A one-line review of every gig I’ve been to so far since lockdown ended
Nobody has asked for this, either. It is more for my benefit than yours, I guess. It’s a monthly series now too. Links go to the artist website. Maybe your interest will be piqued by one of the reviews. Maybe you’ll scroll straight past. Maybe you’ll unsubscribe thinking whatever did I ever see in this blog?
OMD, O2 Indigo, 19 June – I was lucky to get a ticket to go to my first live music show since I supported Pye Corner Audio in Walthamstow in March 2020, which I reckon is the longest gap I’ve gone between going to gigs since 1988 or something like that. It was socially distanced, very reduced capacity. I could definitely get used to seeing massive bands I love in small nearly empty venues with at-seat drinks service and plenty of room to dance. We should have pandemics more often*
Superstation Twatville, Walthamstow Trades Hall, 24 June – Always just on the right side of collapsing, this was an absolute riot of attitude and hilarious but serious songs like Insecure Edgelord about pricks on the internet and Fuck Off Patrick (You’ve Ruined Christmas Day) about sexual assault, also for a punk band they unexpectedly use the bass recorder as an instrument.
Sasha Scott, Walthamstow Trades Hall, 18 July – Experimental improvised electronic noise that was very much my thing.
Simon and the Spears, Walthamstow Trades Hall, 18 July – Post-punk songs with a stand-in bassist who bought a lot of energy with him, they were playing their latest album all the way through.
Gorran, Walthamstow Trades Hall, 18 July – Quite smooth pop, good voice, but not really my genre although my kids might have liked it.
MES, Walthamstow Trades Hall, 18 July – This was rap in the trap genre I think, mostly about cars and girls, and very much not my bag, although at one point he did a cover of Let’s Get It On by Marvin Gaye and revealed that underneath all the autotune he could really sing.
Lacquer, Studio 9294, Hackney, 24 July – I bought a ticket to go to an all-day event called A Love Parasite in about 1862 not really knowing any of the artists but liking the look of the names and a quick flick-through on Spotify, it was all sort of synth darkwave cold goth electronics, in fact my own stuff would have slotted in quite nicely into the bill. Obviously it got rescheduled 1,057 times. It opened with Lacquer, a solo project by Raquel Torre, here bolstered by a keyboard player, and it was in a warehouse by the canal in Hackney and this was a great start, really emotional songs but a cold hard sound, and I knew I was on for a good day.
M!R!M, Studio 9294, Hackney, 24 July – Enjoyed this, the singer played a gorgeous Vox teardrop bass and there was something a bit early-Talk Talk-ish about their sound, I liked it.
PC World, Studio 9294, Hackney, 24 July – Bonus points for the keyboard player wearing a Kate Bush t-shirt, this was quite angry political shouty electronica in the Nitzer Ebb/Front 242 vein which I didn’t warm to very much live but subsequently think they sound much better on record.
Jennifer Touch, Studio 9294, Hackney, 24 July – The best thing for me I saw on the day, she is from Berlin and does really quite elegant and plaintive vocals over some great dark miserable beats, it was very much in my area, and I got to speak to her briefly afterwards while we were watching the KVB, which was cool.
The KVB, Studio 9294, Hackney, 24 July – I really liked the KVB, a bit of Stereolab in there somewhere, a bit of 80s pop, a bit of A Place To Bury Strangers, good video show too. There were actually a couple more bands on that night but by the time the KVB finished I felt like it was 9.30pm, I’d had my money’s worth, and there was no need to try and stay up til 2am with the younglings. I’m 49, you know.
Charley Stone, The Lexington, Islington, 25 July – If you’ve been to any indie gigs in the last two decades you’ve probably seen Charley on guitar at some point in some band’s line-up, but this was apparently her first proper solo show, she’s an absolute delight live and she played Does She Mention Me? which was one of my on repeat lockdown songs of the summer.
Piney Gir, The Lexington, Islington, 25 July – I only bought a ticket to this to see Charley, so knew nothing about the other acts but Piney Gir is delightfully enjoyable 60s/70s psychedelic pop with a touch of the B52s, and it was exuberant fun. Would definitely go and see her again.
tim Ten YEN, The Lexington, Islington, 25 July – One of those shows where you don’t know an artist and everybody else in the crowd is absolutely word perfect and in rapture that he had come out of semi-retirement for his first show in years and you feel very much like you are at somebody else’s party.
Desperate Journalist, Rough Trade East, Shoreditch, 28 July – One of my favourite bands of the last decade playing some tracks from their new album and some surprise golden oldies in a short album launch in-store set.
Martin Christie, The Water Rats, Kings Cross, 29 July – Martin has been instrumental in setting up the Electronic Music Open Mic scene so only fitting he gets to open the show with his political spoken word/poetry over an electronic backing.
Buck Theorum, The Water Rats, Kings Cross, 29 July – I’ve seen Buck Theorum before at an open mic, and he had some tech troubles here but his new material sounds extremely dark and menacing and I like that a lot.
Stars, The Water Rats, Kings Cross, 29 July – Stars comperes the EMOM with Martin, and plays her own song-driven electronica, which is very nice and quietly pop-ish.
Linus Fitness-Centre, The Water Rats, Kings Cross, 29 July – I’m a big fan of Linus’ music and the energy he puts into a performance but he was plagued by the sound engineer here so I will have to go and see him again somewhere else.
Didactic MK, The Water Rats, Kings Cross, 29 July – The electronic open mic nights also often attract rap and hip-hop artists and Didactic MK was good value, getting some call and response going with the audience for her very thoughtful and somewhat melancholic reflections on life.
Project CONCUBINE, The Water Rats, Kings Cross, 29 July – I really liked this visually and musically, dark and brooding and oddball and perverted and I would definitely seek out a full gig from them.
Nova Halo, The Water Rats, Kings Cross, 29 July – Sparkling electronica although I was a bit pre-occupied with getting ready to do the m-orchestra slot so didn’t give it my full attention.
Forced Fun, Walthamstow Trades Hall, 30 July – Extremely wry and entertaining, half-sung, half-spoken, half-political, the fun didn’t feel that forced at all.
Fell, Walthamstow Trades Hall, 30 July – Good strong songs and perfectly enjoyable from Nicolas Burrows and company.
Firestations, Walthamstow Trades Hall, 30 July – I drifted away a bit tired from this after a couple of songs and it being my third gig in three days including having played at the Water Rats, sounded good if veering a little too much into jazzy noodlings for my regular taste.
* We should not.