Wednesday 29 February 2012

The War On Drugs, Weird Dreams at Electric Ballroom - 28 February 2012

The War On Drugs (pic Robert Loerzel)

Growing up in public can be difficult for a band. Working out what works and what doesn’t can be a laborious business. And sometimes things are wrong before they become right.

I’m struck by these thoughts as I watch Weird Dreams in their support slot at the Electric Ballroom tonight.

First off, the band is better when they play their faster songs. The rest of the time, singer/guitarist Doran and his band rather plod through a set of journeyman rock. Doran’s voice is also a problem – it doesn’t fit this material. It’s too anodyne, there’s no attack, no colour.

That said, the third song that they play really works. The guitars bite, there’s a good meaty chug. Weird Dreams have good stuff in them.

But the moment soon passes and it’s back to bland again. Really, this is a problem of material. Weird Dreams just don’t have enough of it to enable them to discard the less invigorating parts of their repertoire. This may come in time.

They still need a better singer though.

Lack of material is not a charge that can be levelled at The War On Drugs. Adam Granduciel and his crew come trailing rumours of lengthy sets and missed curfews.

With his shoulder length hair and slightly stooped figure, Granduciel looks like a woodland creature that might be happiest living under a bridge. He ain’t no oil painting. But he can play a mean guitar.

A statement of intent comes when one of the band’s best and most popular tracks, ‘Baby Missiles’ is dispensed with as only the second tune of the evening.

The standard War On Drugs song relies on establishing a relentless, urgent and almost Krautrocky rhythm which builds and builds as Granduciel layers his guitar solos over the top. Bassist Dave Hartley and drummer Steve Urgo are both very good tonight.

There is not a lot of light and shade in the set. Tracks do tend to blur into each other, sometimes literally, as extended whole-band wig outs are used to segue songs together. Granduciel has a rather keening, Dylan-esque whine that is also somewhat of an acquired taste.

At one point the band play a Waterboys cover. Having assiduously avoided them all these years, I don’t recognise the tune, but this version seems relatively straight take on the so-called ‘big music’ of twenty years ago.

The War On Drugs are very good at what they do, and despite some niggles, I mostly enjoy them. This seems an exercise in nostalgia though, a hankering back to mainstream college rock of the middle Seventies. It’s safe and reassuring and easily consumed. I don’t think that I need to see them again when they play the bigger stages that will surely come their way.

Saturday 25 February 2012

Oh Land, Alpines at Heaven -23 February 2012

Oh Land

From hell to Heaven…

Arriving at the venue underneath the arches at Charing Cross, I am immediately confronted by a huge queue, which stretches down towards Embankment tube.

And yet, such is the Tardis-like quality of all music venues, once we actually get inside, the place seems almost empty.

A closer inspection shows that all those who preceded us have sardined themselves into a tightly packed knot at the front of the stage. The headliner is not going to lack for hardcore fans.

But first we have AlunaGeorge. I’ve seen these guys before and they didn’t make much of an impression. Despite their best efforts, the same is true tonight.

I had forgotten just how squeaky Aluna’s voice is. She could have a career as a Chipette. However, she works the crowd well, makes sure to thank the other acts and is thoroughly professional.

Beside her George supplies glitchy beats, which are kinda entertaining but only really get interesting when something goes wrong and the end of a song is gradually drowned out by an ever louder feedback buzz.

I’ve seen the next act Alpines before too and at that time pretty much dismissed them. I was wrong then and I’m glad to put the record straight now.

Some acts thrive in the limelight. Tonight, singer Catherine Pockson is tall and magnificently exotic, her hair tied up to make her tower even more. Her voice is rich and emotional and she dominates the room with a succession of powerful torch songs.

As is the current fashion, the electronic accompaniment is sparse, the drumming measured and heavy. Last time round I detected echoes of Portishead, and these are still here, although this music is much more obviously mainstream.

The band look like absolute stars. You rather wish this performance was being shown on telly. They’d sell an awful lot of records.

The stage clears. The lighting engineers experimentally project beams of red laser light down into the crowd. It’s like a scene from ‘Predator’.

To whoops from the packed throng, Nanna Fabricius aka Oh Land, bounces out into view. She’s dressed in a bright pink outfit which has sleeves fashioned from the heads of two giant teddy bears. Lady Gaga has a lot to answer for.

Nanna is bubbly, enthusiastic and cavorts wildly around like a school kid hopped up on fizzy pop and sherbet. She occasionally bashes at a drum kit before careening off again.

The unfortunate, insurmountable problem is that I find her music very pedestrian. Not bad, just not thrilling.

I watch for twenty minutes or so and it is clear that there are no hidden depths here, no possibility that things will suddenly take off into something unexpected.

I fade away. I’m pleased to have seen Alpines step up to the plate, but overall it’s been a fairly mundane evening.

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...

Monday 20 February 2012

History Of Apple Pie, Drop Out Venus, Skinny Girl Diet - Roundhouse Studios -18 February 2012

Drop Out Venus (although they were Rough Kittens at the time)

This is why I go to gigs. This is why I seek out bands that I have never seen before.

Tonight’s show is good from start to finish. Within it is the best performance from a band that were previously completely unknown to me that I have seen in the best part of a decade. I wasn’t expecting this. I had never heard of them before tonight. And now I’ll never forget them.

The evening even starts on a high. Skinny Girl Diet are a real shot in the arm. They are incredibly young, incredibly primitive and just terrific.

Delilah, Amelia and Ursula play guitar bass and drums. There is nothing remotely complicated or fancy about this. The vocals are mostly deadpan and flat. When the band is unsure of what to do with a song, they simply scream.

This fundamentalist approach is a lot of the band’s charm. They are not afraid to be basic and straightforward. Theirs is powerful, affecting ‘here’s one chord, here’s another, now form a band’ punk. It’s not amateurish, it’s necessary.

Delilah declaims, arches an eyebrow and laughs. The bassist mostly stands and screams her lungs out. What’s not to like?

Drop Out Venus are very hard to read at first. The singer seems deadly serious, the drummer jovial and the guitarist thrashing out riffs and paying very little attention to anything other than what he is doing. It’s a good sound.

Iva may be one of the most passionate performers that I have ever seen. She recites surreal poetry that seems almost a parody of teenage angst. My initial reaction is to laugh and I even write down some of the more bizarre utterances. “Black leaves don’t flow through veins of stone” is one.

And yet, as I search for cheap laughs, I tune into the performance. She may be spouting apparent nonsense, but the incredible intensity that Iva displays goes beyond anything that I have ever seen. She looks like Natassja Kinski, but she really reminds me of Natassja’s father Klaus. She’s not laughing and I am suitably chastened.

The guitar is electric, the drumming frantic but Iva is utterly astounding. She plays guitar herself, and she occasionally seeks comfort from the other band members (the drummer seems genuinely concerned), but she is devastatingly full on in her delivery. There’s a lot of the young Patti Smith here.

At one point she throws her guitar to the floor and begins an acapella sequence that riffs around the words ‘I hate myself and I want to die’. Her voice is cracking up. You utterly, utterly believe her. A couple of guys next to us start talking and there is a fierce hiss from the rest of the crowd that shuts them up instantly. I’ve not seen an audience so cowed and quiet since watching Jeff Buckley do ‘Hallelujah’ at the Shepherds Bush Empire. (That may sound like name dropping. I'm so hip that I didn't even enjoy his show that much).

The band finishes and there is a momentary pause as the audience tries to assimilate what they have just seen. Then there is such a roar of acclaim that the band is forced to do an encore.

Following the gig I do some internet research and discover that the band were known as ‘Rough Kittens’ until very recently and that they are part of the New Cross scene. They are not for everyone. Of my immediate group, two are happily entertained whilst three of us are emotional wrecks. I’m so overcome I can barely speak.

Chapter 24 have a daunting task following that, but they give it a good bash. The vocals of the red haired singer (Claire Smith) are delayed and double tracked so that it appears as if she is sharing them with a second singer. She splutters and gulps and half sings, half barks. The band plays a driving, head-nodding space rock.

At this point I should play tribute to the people staging the show tonight. The sound throughout is spot on and each band perform in front of elaborate back projections that really complement the show. It makes every act look top drawer, like the stars they are.

With the vocal trickery and the visuals, Chapter 24 resemble a distaff Butthole Surfers. Praise indeed.

Tonight’s headliners are the History of Apple Pie. They round off proceedings with a powerhouse of sweeping guitars and swooning voices. It’s nothing that you have not seen before, particularly if you are a fan of Lush or, more recently, Yuck, but HOAP are very good at what they do and should not be dismissed lightly. They are in fact hugely enjoyable and I already regret missing them at last year’s Camden Crawl.

Congratulations to Roundhouse Rising and EKO for putting tonight’s ‘Through The Glass Ceiling’ show together. I can honestly say that I have enjoyed every single act tonight. I recommend them all.

But Drop Out Venus really are something very special. At another time, in another place their avant garde jazz thrash might be horribly exposed. However, tonight they were simply brilliant.

Thursday 16 February 2012

The Kabeedies, The Cut Outs and Black Sands at Camden Barfly - 15 February 2012

The Kabeedies (pic: Chris Dorney)

If they are playing to a mere handful of people in a near empty venue, a band has to be a bit careful with its banter. So when one of Guitars Have Ghosts looks at two punters sitting on the floor and remarks “You must be very tired” they prove that they are not. They get up and leave.

The band themselves are pretty decent, although clearly love themselves far more than anyone who has come to see them could ever hope to.

They have some good tunes, share the vocals between them and are not averse to rocking out when the song demands it. They don’t set the world on fire, but they are perfectly acceptable. They’ve just got to get the balance right between confident and cocky.

The young men in Black Sands have a sizeable female following. It may be something to do with their fashionably floppy hair, it may be because they are a bit sensitive and emotional. It may be because they are damn good.

What seals the deal for me is the sheer power that they generate. Musically they are not a world away from sensitive Postcard acts like Orange Juice, what distinguishes them is a one bass, three guitar line up which gives the songs some real punch.

The singer/guitarist closes his eyes as he sings and ladies swoon. This lot will do just fine. If I were to be hyper-critical I would say that while Black Sands have a great look and a great sound, they don’t yet have that killer song that grabs you by the lapels. But that will come.

The Cut Outs are very slick and polished. They are a no frills three piece straight up rock outfit. Two of whom harmonise like the Pierces whilst kicking ass like The Pack A.D. Impressive? Hell yes.

Jess plays bass and Stevie plays guitar they are similarly dressed in denim and grey and there is a cool, lean prison-yard vibe to them. Nice girls, but you wouldn’t want to mess them about.

As with the last band, I like them a lot. I recommend that you pop along to their website and download ‘Chasers’ for free.

The headliners are Norwich’s Kabeedies, who are back on the block with a new album 'Soap' to promote.

They’ve lost none of their charm. Guitarists Evan and Roary flank singer Katie who waves her arms and blows around the stage like a dandelion seed. There’s a decent crowd in to see them and all is well…

…except with me. Somehow, during the last act I have developed a cold and am feeling headache-y and tired. I stick with the Kabeedies for their first few songs and eventually concede that I’d be better heading for my bed. It’s a pity.

An interesting night and two new acts discovered for me to keep an eye on. A good return on the evening.

Sunday 12 February 2012

Niki and The Dove at Sebright Arms - 9 February 2012

Niki and The Dove (Photo: Andreas Wåhlström)

There comes a point when the growing sense of excitement that builds up in anticipation of the arrival of a band tips over into boredom and frustration as it becomes clear that the delay is not a tantalising tease but a sign of either total lack of regard or of backstage calamity.

So it is tonight.

Things had started brightly enough. This is a newly refurbished venue, deep in the bowels of East London. There is good food, locally brewed beers, a decent mixtape playing in the bar. All the nice things.

And yet the announced time for the doors to the performance area to open comes and goes and there is no sign of activity. The bar fills up with impatient people. After a very long wait we are allowed to file downstairs into a very small space.

There are commendable efforts to build an atmosphere. Everyone is handed a variety of glo-sticks and encouraged to wear them. Soon the room looks like a scene from Tron, a dark void illuminated by neon people.

We wait and wait.

At around ten fifteen Niki and The Dove take to the small stage. They are very apologetic about the delay but do not elaborate further.

Singer Malin Dahlström is accompanied by two musicians, one of them the other permanent band member Gustaf Karlöf . They alternately play keyboards or bang drums. Any band with two drummers is worthy of your attention.

It’s hard not to describe Niki and The Dove without reference to fellow Swedes The Knife. They’re incredibly Knifey. A plaintive, often electronically distorted vocal, sparse stabs of synth and thunderous drumming.

Malin writhes slowly and throws shapes with her hands. Knifey? There’s Bjork and Kate Bush in this too.

Some of the people I am with have not seen the band before. One of them asks “Is this all they do? Do they ever take off?” The answer is broadly, no. Niki and the Dove are almost permanently stuck in a holding pattern where there is the possibility that that they might suddenly shift up tempo, but they never actually do.

The single ‘DJ, Ease My Mind’ is played. It rather encapsulates the band – they are not asking for the DJ to get the party started or play a favourite song but rather to satisfy a minor philosophical niggle.

The band depart and the lights come on. They haven’t even played their best song ‘Under The Bridges’, presumably because of concerns over timing.

It’s an unsatisfactory conclusion to a rather unsatisfactory gig. Niki and the Dove are very good at what they do, but also seem very limited by it.

I set out across dark East London. The freezing rain is falling as sleet. I light my way with a glo-stick.

Saturday 11 February 2012

Charli XCX, Icona Pop, Mz Bratt at Lexington - 8 February 2012

Charli XCX (Photo Al de Perez)

There’s a strong bill tonight, but the message doesn’t seem to have got through.

Maybe everyone else is being cool in the bar downstairs, but when the first act comes on there is no one in the venue but a clutch of old guys and a few photographers.

Mz Bratt and her crew are nothing if not professional. They are full throttle right from the off and are not going to worry that their audience is largely missing.

Bratt’s rapping is machine gun quick and contains elements of dance hall and grime. I understand about one word in ten and it doesn’t matter a bit. We are encouraged to jump about. We’re so ancient that we can barely move.

There’s a relentlessly upbeat children’s entertainment vibe to the whole set. ‘Rocket Launcher’ is immense, the beats and vocal delivery explosive. ‘Selecta’ brings everything to a happy smiling conclusion.

Bratt smiles ruefully. The only thing harder than a tough crowd is no crowd at all.

Things get busier for the next act, who are Swedish electro-divas Icona Pop.

The eye is drawn to the incredibly tall and frankly awesome Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo. The third member of the band, a Howard Jones lookalike in a fetching polka dot smock hunched over a plethora of laptops and keyboards, barely gets a look-in.

The band plays a short set of anthemic euro pop and the girls give it their all, heads thrown back, eyes closed. Many of the songs are accompanied by elaborate routines incorporating synchronised arm movements.

We get ‘Top Rated’, we get ‘Sun Goes Down’, We get ‘Manners’. These are all perfectly serviceable songs that would go down well under the glitter ball. That said, and despite the obvious charms of the singers, I think that Icona Pop are probably not quite in the very top echelon of Stockholm bands.

Theirs is a popular set. As they try to leave the venue everyone wants to have their photos taken with them. It’s like watching a succession of little guys being snapped next to a giant fish.

Tonight’s headliner is Charli XCX, who I last saw here just before Christmas in her capacity as a DJ.

There is an elaborate light show that bathes the black clad singer in meshes of laser light. Even in a venue as small as this, Charli is out to make an impression.

The set starts with ‘Stay Away’, here much more forceful than the recorded version. This is followed by ‘Nuclear Seasons’, the first in a selection of more up tempo numbers which see Charli grimacing, punching and kicking the air as though she is Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

Her band consists of a keyboard player and a guy conjuring sound from an electronic drum kit. They studiously avoid drawing attention from the star centre stage.

Charli’s microphone stand has been garlanded with armfuls of scrunched up videotape and she persistently plays with this, draping the stuff across her arms and shoulders.

There’s rather an air of ‘Gothic Britney’ about Charli XCX – she’s scary, but only in a Scooby Doo kind of way and she certainly whips up a storm amongst the gay contingent of her fans.

The latter part of the set is slightly marred for us by the attentions of a hopelessly drunk young man, who, possibly inspired by the punches thrown on stage, wants someone to hit him. We decline and he falls over anyway. He’s a waste of space.

It’s certainly been an unusual evening. I’ve enjoyed all three acts even though they don’t hang together particularly coherently as a bill and I suspect that none of them are playing to their target audience. I’d happily see them all again.

Monday 6 February 2012

Queer (as Queen) at The Pipeline - 4 February 2012


There’s a weird atmosphere in London. The weather forecasters have promised an icy apocalypse for later in the night. From the tone of the warnings it is not clear whether we will get one inch of snow and some minor disruption, or whether this is indeed the end of the world and any poor souls caught outside will have to devour each other like members of the Donner Party.

I decide to risk it.

This venue is new to me. The Pipeline is a lavishly designed spacious and fun spot just off Bishopsgate. I like everything about the place, from the row of vintage pinball machines to a pool area which doubles as a shrine to Lemmy from Motorhead.

It seems quite empty in here – until you head downstairs to the space where the bands will play. It is heaving and hot and happening. My colleagues and I simultaneously double the average age of the clientele and halve the trendiness of the place just by walking through the door.

Tonight’s show is being presented by the good folks at Japan Underground. What a world this is that has such people in it. There are fashionistas and cosplayers (respect to the dude in full Kick-Ass regalia). The place is full of the vibrant and the beautiful and us.

The advertised support act is unable to make it, so their place is amply filled by a solo set from Haruna of No Cars.

Her performance takes post modernism to multiple levels. She is a Japanese girl aware of, and deliberately playing up to, the Western image of Japanese cuteness. The songs are faux-simple but razor sharp.

‘Tuna Tuna Tuna’ references both the Japanese love of delicious fish and the guilt that the rest of the world tries to lay on them for eating it. ‘Funny Farm’ (dedicated to Adam Ant) is about mental illness and would probably be offensive if it were not couched in such jokey, comic fashion.

In a nod to the headliners, Haruna gives us a snatch of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ on a recorder. It’s a great set, particularly as she was called upon to fill in at the last minute.

There’s a huge cheer as Queer, aka Japan’s top Queen tribute act take to the stage. They kick off with ‘We Are The Champions’, here speeded up to an almost punk velocity.

By the very nature of the beast, a tribute act is able to play hits all the way. It is amazing how much Queen we all know word for word.

The singer is soon stripped to the waist and employing some of Freddie Mercury’s call and response routines to interact with the crowd, who are well up for it and prepared to join in with anything.

We bawl along to ‘Under Pressure’. We join in with ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, only to be thrown when the band unexpectedly deliver the whole of ‘Killer Queen’ midway through the song.

And so the evening progresses. It’s as hot and sweaty and we’re having a whale of a time.

The encore features a classical arrangement of the middle part of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ on tape. This is accompanied by a male dancer who flits around the stage in a kimono. He gradually disrobes as he goes until he is down to his underwear.

The band then come crashing in on the final part of the song and dancer and singer, both semi-naked, hug and kiss.

The best song of the night is a euphoric rip through ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’. It’s a crowded tumult of flying limbs, inflatable guitars and snogging.

Leaving the venue I find London whited out. I head off as impromptu snowball fights break out. Don’t stop me now cos I’m having a good time…

Thursday 2 February 2012

Wild Flag and Peggy Sue at Electric Ballroom - 1 February 2012

Wild Flag (photo: Jay L. Clendenin / L.A. Times)

It’s freezing.

My desire to stay in the warm rather than risk losing body parts in a cold, cold queue means that I arrive in the Ballroom a good twenty five minutes after tonight’s support are due on.

Fortune favours the coward. Whether Peggy Sue have been huddled round an electric fire or are just a bit tardy doesn’t matter. I’m able to take my place before they arrive on stage.

Although I am familiar with the band by name, I’ve never actually seen them before. They are not quite what I was expecting.

Peggy Sue are fronted by Rosa Rex and Katy Klaw who, far from any obvious rock ‘n’ roll influence instead sing songs that borrow from rural American folk roots.

They’re very god at it too. The instrumentation and drumming is so minimal, so primitive and spare that my first impression is that the band cannot play at all. I soon realise that this view is utterly incorrect – Peggy Sue do not embellish or play a wasted note. Every strum, every beat, is no more than is required to service the wonderful harmonies.

I may not quite be in the mood for them tonight, but I recognise Peggy Sue as a very smart outfit indeed. I shall investigate them further.

Wild Flag come trailing clouds of glory from previous bands. They are billed in some quarters as a ‘super group’ because members have done time in seminal bands like Sleater-Kinney, Helium, The Jicks and The Minders. I’m not interested in their past, just what occurs in front of me tonight.

What is clear from the off is how confident and slick they are.

If this wasn’t an all girl band, I’d almost call this cock-rock. Carrie Brownstein and Mary Timony on guitar and bass respectively not only take shares of the vocal duties but often punctuate proceedings with competitive solos, instruments thrust phallically upward as they face each other. Jimi Hendrix would have loved it.

The songs are impressive and varied. If anything testifies to the fact that these women have histories in other bands it is this feeling that the music has been written by separate songwriters and then fine-tuned into something for the whole group during the playing and rehearsal stage.

There is still room for improvisation alongside the professionalism. ‘Glass Tambourine’ and ‘Racehorse’ both turn into lengthily extended jam sessions.

For an encore, Wild Flag perform a rousing version of Television’s ‘See No Evil’ – plenty of scope for guitar work in that one.

I find Wild Flag much easier to admire than to wholeheartedly embrace, which is kind of how I’d felt about Peggy Sue earlier. So not a total rave then, but certainly an impressive evening.

I head out into the night. It’s colder than a witch’s suckling equipment out here…