Having seen CocainePiss once before, around this time last year, I was definitely eager to go again. They played at The Dome, supporting an equally brilliant band name (the poster really pops…) MannequinPussy.
My mum is spending a few days with me and she was happy to come along. I’m pleased to say, she loved it! I quote:
“I never understood all that jumping and head banging before, but now I think I do. It’s a release!”
Julie, Keira’s Mum, and total badass
Cocaine Piss are a band I would love to see play for Loud Women, not just for the release and the great time they provide, but also a great mother/daughter activity! The whole set feels so free and carefree, I don’t think i stopped smiling. Mum even bought a T-shirt!
Live review and photos by Keira Anee @ Dingwalls, 25 Oct 2019
Last night was the first time I’ve seen Saint Agnes in a long time, maybe even a couple of years. From the beginning, a friend of mine recommended them highly and back then interviewed singer Kitty for one of the first issues of the photo journal, 98 Wounds.
Six years later, and it was fantastic to see them having sold out Dingwalls, and I hear other dates on this tour, too! I remember a while back speaking to the band about music they were listening to, and them telling me about times they would sit around together, in silence, listening to a whole album by The Doors, or Metallica. Their live set certainly suggests these phenomenal influences – all, of course, opened with bassist Ben, in a bunny costume, staring menacingly at the crowd. That is, before the rest of the horror clad zombie band stepping out and showing the room insane amounts of energy!
It was also fantastic to finally see support band for the Saint Agnes tour, Soeur. With a lot of great stuff coming from Bristol at the moment (I love No Violet) they make my home city look, if I may, ‘bangin’.
It’s only a day later and I want to see them again, perhaps a Loud Women show…?
Words and photos by Keira Anee – Miss June + Pretty Sick at the Lexington, London, 10 October 2019
Openers PrettySick are from New York, and playing live tonight with double bass.
That is, 2 x bass equally distributed amongst two bassists! I think this is probably the first time I’ve seen a band use two bass, especially without guitar? Which I think definitely deserves a mention.
The band look like they’re having a great time and I was so happy when for their last song they covered ‘Hooch’ (i think?) by TheMelvins. I love this song, and singer Sabrina tore it up perfectly. You can listen to some of Pretty Sick’s music here
It goes without saying that I should probably end this by saying that Pretty Sick were… Pretty sick.
Wahh! After missing Miss June earlier this year, when their debut album came out at the beginning of September (and I loved it), despite so many great gigs happening last night (Ghum, anyone?) I had to be at The Lexington. From the start there was so much energy, the band members were friendly and personal with the audience, and there was also a pretty incredible one woman stage invasion. I wanted to be that woman, she looked ecstatic and I can see why! Miss June are here from New Zealand, they play all my favourites from the album and singles Twitch and Best Girl get a really, really overwhelming reaction from the crowd. I’m going to stop rambling now and dedicate this gig review (?) to the word ‘wow’.
Review by Anna Graham-Martin – Deaf Institute 25/5/19 (with apologies from Loud Women for the lateness in posting this but better than never!)
Ex Hex are one of the many bands I’ve discovered this year through listening to a lot of ‘women in rock’ playlists on Spotify, and when I began seeing their posters outside one of my favourite Manchester venues, I got quite excited to finally see these ladies in action.
As much as any fellow music lover, I have attended many a
gig, but I have never been part of such an eclectic crowd as this one. At the
front was an older looking, long haired rock uncle (you know the type), in
front of me were a few younger artsy looking kids with bright coloured hair and
denim jackets, then right next to me was a man I was convinced was Noel Gallagher
for a good minute. It felt equally exciting and welcoming to be in an audience
with such a vast mix of people, and to me it showed that Ex Hex’s music really
can appeal to anyone.
As the Washing trio Mary Timony, Betsy Wright and Laura Harris glided on stage, I was in awe of the air of effortless cool that surrounded these three. Rock uncle dude was having the time of his life “wooing” as loud as possible and flashing the horns with an unbelievable energy. This undeniable coolness was only heightened when they began their opening number Another Dimension which came with such ease you could’ve told me they’d written it 20 years ago and I would have believed you.
Throughout the set, Timony and Wright shared out
lead guitar and vocals, whilst Harris was constantly adding the perfect sound
of some heavier rock drum work that was also beautifully simple that blended
amazingly with the sound of the other two ladies.
Wright and Timony’s guitar work was incredible to me, especially during the extra long solo of Rainbow Shiner, where I was extremely captivated by them both and their effortless stage presence, and if I closed my eyes could’ve easily been at an old school rock arena concert. Timony’s smile as she held her guitar up to the crowd, or put her leg on the monitor made my night and I have never seen someone look so humbled whilst having so much fun.
As Cosmic Cave began, I was pleasantly surprised as it was not a song I thought would hold as much weight as it did live, and at one point the friend I’d brought along turned to me and said “I honestly thought this was a Blondie song for a bit” and if that’s not a compliment I don’t know what is.
I was surprised at the calmness of the crowd,
despite Ex Hex’s music being easily moshable, if not definitely deserving of a
hard boogie- maybe this was because of the slightly older average age of the
audience. It was strangely refreshing to be listening to rock music without
being punched in the face, but also having the freedom to dance like a mad
woman if I wanted to (I did.)
Having been in a bit of a bad mood earlier that
day, I came out of the deaf institute pretty damn refreshed and inspired by Ex
Hex and even got a cheeky poster off the Institute door to remember the
evening. For three women significantly older than me and most of the current
bands I listen to- they sure rocked. All I can say is I hope I am that cool
later in my life, and I hope they don’t leave it too long to come back to
Manchester so I can introduce more friends to them.
The first time I saw PineyGir perform live, she was guesting with TV themes covers band DreamThemes, recreating the ghostly vocals on the Star Trek theme and absolutely nailing the very highest note. With such a talent it’s unsurprising other artists seek her out to sing with them, and until very recently she’s been kept busy touring the world with GazCoombes and his band.
But, as great as her voice is
– full and rich and sweet and with a huge range and lots of heart – it’s as a
songwriter that Piney Gir really shines. Here at the Lexington she’s opening
for another band, accompanied at first only by her own gentle strumming of an
acoustic guitar, and the response from the audience is pretty much totally rapt
attention and appreciation.
Piney’s extensive back
catalogue covers a wide range of genres, from pop to electronica to country
& western, but it’s striking how strong the tunes and lyrics are when
performed very simply without the lush and rich arrangements of a full
Combining a few chords and uncomplicated melodies in such a way that they still sound fresh and engaging is a rare talent – but songs like I Don’t Know Why I Feel Like Crying But I Do sound instantly memorable, like new friends you feel you must have known for a long time. Stripped back and uncluttered, the songs really connect, and you can’t help but fall silent.
After a short while she introduces lead guitarist GaroNahoulakian to the stage, and the additional layer especially works on a plaintive and moody interpretation of 2018 single Dreamcatcher, like the soundtrack to a late-night drive in a film.
It’s rare for a support act
to hold the audience’s attention for the duration of their set like this, but with
songs this good the crowd doesn’t grow tired and the applause at the end is
sustained and sincere.
Piney will be back at The Lexington for a full band show on 17th September, with new album You Are Here due out in October.
“We’re supporting Shonen Knife at the Brudenell next week, be great to see you if you can make it”. That was the message from punktacious threesome Nervous Twitch, and it was one I couldn’t ignore. A hometown gig by one of my very favourite bands, and only an afternoon away by National Express? Ticks more than a few boxes for me, I can tell you.
Nervous Twitch gigs in London and the south generally are something of a rarity, All its members have day jobs and thus can’t do many gigs that require them to be too far away from their Leeds home base. In fact the last time they played anywhere near London was in November 2018 – although they do have a couple of shows coming up down here soon, including a slot at Loud Women 4.
But if the proverbial mountain can’t get to Mohammed, and there’s nothing stopping Mohammed going to the mountain, a little sally forth towards the north seems more than in order – and a busy night at the Brudenell (which was also hosting a gig by Sham 69 in its other room) proved to be the perfect surroundings for a well-received set of classic Twitch.
Not much has changed since I saw them last, although the fourth album that they’re currently working on has impacted on the set in the form of several new songs, all of which sound as good as anything they’ve come up with before. They’re still a tight unit with short, sharp pop songs that carry mighty hooks and sing-along possibilities galore. There’s the same Top 40 ear-friendliness in their repertoire that you might associate with the best bands of the past 40 years and particularly the likes of Buzzcocks, the Runaways and Ramones. Erin Van Rumble’s whisper-to-a-scream voice is the perfect instrument to put them across, and if you come away from one of their gigs without at least one of their songs featuring as your latest earworm, you probably missed their set anyway.
They don’t mess about with too much between-song patter, preferring to let the music do the talking. Thus it was that they delivered 15 songs in less than 40 minutes, 14 vocals and the incredible surf instrumental ‘Tarantino Hangover’ that puts guitarist Jay Churchley in the spotlight for the only time during the set. Otherwise it’s all-Erin, all the time (occasionally with a bit of vocal backup from rock-solid drummer Ashley Goodall) as she tears through a strong cross section of their three past albums and a few from the forthcoming one. Highlights include long-time favourites ‘(My Baby’s Got) Somebody Else’(now promoted to show opener). ‘You Don’t Want Me’ and ‘Get Back In Line ‘. Their lone cover of the Velvet Underground’s ‘After Hours’ is always a good one for a sing-along (as demonstrated by their many pals in the audience beside me) as is ‘John Power’ (‘he’s a real go-getter’). The new songs already sound like they are one or two live plays short of anthemic status, something both sides of their most recent vinyl 45 ‘That Weird Guy’ and ‘Look At You Now’ achieved long ago. I have no doubt that that, even on home turf, they made a lot of new friends among those who were primarily there for Shonen Knife (who were wonderful, incidentally…)
If you are coming to Loud Women 4 – and why on Earth would anyone not be? – please do make sure that you don’t pass up the opportunity to see this band. Their musical message may not be as in-your-face as some of their peers, but they are the kind of band that you would have to be a very cold-hearted person not to love, even a little bit..
Nervous Twitch are playing at Summer Weird Sin at the Windmill, London SW9 on August 17th and are at Loud Women 4 on September 14th. You can also catch them supporting Shonen Knife again at the Square Chapel Arts Centre in Halifax this coming Saturday (July 27th)
Before Ex Hex play a note tonight, I’m already in love with them, although I don’t even know who they are. Crazy, right? I mean, I’ve played on or been in the audience for similar bills as them since the early 90s, yet somehow until 6 months ago I’d never even heard of Ex Hex, Mary Timony, Helium, Betsy Wright, Bat Fangs, Laura Harris or many of their other bands. But then a Spotify algorithm gifted me one of their tracks, setting me off on a sporadic search for further tiny nuggets of info, and by the time they came to the UK for this tour they’d taken on the quality of mythical beings in my imagination, avatars from a parallel world that I’d barely glimpsed and which wasn’t quite real to me.
I’m here to review the rock show, but first I need to tell you: sometimes, when I’ve been drinking wine at friends’ houses and playing Rock Band with their children, I go home full of intentions to write the next Hit Me With Your Best Shot. But I never do.
So it’s pretty great to discover a separate thread of musical herstory, which I’d somehow completely missed, which leads to the reinvention of classic rock by three women of a similar age and musical intent. If I’d dared dream it, would it have been this good? Probably not.
I match the faces to their names afterwards, so I can describe their arrival onto the stage thus: Mary looks mellow, serene as she sets up her guitar, exuding calm focus, as does Laura as she fine-tunes her drums just right to punch right through the mix. Betsy comes on dressed like Elvis and struts the stage like she’s in the Revolution… and then the show starts, and immediately the energy changes, it’s POWERFUL, tight, it’s like you went down to the Bronze and discovered your new favourite band and left ready to fight vampires.
There’s a guy there too, on bass – until this point I’d assumed Mary played guitar and Betsy played bass. Maybe on the recordings that’s the case, but live at least they both play guitar, switching between rhythm and lead, trading a few bars each in the solos, back to back or head to head. It’s exhilarating to watch. Occasionally one of them will come out and pull a rock pose, head out over the crowd, foot on the monitor, and it doesn’t seem arrogant or posturing, just cool, and I can’t decide if I wish I were in this band or just want to watch them.
I’m so lost in the moment, that I forget to make notes of the set list, the order. I can tell you that Cosmic Cave and Tough Enough and Rainbow Shiner and Radio On were the ones that stuck out, the first three because I already knew them pretty well and the last one just because. During Rainbow Shiner, which has a guitar break that gives me the same rush as Back In Black by AC/DC or Can You Hear Me Knocking by The Rolling Stones, I’m totally rocking out, no longer bothered about getting the best view. There’s no pit here, I’m close to the front and it’s quite safe, no flailing limbs or elbows knocking me sideways, and that’s cool but I wonder, why aren’t this band massive, and why do people prefer to take photos than to dance?
Well, those are questions for others to think about, and by the end I confess I can’t contain myself but am on my phone as well, grabbing a couple of blurry shots and exuberantly messaging a fellow guitarist, “watching EX HEX I am in LOVE.”
For yes, I am a guitarist myself, and I am of a similar age (possibly older, if I’m honest), and yet I’m still able to babble incoherently at someone after a show, like a teenage fangirl. I guess maybe I’ll always be liable to succumb to the crush/hysteria-inducing power of “classic rock”, as re-imagined by bands like Ex Hex, and this is the triumph and tragedy of my life.
For all those who support putting women on stage, and turning up the volume