Review featring: Clan Of Xymox, The Cruxshadows, The Ghost Of Lemora, Attrition, and The Scary Bitches
Just got back from London.
Gotham 6 - That was one hell of a gig!
Arrived two tracks from the end of the Scary Bitches' set. Thought they sounded both more confident and "together" than last time I saw them, and thoroughly enjoyed their ending with "You'll End Up Looking Like The Scary Bitches".
The less said about the bar the better - OK, so the place is called "The Carling Academy" (though the bands had a better name for it - see below), but does that really mean they can't sell anything else?
Next up were Attrition. Very strange haunty-ethereal female vocals over a solid EBM backing. Very weird, and somehow strangely listenable. I can't say the result grabbed me, but it didn't repel either, possibly a band to search out on MP3 before making a firm decision.
Then came The Ghost Of Lemora, and a performance that was both great fun to watch and great musically. They welcomed us "to the shopping centre". Swifty suggested that the government's current crack-down on hoodies and baseball caps doesn't go far enough, and that in addition they should round up all hoodie and cap wearers, plus everyone who watches 'Tricia', and bury the lot in a deep hole somewhere. Sounds like a plan to me! They also played brilliantly, including the superb "Reach For The Ground", and got a good reaction from the large crowd.
A bit of a pause for stage adjustments, and The Cruxshadows exploded into life as only they can. Rogue was utterly demented for the entire set, spending more time in the audience than on stage, which was probably just as well as when he was on stage he decided to turn singing into a dangerous sport by climbing the lighting rig and doing half a track while perched precariously on top of the steel cantilever girders from which flew left hand speaker stack. This wasn't just a performance, it was performance art of the highest order, which just happened to also have a truly incredible soundtrack. Every song was greeted with thunderous applause and the climax of the main set, "Marylin, my Bitterness", went down in a style usually reserved only for headliners.
Needless to say they were called back for an unplanned encore, which meant a two minute wait for their computer to be rebooted, during which Rogue entertained us with an unaccompanied rendition of the drug-fuelled Jefferson Airplane classic from the 1970s, "White Rabbit", which also went down a storm. The encore itself was the band's own classic "Winterborn", which utterly rocked. One member of the audience, who'd only been introduced to The Cruxshadows a few weeks earlier, was so impressed he insisted in buying the entire back catalogue, plus the mug and a t-shirt, from the merchandise stand, Rogue then signed every one of the CD sleeves.
And then it was time for the headliners, Clan Of Xymox. Now it has to be said that their much more traditional performance seemed to take a while to get going after Rogue's antics, but nevertheless by the third track they were well in stride and storming along, and the audience were loving them. I completely fell in love with "A Day", which was I think the fourth track, and duly bought a copy of their "Best Of" album (though I had to get it from Resurrection the next day, their merchandise having entirely sold out!). A polished and impressive performance, skilfully mixing rock style vocals with and electronic soundtrack, interesting lyrics and interesting musical highlights making for a hugely enjoyable, catchy and memorable set. They finished appropriately enough with "Farewell", the audience screamed for an encore but I took the opportunity to leg it to the merchandise stand so missed it. Definitely a band to see again, and also great on CD.
The advertising had said the Gotham tickets would get us into Slimelight, unfortunately what wasn't made so clear was that this only applied till 11pm, when the bouncer told us it would be eight quid we turned round and headed back to the car, cue a somewhat silly and meandering stagger toward Southend, via The City, several extremely dodgy council estates, and an equally dodgy kebab shop. What is it with London and lack of road signs?
Having spent the night with friends in Essex, Sunday saw us back in London for a day of sightseeing and shopping. First up was the Victoria and Albert museum, where amongst other delights there are two huge rooms filled with equally huge Victorian plaster casts of random bits of European medieval architecture. Most of these are truly stunning works, including a complete bay, column and vaulting from the Rosslin Chapel near Edinburgh and huge parts of the west fronts of various cathedrals. Also included however are a lion that looks, from some angles, distinctly as if it's squatting on a litter tray, and a tomb effigy of a woman in a very fine dress, who appears to be wearing medieval New Rocks - the soles of her shoes must be at least two inches thick!
From the V&A we headed up to Camden, had a lunch of panninis in the Weatherspoons' overlooking the canal before wandering round Cyberdog and Black Rose. The new development, all stark concrete and glass, looks hideously out of place amongst the colourful eccentricity of the old Stables Market, though I suppose we really should wait till it's finished before consigning it to the same rubble-strewn pit of architectural monstrosity as the horrific 70s-modern extension to the Natural History Museum next to the V&A.
Next was the compulsory stop at Resurrection Records, said Hi to Andy and as usual spent rather more than I could really afford on CDs.
And so on to the Dev. All the on-line hullabaloo appears to have died down, and the place seemed nicely busy for 4pm on a Sunday afternoon. There are still not enough seats, but I suspect only a major refurb will fix that. No complaints about the cleanliness of our glasses, and the service was very friendly. Four blokes in pale blue shirts did get turned away politely at the bar, but they seemed to take it well and there was no aggro. Looking at the flyers liberally scattered about (we'd seen some at Gotham too) the dress code seems to have been re-worded, it now states "Goth, Alternative and Unusual, no casual or sportswear", so presumably anything that isn't full-on mainstream is acceptable, not just uber-trad or MM-clone.. No bouncers when we were there, but presumably having the dress code on the flyers will clarify things a bit - has anyone had any recent experience with them? Loos seemed clean, though the females in our party complained about that perennial staple of pub bogs everywhere, non-locking cubicle doors.
One personal comment - any chance of doing what most other pubs do and flogging supermarket UHT orange juice (apple too?) by the pint and half pint at sensible prices? You'll make a serious profit and non-drinkers will have a decent option. J20 is drink not juice (which means additives and muck), and 1.35 for a teeny bottle or proper juice is Ok for mixers but a rip-off for drinking raw.
An unplanned extra night in Essex was followed by a return to Camden plus drinks in Ben Crouch's Tavern (great idea spoiled by truly awful music over which the staff have no control - it comes from a central server), and The Intrepid Fox (which is I think what the Eerie pubs would like to be), then a longer-than-usual trek home due to most of the London section of the M1 being shut, cue traffic chaos. Anyone know what happened?
And so to bed!
PS: Inkubus Sukkubus and The Cruxshadows are doing a double-headline gig in Paris in July. Should be good!
NP: Clan Of Xymox - A Day.
Rob Sherlock, instant fan,
with the Cruxshadows entire
back catalogue, all signed by Rogue.
Live - Love - Be - Believe!
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