MACHIINE: The Shacklewell Arms, 20th January 2017.

20 01 2017

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I’m fairly sure I have just witnessed one of the best live bands around and have probably been to a gig that might end up being my best of the year. I’ve got others lined up, but this one is staying etched upon my brain. I can’t unsee any of it and nor do I want to.

Made up of members from The Underground Youth, Peace And Love Barbershop Muhammad Ali and PINS- Machiine just ripped a hole right through the Shacklewell Arms with no apologies. They completely and utterly destroyed the place with their destructive and rambunctious sound. The kind of sound that makes you want to make your own noise.

I have seen many great shows at this venue and I can honestly say I’ve not seen anything like this before. They blitz through their debut Teaser EP with also a phenomenal cover of Garland Jeffreys track, Wild In The Streets. I remember hearing that song when I was super young on MTV and it stuck with me. To hear a band like Machiine turn it into a brilliantly smutty affair was great, they made it theirs and more.

Craig and Mark prowl on the stage and circle the floor. The stage is too small to hold all seven of them. Each band member plays as if they have been in Machiine for decades and decades, they don’t sound brand new- but their sound is so unique. I think also, not knowing what to expect truly made this show what it was- sensational. That’s the only word. I’ve left wanting to start my own band but I have no musical talent, so I’ll just write about it instead. I can happily say that this is one of the most in your face and most rowdy shows I’ve been to. It was the right kind of confrontational and the way Mark and Craig are with each other is brilliant. Mark has this impish grin on his face as they rip through What Bad Boys Do whereas Craig leaves you in awe wondering where he goes when he performs the songs. Each band member takes you on their own journey. Ola bangs the drums and shakes the tambourine as if her life depends on it, and keeps the steady pace and groove of the sounds. Honestly, if you weren’t there- you messed up. You missed out.

I hope this is only just the start, a taster of what is to come because there is sincerely nothing stopping Machiine from not only being YOUR favourite band, but a band that rule the airwaves and the world. Give them the world, save us all. The crowd did seem a little reserved but maybe they just didn’t know what to expect, but trust me when they come your way and into town- go see them. Don’t pay attention to the crowd, just do whatever the hell you want.

 





L.A.WITCH. The Shacklewell Arms, 18th November 2016.

21 11 2016

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Much like last night with FINALLY getting to see The Vacant Lots live after waiting for what seemed an age- I started it off with L.A. Witch on Friday at The Shacklewell Arms. There’s something truly moving about seeing a band you’re really into, in your favourite venue.

I first wrote about L.A. Witch in 2013, and since then I’ve just been waiting and waiting to see them live. When I heard they were supporting The Kills on their US tour this year, every part of me wish I had a lot of money and wasn’t scared of flying so I could go see them. There’s really no better band to support The Kills, that’s for sure. When I heard they were playing London I bought myself a ticket the second they went on sale. I didn’t care if I was the only one there or if it was going to be rammed- I was going. Nothing and no one would get in my way.

They opened their set with the insane Kill My Baby Tonight and ended with Get Lost. What happened in between was a mind-blowing affair and something I wish I could experience all of the time. It’s a high, a sensation that stays with you and you find yourself comparing every show to it. This was their first ever London show, and I kept thinking, “Is this how people felt when they saw the Sex Pistols at the Lesser Free?” Maybe. Maybe not. I’m going with a firm yes on this one because it was THAT good.

The band are fronted by Sade who projects this captivating voice that makes you feel as if Ronnie Spector has picked up a guitar and listened to some Garage Rock. Maybe that’s what drew me in this first place all those years ago. Everything about L.A. Witch is just so effortlessly brilliant and the right kind of cool. Yeah, I know the word “cool” is so redundant but certain people are worthy of it. L.A. Witch most definitely are.

I’m pretty sure that the venue was filled over capacity but who cares? Our crammed and sweaty bodies were too busy falling in love with the band. Nothing mattered. The outside world wasn’t getting in and rules weren’t not being applied. And rightfully so. If you’ve ever formed an attachment to a band and just wanted to go to every show they do, then you might understand my love for L.A. Witch and why one show just doesn’t feel enough. If I had the holiday time and the money, I would have happily done the whole tour.

I was in awe of their performance and how much everyone loved them. When a band you’ve backed for so long come to the place where you live, it just means so much to you. And I am not ashamed in stating that I felt like a proud parent as I gazed at the stage at these 3 wonderfully talented people. Some people spend their Friday nights getting wasted, but I’ll take seeing a band like this any day. I always thought that when I finally saw L.A. Witch live, it would have to be in a cramped and sweaty setting. My wish was granted. This is how they should be heard.

Irita makes you wish you could play bass, Ellie makes you want to beat the shit out of the drums and Sade makes you wish you could make a crowd swoon and sway with your hypnotic guitar grooves and vocals. Three is truly the magic number, L.A. Witch completely and utterly back this theory.

I’ve said it many times before but there really is something special about seeing a band you’ve loved for so long live. It’s a feeling that stays with you, it’s a feeling you constantly crave. Once is most certainly not enough here, so here’s hoping they come back soon!





TALL JUAN: The Shacklewell Arms. 27th July 2016.

30 07 2016

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When a singer you adore plays a venue you absolutely love for free, it doesn’t matter that you have to be up at stupid o’clock the next day to go to work. Nothing matters when you’re completely immersed in music and your surroundings.

A few months ago I saw Juan play The Lock Tavern and Shacklewell Arms the night after, both shows were insane and with a full band. This time, it was just Juan and his guitar. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I knew it would be something that would stay on my mind for some time. If you’ve ever seen one of Tall Juan’s shows, you’ll see just how much he puts into it and how everything that watches him just ends up being besotted with him. He’s got this beautiful and endearing personality that just draws you in, and makes you love his music even more. His music is Rockabilly clashing with the Ramones.

His set is fast, brutally fast. His songs are played with such urgency and a passion that is highly addictive. He takes you back to when Punk first emerged, and you can’t help but think Joey Ramones soul is buried inside of Juan. Somehow. He makes his acoustic guitar sound like a ferocious weapon but at the same time makes you want to dance, or just through your body round in an unconventional manner.

He played a couple of covers in his set, and ended with his brilliant cover of I Wanna Be Your Dog. He nails the opening to the song in a way that The Stooges didn’t, and makes you question if you still like the original or not (you do, of course you do but this is something else.) He blasts his way through Commando by the Ramones but from a personal view there’s one cover he does that just made my night. Last year when I first wrote about Juan, I mentioned my love for his take on Chinese Rock by the Ramones and any chance I get to talk about Juan or to Juan, I always mention it. So on Wednesday evening, just before he ripped into his perfect version of Chinese Rock, he dedicated it to me. Sure I felt like I won the lottery but I was also super proud of my friend on stage making all these people feel good and getting them to move about. His love for the Ramones is obvious, it’s obvious in everyone who loves that band. And just like Juan, I first heard them when I was 7/8 years ago- it stays with you and their music influences you in so many ways. To see someone like Juan emulate in a way, all that Joey Ramone was is such a lovely thing to see- he makes you believe in music again. There’s no one else that’s quite like Juan, and this passion he has for making music and playing shows is nothing short of admirable.

I always feel much better after I’ve been to one of his shows, it’s like a kickstart to the gut. I’d highly recommend seeing him wherever and whenever you can. His music is for those who like to put on some headphones and zone out from the world for a while. I like to listen to him on my way to work because I can’t deal with how rude some people are in London at the moment, it’s the ideal way to block it all out. I’m just not cut out for a busy place and Juan’s music is that perfect escape. His shows are exactly the same.

I’ve said it many times before about Juan- he’s the Punk hero we need. Punk isn’t dead, far from it. It’s in people like Juan. It’s still there, and always will be.

Once you’ve listened to his music, shall we all just pack up our stuff and run off to Far Rockaway?