A one-line review of every gig I’ve been to in January 2023

This monthly series is probably more for my benefit than yours, but maybe your interest will be piqued by one of the reviews. Maybe you’ll scroll straight past. Maybe you’ll unsubscribe thinking what did I see in this blog in the first place?

First off, I saw simply loads of stuff at Rockaway Beach in early January, including OMD, Self Esteem, Peter Hook, The Anchoress, Panic Shack, Modern Woman and much much more. I reviewed all that here.

The author enjoying Panic Shack and his first beer at Rockaway Beach 2023.

Handcuff, Walthamstow Trades Hall, Walthamstow, 12 January – Simply very enjoyable and suitably raucous hardcore punk.

Handcuff at Walthamstow Trades Hall

The “Untitled Band” Project appearing as Menstrual Menagerie, Walthamstow Trades Hall, Walthamstow, 12 January – I think they get tighter and more organised each time I see them – standout song remains The Worst Day which is very good indeed. There was a special shot you could buy on the night in honour of the name, but unlike the time they appeared as Sugarpiss and there was a delicious apple sours-based Sugarpiss cocktail on offer, I did not go to the bar and say “Can I have a shot of Menstrual Menagerie please, bartender?”

The Ethical Debating Society, The Waiting Room, Stoke Newington, 13 January – I’d seen them before in April last year and it is punky with politically-minded lyrics and a very enjoyable racket.

The Ethical Debating Society at the Waiting Room, Stoke Newington

Charley Stone with an Actual Band, The Waiting Room, Stoke Newington, 13 January – The first time I’ve seen Charley Stone with the band, which gave it a harder sound, also one million bonus points awarded for doing an extremely obscure Duran Duran cover version, Box Full O’ Honey, from the Red Carpet Massacre era.

Charley Stone and the Actual Band at the Waiting Room, Stoke Newington

Keith TOTP and his Minor UK Indie Celebrity All-Star Backing Band, The Waiting Room, Stoke Newington, 13 January – I didn’t stay to the end of this as I am OLD and TIRED but there were 1,057 guitarists on the tiny stage and everyone was having fun and singing about meaningless sex.

Bona Rays, The Lexington, Islington, 29 January – A rediscovered punk band playing their first show for 40-odd years – and newly with an old friend of mine Mark from my record shop days on bass guitar – this was great and Chas Hines was incredibly charismatic and accomplished as frontperson. You should read this Quietus feature about them.

Bona Rays at the Lexington

Bad Fractals, The Lexington, Islington, 29 January – There was a crowd really into this but it was a bit like being at somebody else’s party for me, turbo-charged more-punky early Red Hot Chilli Peppers sort of sounding stuff, not for me at all.

Bad Fractals at the Lexington

Art Trip and the Static Sound, The Lexington, Islington, 29 January – With a singer dressed as Catwoman and songs about Windrush/Rwanda and an exhortation to take up arms to take down the establishment this was radical and I loved it.

Art Trip and The Static Sound at the Lexington

Zofff, The Lexington, Islington, 29 January – Enjoyable psych/kosmische, improvised to an extent I guess, with occasional unexpected treated trumpet in the bagging area.

ZOFFF at the Lexington

The Bevis Frond, The Lexington, Islington, 29 January – I used to work in Reckless Records back in the 90s, and The Bevis Frond was one of the acts on the associated label so we used to always have the albums in stock, and of course Nick Saloman is from Walthamstow too like me, but I’d never seen him live so it was good to square that circle after many years. The whole event was a celebration of 25 years of Flashback Records, which my friend Mark runs, and I had a brilliant night.

The Bevis Frond at the Lexington