rodeo drenched in classic punk cynicism that fits hand in hand with blues motifs. Despite only being a band for just gone a year, this fivesome look as if they know what they’re doing even if the audience can’t name one of their instruments or know exactly how to even attempt country guitar picking. Taking advantage of their skilful setup the crowd indulged in the band’s madness: mirroring the failing limbs of guitarists and singers Will and Glen – until one of them eventually fell over.
Ending the show sweaty yet stylish, and mostly uninjured, Sleep Eaters show off their ways to keep you awake until the wee hours of the night which certainly shouldn’t be refused. As only the first instalment of three-part event line-up, your attendance to the rest, humble reader, seems like a no-brainer.
Liven up your Tuesdays: https://www.facebook.com/events/832169910462721/?event_time_id=832169913796054
Blue Bendy – https://www.facebook.com/bluebendyband/
Sleep Eaters – https://www.facebook.com/sleepeatersband/
Words by Aimee Williams-Maynard