Saturday 6 September 2008

Death Cigarettes @ George Tavern 03.09.2008

pic from - a wonderful archive of new band photos

I’ve trekked down to the George Tavern, which is a stately pile of a pub deep in the East End of London.

There is a mess of equipment in one corner, but no obvious stage or performance area. Doors supposedly open at eight o’clock, but there’s no one here.

As the time approaches, various musicians wander in. Including the ones we are here to see. More equipment is piled up in the corner and it becomes clear that this is where the show will go on.

Jessie Evans is here, clutching her saxophone with her at all times. She steps up to the microphone and has a little parp and a sing. She seems generally happy, and steps away.

Death Cigarettes uncoil themselves from their table and have a bit of a practice. This involves three members of the band charging as far from a central point as the leads on their equipment will allow. Singer Maya bounces up and down like a power ball, screaming at full volume. Everybody else in the pub looks completely stunned. After five minutes of tumult, the band stops. There is a spontaneous round of applause. Jesse Evans and drummer Toby Dammit look scared.

Time drifts on. A small group of punters wander in at around nine o’clock. Nothing continues to happen. We are eventually invited to stump up £5. About time too.

At around a quarter to ten, Death Cigarettes start their set…

…I can barely comprehend the next three quarters of an hour because I’m just so blown away. There is a guitarist on the sofa behind me and a bassist attempting to disengage his instrument from the light fitting. Maya is EVERYWHERE, on tables, climbing the door, hanging from the roof and hanging off bemused audience members.

Forthcoming single ‘Bleed You Dry’ sounds astonishing tonight. There are quite a few new songs too, which sound much more focussed than some of the earlier compositions, although they still kick like sixty ton Robo-mule. There is so much going on, the noise is so all-encompassing that it seems as though we are three feet way from the energy source that powers the whole damned universe. The world has literally shrunk to these four walls.

When the set finishes the onlookers are almost as exhausted as the band. I realise that the corners of my mouth are sore from smiling so widely. What makes Death Cigarettes so special is that it is the whole band that is the focal point. Wherever you look, someone is doing something extraordinary, at full tilt, all the time. The cumulated effect is devastating.

With due apologies to Jesse Evans and Toby Dammit there ain’t no following that. And it's getting too late.

I reel off into the night, deaf and happy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Awesome review! Death Cigarettes playing at Bar Music Hall this Thu 16 Oct, free entry, onstage @ 10pm.