My first visit to the Fluffer Pit Party series held in downtown Dalston, home to the hipsters who can’t afford to live in London’s Hoxton.
Tonight’s trio of dynamic bands took to the in-the-round stage aiming to raise the temperature of the room to boiling. I was expecting a mosh pit to end all mosh pits as I walked into an old 1950s dance hall that looked like it was a set from Fight Club. All promising so far.
First up Peckham’s monster band Yowl. Any band with a track called “Travelling Murder Circus” is going to get my attention. Tunes play in your head like that cramp you used to get when you were made to run 1,500 metres at school sports day. I’d file them alongside Nick Cave or Stuart A Staples for the darkness of those deep rumbling vocals – even though songs weren’t quite as morose. If you want a comparison, you can take your pick of any post-punk band who combines ponderous pregnant bass and drums with “chanky” guitar parts. They came, they saw, they conquered. I subsequently had a Facebook conversation with their manager about the joys of flashguns and gig photography. She’s got talent, too. Solid stuff.
Bad Breeding inhabit a dark place. They offer a melange of sinister, whiny guitar and thumping bass behind a vocal that is neither singing nor screaming. I felt that they really want to be a hardcore band, but if they want to do that properly they probably need to watch Up River for inspiration. And get a load of tattoos. One song started with the classic “Rumble“ strip club guitar riff by Link Wray, but degenerated into playground noise….maybe the drummer had his first lesson earlier today. Perhaps being latter-day punks means that you don’t all have to play in the same-time signature, or are allowed to change rhythms between bars. I reckon they like to shake things up, even if most of the crowd seemed to be on Facebook by the time their last song finished.
Brian King and David Prowse from Vancouver. Now this is more like it. Japandroids to the rescue. They got the idea of the four-sided crowd just right by playing facing each other.
I’ve seen a lot of drummer plus guitar/vocalists recently, some of which have done an excellent job – Saint Phnx, Slaves and Tommy and Mary being three. Some of them just want to be Royal Blood – see Sons for that. However, Japandroids didn’t rely on a bank of loops and effects pedals. They’ve been together for more than ten years and don’t need any other duo for inspiration – if anything they are the Granddaddy of everything that has come along since. They belted out a set of post-punk songs worthy of any stage and that people like Fugazi, Husker Du, and The Sonics would be proud. This is what The Revue’s editor, Ben, said about their recent album in January:
- (Near To The Wild Heart Of Life) matches the sonic intensity of Springsteen’s Born To Run and Television’s Marquee Moon. Their songwriting, however, reaches another level, specifically the sweeping narration of Neil Young and the lyrical poignancy of David Byrne. Near To The Wild Heart Of Life, as such, is not just a great record; it likely will be one others will try to replicate in the future.
Just before “Younger Us”, Brian asked the crowd how many had been at their last UK gig in Shepherds Bush – and then told them half must be liars (I suspect they had a much smaller audience that night). That didn’t take away from the crowd’s excitement, as they were pounding their feet and, in some cases, getting them into the air along with a giant inflatable ball. A band that really should be out of the pit and playing in stadia.
Here’s a video shot by Clark Kent, who I bumped into in the pit. Thanks for forwarding it Clark. (The vocals really were that muffled).
- “Near to the Wild Heart of Life”
- “Fire’s Highway”
- “Heart Sweats”
- “Arc of Bar”
- “Wet Hair”
- “True Love”
- “Younger Us”
- “Midnight to Morning”
- “North East South West”
- “London Hates You”
- “Nights of Wine and Roses”
- “No Known Drink or Drug”
- “Young Hearts Spark Fire”
- “The House that Heaven Built”
Japandroids recently featured in TheRevue when they were on the other side of the world in July.
Marcus Jamieson-Pond is a regular contributor to TheRevue and has published over 200 gig photo-sets so far in 2017.
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