An overexcited female fan shouts over my shoulder, “Are you a lesbian?”, as Lucy Hatter of Kagoule appears from the dressing room, a full bottle of Becks in each hand. I’m assuming that question is directed at the stage and not at me or Paul, my colleague from The Revue, who is sitting next to me in the photographers’ pit.
The Scala is full (of teenagers) tonight – who are there to crowd surf and sing along to familiar indie anthems in between bands. Nottingham-based Kagoule are playing as the second support act for JAWS, and they play the role very well indeed.
The three piece of Cai Burns (guitar-vocals), Lawrence English (drums/art work), and Lucy (bass/vocals) are masters of their tight riff-based indie craft. They’ve been compared to the Pixies in the past – mainly down to thumping repetitive bass lines and heart-wrenching guitar, punctuated with Cai’s slightly whiny vocals from the Brian Moloko school. I hear the sound of the love child of Fugazi and Gang of Four. I love a man in a uniform.
Cai looks like he may have come from a day job as a car mechanic – as he wrenches the strings of his Yamaha guitar, resplendent in his grey boiler suit, his shock of blonde hair offsetting chiseled cheek bones. On the other side of the stage, Lucy lurches backwards and forwards to the mic stand to add her vocals in between convulsing over her instrument in time to Lawrence’s bass drum and intricate snare work. These guys are tight.
A way too short set treats us to spine-tingling tracks from their catalogue, including “Made of Concrete”, which I swore was being sung in Cantonese (I must get better ear plugs). Check out the sampler of their Urth album for a flavour of Kagoule. Every word sung in English.
At one point, Lucy tells the audience that she played their last gig at The Scala while sitting down because she had injured her leg and was unable to stand. By the end of the set tonight, she is lying on the stage having thrown all her energy into the performance. If ever there were marks for gig-effort, Kagoule would be close to a 10.
Kagoule have been around since most of tonight’s audience were leaving primary school, but they continue to be darlings of their generation. You can catch them again in London on 6th May at The Shacklewell Arms, which I suspect will be over 18s only(?).
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