February’s LOUD WOMEN Club at London’s Hope & Anchor 12 Feb 2022.
Reviewed and photographed by Tony Rounce

That old devil called Covid has played havoc with the LOUD WOMEN gig schedule in recent months, with various booked bands and band members having to bail due to a close encounter with the pandemic. Happily, though, things are finally improving in that department – and enough bands were able to field a full complement of members to make the first LOUD WOMEN Club of 2022. A five-hander and a memorable night for all who braved a bitterly cold February evening to be part of a well-attended, greatly enjoyable and typically diverse night of musical pleasure.

Unfortunately, my own particular journey from hell (11 miles in just short of 3 hours) meant I missed the opening solo sets of both Silver Fern and Cult Of Doris – but fortunately for me I did arrive in time to catch all but half a song from dynamic duo Dinosaur Skull’s invigorating hit list.  This was only the fourth gig as a duo for my fellow South Londoners, but nobody would have guessed as much from the sheer positivity that radiated from shiny, happy singer/guitarist Cil and her musical (and personal) partner Mike. Unbeknownst to me I had already been loving them long time in their previous incarnation as 50% of Werecats, whose “Destined For The Outside” album and “My Boyfriend’s A Werewolf” 45 have been frequent past visitors to the Rounce hi-fi.  Dinosaur Skull are a highly logical extension of Cil and Mike’s past work and their slammin’ set of hooky, adrenaline fuelled songs – mostly sung by pocket rocket Cil in a cheerfully aggressive manner that slightly recalled the late great Poly Styrene, and occasionally augmented by Mike as and when required – immediately singled them out for further attention as quickly as possible. Thornton Heath can be proud of its latest local heroes, who are also very nice people to chat to, by the way.

After they had finished their own set, Cil and Mike stuck around at the front to enjoy the rest of the night’s entertainment – and there was still plenty to come with North-West London sisters Deuxes (which they pronounce ‘Deuces’, and so should you) commanding the Hope’s stage with their beguiling blend of contemporary R&B vocals and pure indie pop rhythms. Imagine, if you would, what, say, Sleeper or Salad might have sounded like if they had been fronted by Beyonce and Mary J Blige. If you can do that, and you weren’t there on Saturday to see and hear them for yourself, you would now have a pretty good idea of what you missed.

Deuxes have been around a few years – which makes me angry with myself that I hadn’t caught up with them before, as it was a definite case of Love At First Song and by the end of their set it wasn’t only their songs I was in love with. Truly both Deuxes are charming women. ‘Totes adorbs’ (and I can’t believe I just typed that, really I can’t). Both sing and sing well, although guitar slinger Francesca left most of the song introductions to her bass-playing sibling Martine, whose feisty, funny patter set each selection in their short, sharp, six-song set up perfectly. Deuxes were done way too soon, but the snappy pop of songs like ‘Trombone’ and ‘Ripping At The Seams’ is still playing on a loop in my head nearly 48 hours later. The highlight of the set was – well, it was the whole set, but I particularly liked ‘Call Me’, a vibrant song which Martine set up as being “about not calling me”. I don’t know where they are playing next but wherever it is, I’ll be there…

…And so to previous LW Club headliners Anarchistwood, who were playing their first gig in a while and obviously relishing the prospect of bringing their unique brand of what they describe on their Facebook page as ‘performance art’ to North London’s most prestigious musical basement.  Anarchistwood are a force of nature that’s very difficult to explain, and that is best seen rather than read about. Visually arresting, sonically deafening and totally compelling in every respect – you can’t take your eyes off them for a minute, and you would not want to.


All their songs are delivered at a volume that could strip paint, but in a way that shows the five members don’t necessarily take what they do too seriously – not all the time at least. If only for the fact that they boast a euphonium player in their ranks, here is no other band on our scene at present that they can be compared to – except maybe T-Bitch, and then only for their in-your-face attitude to performance. Their recordings only tell a portion of their story – Anarchistwood really do have to be seen in order to get the full picture.  They provided an uproarious ending to an intoxicating evening’s entertainment, one which finally got LW’s 2022 show on the road in an altogether splendid manner…

Video by pssyche23

The next LW Club night at the Hope & Anchor, on Tuesday 8 March,  is a special International Women’s Day celebration night to launch the fourth volume in the LOUD WOMEN compilation album series.  ARXX will be bill-topping, Gilan, Arch Femmesis and Piney Gir provide a strong undercard and you really don’t want to not be there…