Sunday 25 May 2014

White Lung, Autobahn, Claw Marks at 100 Club - 22 May 2014

White Lung

Such is the plethora of events in London, and such is my lack of coordination, that at one time or another I have had three different tickets in my hand for three different gigs played this evening.

Now the dust has settled I am glad to be in the 100 Club for an evening of raucous fun.

Kicking things off are Claw Marks, a fine, fine band and a photographers dream. Not only do they play the sort of ridiculously fast and brutal punk that makes your blood sing, but they benefit hugely from a singer who can barely contain himself.

Barefoot, the better to obtain purchase on speakers and drum kit, this bearded wonder is a lithe and lewd homunculus, thrusting his groin at the crowd and screaming fit to burst. He flails about, crawls on the floor, attempts to strangle himself with his microphone and generally makes sure that even if a foolish spectator isn’t keen on the band, they won’t be able to take their eyes off them.

The rest of the band are fast, furious and quite prone to leap off the stage themselves. They are more fun than a big helium balloon filled with sparkles.

With the name Autobahn, I was initially expecting something synthy and po-faced from the next act. Not a bit of it. These guys from Leeds rock like the demon seed of Satan himself.

Singer Craig Johnson is having himself a night. He sings in a throaty roar that rasps the ears of the whole room.  At the end of each burst his eyes go out of focus and he silently mouths imprecations. I had originally thought that he was drunk and angry, but it becomes clear that he is in pain, and that this performance is killing him. It’s appropriate that one of their tracks is called ‘Seizure’.

Johnson’s discomfort adds a frisson to what is already a great show. The songs pummel along at a 100 mile an hour clip, nothing out of place. Autobahn are slick, assured and very impressive indeed. I’ll certainly make efforts to see them again – and I wager it will be in a bigger venue than this.

White Lung hail from Vancouver and are loud, chaotic and a lot of fun. They don’t have many tunes that grab you from the get go, but they make up for this with the sheer momentum that they generate.

Singer Mish Way bawls and tramps around the stage, in good spirits, pausing to bend over and shriek. She’s chatty and pleased to snaffle drinks proffered by the crowd.

At her side, bassist Hether Fortune is dressed in an Eighties power dress and jumps up and down. The noise the pair make is awesome.

Kenneth William stands to one side, his intricate guitar work lending some subtlety to proceedings. He gently prods Way back towards the front of the stage if she gets too distracted.

Drummer Anne-Marie Vassilou has a wonderful longsuffering air about her of being the band member responsible for keeping things moving forward. She has the resigned determination of a librarian asked to catalogue a book about penises.

White Lung are loud, sprawling and hugely entertaining. They don’t do finesse, but sometimes a bloody good racket is all you want to hear.

Tonight I could have gone to three gigs. One was cancelled, one I sold my ticket for, and one I attended. I made the right choice.

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