Words by Harvey Williams-Fairley | Photography by Jake Lewis
If you’re skint and your 9-5 is getting you down and you’re hopelessly bored in life, but like free beer and free music and a free punch to the face from your fellow foot stomper, then stop binge-watching Netflix and get your ass down to the Old Blue Last this month for a series of nights hosted by Saxon Zine & Cool Brother.
All jokes aside, last night I attended the first of a three-night residency, which brings together bands of all varieties, shapes and sizes. There is definitely a lil’ somethin’ somethin’ for everyone in attendance and you’re guaranteed to bump shoulders with lovely and humble folk who are there to have a nothin’ but a good time!
The first of the acts was a band called Legss, a four-piece post-punk band who’s lead singer Ned reminded me of Mark E. Smith of The Fall. Their songs are tight and they are lead by an astounding drummer. Ned’s lyrics are funny and brutally honest and at moments there is definitely some rockabilly riffs punching through their music. Ned introduced his band to the audience by reading aloud some hate mail, which he received through his door from a woman called Angie Bentham. The letter starts as so;
“About two Thursday-lasts ago I was sitting in my front room, happily eating bits of my dog when I heard loud noises out by the front. I put down the bleeding carcass and drew the blinds to see if there were any children about worth giving a good hiding to. But then I saw you… You were that fatty-cheek drummer boy in that hideous Violent Femmes cover band I saw last weekend, the lead singer whose hairline was receding. I detested you all…”
Needless to say, the audience was stunned and laughing uncontrollably. Tactful ice breaker or truthful story? You decide… (Full letter below).
Next up on stage was the 6 piece art-rock / post-punk outfit Blue Bendy. I came to the conclusion in my head that this band named themselves after their excellent frontman, whose dance moves were that of a Mick Jagger / Morrissey hybrid. His knees were pitched at a 45º angle for the entirety of their set. At times, Blue Bendy’s music reminded me of the Stone Roses, but I couldn’t shake the idea that I was hearing a little bit of Morrissey when listening to the front man. To the rhythm guitarist, who for the whole set sat nonchalantly at the corner of the stage wearing 80’s solid black sunglasses, you are my new hero!
The night then took a turn a turn into realms unknown as the audience was graced by the amazing performance of Ushio, an experimental post-rock project by Xaviers / Bo Ningen. I’m not sure I could provide words that accurately describe the sound of Ushio, but the nearest possible comparison I could draw would be if Battles and Throbbing Gristle had a love child and then that love child had an imaginary friend – that’s the sound of Ushio. Industrial experimental guitar riffs planted right on top of melodic samples and thumping drums. I watched in awe and at sometimes confusion. Their music is unpredictable, which as a listener you’ll either love or hate. At times when the song was about to break into a melody or a consistent phrase, the rug then gets pulled from underneath you and you’re kicked in the teeth by some crunching guitar riffs. Ushio is definitely a must see for anyone. Listening to their music is an experience.
The crowning glory of the evening then took to the stage, the headline act, Sleep Eaters. Sleep Eaters give off the vibe that they’re the band in rolling credits of a Quentin Tarantino film. The scene is set in the meanest bar somewhere in Texas and some shit ‘bout to go down! The whole bar is bathed in red light, Salma Hayek is mincing around the bar being
sexy as fuck. The locals are up on the dance floor doing the lindy hop. Then, from out of nowhere, the saloon doors are kicked wide open and some badass outlaw stands silhouetted in the frame of the door smoking a cigarette. Everybody stops. Suddenly and for no reason whatsoever he guns everyone down in the bar except the band, who play throughout the massacre narrating the events as they unfold with their music. That’s the sound of the sleep eaters. Fast, aggressive, sexy, rockabilly music lead by storytelling lyrics and washed over by the sounds of an awesome slide guitar. I urge anyone to go and see this band immediately. You won’t be let down.
I eagerly await the second instalment of the Saxon Zine & Cool Brother Presents evening and I urge anyone to head down and show some support! Considering this is a free night and is of impeccable quality (which is hard to come by in London), you have no excuse not to head down!
By Jake Lewis