November was a busy month for London gigs. Many nights saw at least five bands playing in various places across the capital that The Revue would have loved to have covered. Here’s three of the best from the last couple of weeks.
Cigarettes After Sex
The Roundhouse I 20/11/2017 I No support act
Cigarettes After Sex play at two speeds – slow and very slow. It gives their performance a dream-like quality with songs washing over the listener like waves. Their ambient, shoegaze-y music and the accompanying atmospheric light show gave me a sense of what it must be like pre-birth inside the womb.
Greg Gonzalez’s androgynous voice plays beautifully against the haunting, heavy-on-the-effects-pedals guitar parts. Songs are designed to sleep to or maybe to wake up to. They fill the space left by The Cocteau Twins, and I was reminded of Twin Peaks and Julie Cruise‘s haunting theme. One song reminded me of Terry Jacks‘ “Seasons in the Sun”, or was it Don McLean‘s “American Pie”. If only I knew what it was called, I could compare the chord sequences for you.
They also have the largest back-drop projector I’ve seen outside of a cinema, which beamed moody monochrome images across The Roundhouse of which Alain Delon would have been proud. At times, it felt as if the clouds had come inside. The atmosphere was so thick, you could have cut it with a pair of garden shears.
This was apparently the fourth time they had played in London and their biggest gig yet. I also got to meet the great Paul Grace in the photo pit, and a friend of my wife sent me a photo of me taking photos, too. Or did I dream that?
The Scala I 23/11/2017 I Support from Outlya and Kyko
These guys are my tip for the top in 2018 (if they carry on like this). It was the last gig of their tour and they came to party.
The band is brilliantly branded in colours that would grace any 1970s wallpaper shop. They played in front of two huge model faces of Callum and Ewan (their two front men), which could have been found on the front of a tank engine. Throughout their set, they launched confetti canon into the enthusiastic audience and threw handfuls of party poppers out like candy.
And then there was the invasion of about a million balloons towards the end of the night.
Their music matches their stage show. They are lively and massively engaging. Their music has some of the best beats and hooks in the business. It’s a bit like what would have happened if Jamiroqui didn’t take himself so seriously. They are funky, dancy, and their lyrics so so clever. You can’t help smiling at them.
We were treated to all the tracks that make up a large chunk of my YouTube playlist, including a personal fave “Zacharia”, a tale of a bad babysitter, and the rest of the Phresssh EP – including bringing a brass section for “Wages”.
Halfway through the set, they had an interlude with Callum and Ewan recreating a couple of tracks from their Mixtape One EP while the rest of the band changed into kung-fu gear. You couldn’t make it up.
If you ever feel depressed, whack on some Bad Sounds. You’ll be dancing around your bedroom before the end of the first track.
Or even better – get to one of their gigs. December 13th at Dingwall’s in Camden, London. I shall see you there. I will be the one smiling inanely.
We Were Promised Jetpacks
The Islington I 28/11/2017 I Support from Fiskur
The Islington remains a tiny venue and it was not surprising that Glasgow’s WWPJ were playing two gigs back-to-back there. I got along to the first sold-out night.
The band took to the stage and played three unfamiliar tunes to open the gig. Adam Thompson, the singer and guitarist who always looks as if he is in pain when he performs, added, “Those were off These Four Walls (their first LP)”, which I’m pretty sure they weren’t. Looks like we will have a new album to look forward to.
I’ve been a fan of the Jetpacks for a long time. They are part of that angst-indie Scottish group of bands that includes The Twilight Sad, Frightened Rabbit, and Mogwai. Tonight’s show focused on newer songs. The band seems to be in transition with the syncopated choppy guitar sound no longer at the fore. I suspect that day two would have been the night for more of the oldies.
We Were Promised Jetpacks remain one of the most underrated indie bands out there. I did photograph their set list too, but I have no idea what it means. I suspect it was all in code. Any hardcore fans who can work out the answers do get in touch.
- Adult 2
- Ow Sean
- When I
- Wake Up
- The Garage
- OK Sean
- Adult 1
- ‘Ave IT
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 Ellie at Stay Loose; Emily at Everything Counts; Jess at Votis for inviting us to cover these events.
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