The charity provides shelters and advice to women who are the victims of domestic abuse in the UK. It supports more than 10,000 women and children per year.
The annual event is hosted by Roadkill Records – the DIY label run by Josh Cooper. It was admirably compared by a member of the Solace Team called Twix, who battled to ensure the fundraising raffle went off smoothly and got the bands on stage at the right times.
The Sly Persuaders
First up were one of Josh’s bands – The Sly Persuaders. “They’ve got a uniform on”, declares a wag behind me in the crowd. True, they were all dressed in standard rock and roll black, and Chris, the front man, has a great ’50s quiff.
Songs are driven by heavy fuzzy bass and two guitars. On their first song “Fool”, I thought there was a second bass hiding in the wings until I realized one of the guitarists was bashing that sound out on a handy synth.
“Hey Faustus!” started with Cozy Powell‘s drums and a bass line that could knock down the walls of the Colosseum. Appropriate shout outs of “Heys” provide the backing vocals. The total effect was to create a soundtrack that would be good any Christians v Lions movie. Due to my ear plugs, I have no idea what the lyrics were about though.
On “Steve McQueen”, they were joined by Kitty, the singer from Saint Agnes, who banged a tambourine and shook a few things. I found myself singing, “I’ve been high and I’ve been low and I don’t know where to go”, over it (again not knowing the words). I was indeed mouthing “Birth School Work Death” by The Godfathers, who had been on the same stage back in February.
Have to also admit to liking their riffy “Black River”. I think Chris told us it was about zero hours contracts. Interesting subject. How very millennial.
The Sly Persuaders are a solid indie/garage band with good tunes – and probably great lyrics.
The Wild Things
This was my fourth or fifth time shooting The Wild Things this year, and I still enjoy them as much as the first time.
They’ve sharpened up their image a bit – and now have an accompanying set of light bulbs on poles on stage. The set kicked off with some familiar heavy, guitar-riff, indie-rock tunes with Rob in his blue boiler suit pulling some Chuck Berry poses. The Wild Things are masters of the indie ear worm. Just listen to “I Think You Can Do Better” or “Tell Me Why” and see if you are singing those riffs and choruses tomorrow.
Suddenly a softer side appeared. Syd White explained that the band had visited one of the Solace shelters and they wanted to support the charity in any way they could. (They also played the same fundraiser last year).
Syd announced, “We’re a rock band through and through, but we are going to slow it down a bit”. Her brother Cam, the bass player, swapped to an acoustic guitar, and they played a couple of country-styled songs mid-set, which suffered from too many people in the audience talking. Rob took time to sit in a speaker stack and pick out the tune on his ancient Gibson SG. But they got back to their normal noisiness and treated us to the new single, “Loaded Gun” (check out Marcus Maschwitz video).
The Wild Things stage show remains lively enthusiastic and peppered with impossible yoga positions. Looking forward to seeing them again soon.
Third band up. For some reason I keep thinking they were called Deep Pool. Dead Coast, Dead Coast, Dead Coast! Right, that’s now in my head.
Deep Pool are a rocky, bluesy, trippy, heavy, psychedelic band. Oh yes, so are Dead Coast.
They are a band with ’70s roots as well as some odd instruments. Front man Luca Bianco took time off to play what looked like an Atari joystick (theremin) and nose flute (OK, not with his nose). Their debut album is called Shambolic. I started to wonder why.
Songs had shades of Sugar in places and chugged along at a good pace. Dead Coast are a dirty riff band – if you saw them in a bar you’d be well impressed. Jon, a fellow photographer, said, “This lot have got better”. I guess that’s praise indeed.
Towards the end, they played a “country song”. That probably needed some more work, but it may have explained why they looked like modern day farmers – hats, neckerchiefs, waistcoats, etc. Then they went into something that Spinal Tap would have probably called “Jazz Odyssey”. It ended with a solo played by Luca on a snake charmer’s pipe. (“We’re not going to do a free form jazz exploration in front of a festival crowd”).
They were deadly serious, although there could be a 18 inch scale model of Stonehenge somewhere on stage.
Saint Agnes are a solid indie, stompy, rock and roll band featuring Kitty – a mesmerizing front woman who sang and played guitar and keys. Often at the same time. She looked, sounded and had the presence of Patti Smith.
The band stormed through a set of dirty-guitar, sleazy, bluesy, hooks and riffs. Chris from Sly Persuaders joined the band on stage to add an extra guitar on their homage to Western movie themes “Old Bone Rattle”. To me, Saint Agnes draw on influences from the darkness of Nick Cave to the rock-and-roll mastery of the likes of Link Wray, Led Zeppelin, and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. They are the new sheriffs in town – Jon on lead guitar even wears tassels on his jacket to match his hair.
To finish, I thought I would be lazy and quote the Rock Against Violence website (as I can’t put it better myself and have run out of adjectives).
“Garage rock band and RAV headliners Saint Agnes formed in 2014 and have released four sell-out singles and a live EP. With their gritty, DIY work ethic they have risen from the underground to claim their place as one of London’s most compelling and authentic live bands with a devoted following. They draw their audience in with songs of love and betrayal and electrify with their fuzzed out, hook-laden, desert stomp. In the eye of this sonic storm Saint Agnes create a world entirely of their own and all who witness it leave believing every word.”
Yep, that’s Saint Agnes. The Patron Saint of chastity. And the crowd loved them.
Marcus Jamieson-Pond is a regular gig reviewer for The Revue. His other write ups can be found here. To see full sets of photos from this gig and more than 250 other bands shot in 2017, visit www.jampondphotography.com.
Thanks to Josh at 9PR for asking TheRevue to cover this event.
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