Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Crushed Beaks, Drop Out Venus at Old Blue Last - 21 February 2012

Crushed Beaks

Now here’s a story. This is how I spent £30 to see a band, blew them out in favour of a free gig and was condemned to hell.

The last gig that I went to was a scant three days ago. You can read about it here. I had a brilliant time. Come tonight, I have tickets to see Japanese Visual Kei artists Satsuki and Kaya at the Underworld and I have no doubt that I will have a good time. Tickets were not cheap.

But last Saturday, I saw Drop Out Venus, who are first on the bill for free at the Old Blue Last…can I do both?

The short answer turns out to be ‘no’. DOV are not due on stage until 9.00, which in standard non-venue time means even later than that. So I decide to go to the free gig. And discover that nothing is really free…

The venue is about half full. The majority of the audience are eastern European, as of course are the members of Drop Out Venus. They emerge from the chatter and hit the stage. Things start well. Incredibly intense, but well.

Iva Moskovich sings most of the first song unaccompanied. It is all about her being “an animal”. Having been blinded by them on Saturday, I’m better able to appreciate the band tonight. Their jazz leanings are much more apparent, with drummer and guitarist apparently improvising as the singer does her stuff.

Iva is a law unto herself. She has worked herself up into such a state that she goes beyond being merely extreme and into something that is genuinely uncomfortable.

The first sign of a problem occurs during the second song. This is a foreign language folk song which Iva sings into the guitarist’s face. He stops playing and she sings alone, her voice a croak, tears in her eyes. It is an incredible outpouring of emotion.

The song finishes. You cannot hear a breath. There is not a clap or a solitary whoop. The audience is stunned into silence. Genuine, not-a-peep silence. It is because we don’t know how to react, any kind of normal response seems inappropriate.

Iva stalks slowly forward, eyes us and says “Fuck you all.” She points down at various people in the audience. “Fuck you, Fuck you, Fuck you,” she jabs. “You are all going to burn in hell!” There is no doubt that she is incandescently angry and serious.

The set continues, the music really just background to Iva’s increasingly dark imagery and foul mood.

There comes a moment between songs when the guitarist stops to adjust his instrument. The audience waits for him and starts to chat to each other. Iva walks to the front of the stage and stares at them. If looks could kill, we’d all be six feet under. She does not utter a word. Her basilisk glare shuts everyone up. I’ve never seen venom like it.

The set continues. There is an almost tangible whiff of sulphur. The set reaches a conclusion. Iva dashes from the stage and without stopping, flees the room. She is not seen again.

Drop Out Venus are one of the most astonishing acts that I have ever seen, but they are in no sense a fun or light proposition.

The mood is considerably lifted by the arrival of Crushed Beaks.

These two guys play a sunny, sensitive melodic rock that motors along and cheers us up. We need it.

Singer/guitarist Matt Poille is a big handsome hunk who causes quite a stir amongst the ladies in the crowd. There’s lots of whispering and nudging. I’m heartened to see Drop Out Venus’ drummer and guitarist bopping down the front.

Poille croons and shuffles with his guitar and his colleague Alex Morris bashes along on a drum kit turned sideways to the stage. Theirs is a more robust, male take on the hazy sun drenched sounds of Beach Camp, Frankie Rose et al. Crushed Beaks are extremely charming.

It’s been an emotional evening to say the least. Not all necessarily enjoyable in the true sense, but certainly memorable. It only cost me £30 and an eternity in hellfire.

Still... this what I could have had...


Anonymous said...

Thank you,Wyld for paying so much attention to DOV.I am an Eastern european and I would like my broken English to be excused.I have read both of your reviews and they are full of non simpatetic comments towards DOV and sarcastic remarks directed to Iva.
Unfortunately I did not make it to Old Blue Last but I went to Roundhouse.I am not an expert,I am just an ordinary Joe but I liked what I heard and I was glad to see, that the audience liked DOV too.
But you do not seem to be expert too.There are a few words about music but plenty, expressing your antipathy towards some eastern european kids trying to fight the main stream music in their unique way.
I would like to ask you,why this eastern european audience did not "react normal" to the eastern european song?It does not sound convincing.
If the outburst of Iva was as bad as described by you,I bet she knew that somewhere in the audience was a person ,who like only suny boys and their sensitive very english music.

Wyldman said...

I apologise if my comments seemed sarcastic. I absolutely LOVE Drop Out Venus, which is why I went to see them immediately after the Saturday.

I think that DOV are the best new band that I have seen in many years.

As for Tuesday, Iva lost her temper after the second song, apparently because of the response to it. I thought it was great.

I have been nothing but complimentary to the band, and will continue to do my bit to encourage them.