Sunday, September 1, 2013

'GiRL presents - Fake Club, The Homosexuals, Lion Face and Gang' at Purple Turtle, 30th August 2013

Ten minutes after a lecture about the morbidly wonderful world of necroplasty I was speeding up Euston Road, dodging buses, taxis and the occasional drunk tourist stumbling off the Eurostar.  Purple Turtle sounded fantastic: as did Fake Club, a band that hits me right in the part of my brain devoted to angry girl-fronted punk rock. But as I pushed my way through the doors of the club a tumbleweed gently tumbled past my boots.  Was I in the right place?  Free entry?  Cheap booze?  Loud music?  If the people of Camden are insects then this gig should be like those big blue electric buzzing things that fries them to a crisp.

There were maybe five people in the place.  Damn, it's the height of uncool to be one of the first ones here.  I got a pint and hid myself away in a corner, leafing my way through a weird book about The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn I'd earlier found at a bus stop. The music was quiet, the pint unsatisfying and for some bizarre reason they were projecting Kevin & Perry Go Large onto a screen on stage

Fortunately Gang showed up soon enough, taking the stage to a rather sparse crowd.  Gang are loud, dirty and rather doomy.  There's a hint of Queens of the Stone Age here: stripped back, grinding and slightly hypnotic riffs that if nothing else succeed in getting you to nod your head rhythmically.  They're alright, though they could use something to set themselves apart from the hordes of male guitar bands with hair over their eyes. Throughout their set I was distracted by the fact that Kevin & Perry were still very much 'going large' behind the band.  So to this rather serious rock we had Harry Enfield hilariously getting covered in fake puke behind them.  

After a bit of technical kerfuffle, the next band Lionface took the stage.  They hail from Plymouth and had jetted their way into London just in time for their set.  This was a bit more like it - a three piece consisting of bass, drums and some tantalising synths at front of stage. This is much more up my alley, slightly industrial sounding, passionately delivered darkpop. Their badass lead swooshed her ragged blonde hair, arching her back as she snarled out the vocals.  There's something slightly retro about Lionface, the synthy undercurrents feeling kinda 90s-y (in a good way), on occasion sounding like a Portishead that's kicked the valium and gotten into Nine Inch Nails.

Lionface and... uh, Ali G
This was all great and I was having a damn good time but there was a big fly in the ointment. I don't know who the hell was in charge of the projector, but they had a massive hard-on for shitty British TV-to-film comedies.  Not content with subjecting us to Kevin & Perry, he'd sadistically moved on to Ali G Indahouse.  Seriously?  So these upcoming bands trying to make an impression on us were overshadowed by Ali G cavorting like a prick behind them. What gives?  But the torture wasn't over. They took a fistful of salt and jammed it into my wound: after Ali G had mercifully finished someone decided to wind the film back to about mid-way through and play it again.  Who's employing this prat?

Fortunately, though Ali G was still looming over proceedings, he couldn't overshadow The Homosexuals.  In a night populated by bands wanting to eke out a of name for themselves, The Homosexuals' reputation preceeds them.  Fronted by Bruno Wizard, the band has been bouncing around in various incarnations since their punk heyday in 1978.  Wizard stalks onto the stage with a remarkably strong fuckoff aura accompanying him.  He's dressed like a clown's nightmare: black and white checked jacket with big rubber buttons, trousers that look like they've been dragged out of the bins behind Cyberdog and a wedding cake hat perched on his head.

The Homosexuals
The band functions more as an engine than as any display of musical skill - the beat the method of delivery for Wizard to yelp slogans and stalk the stage screaming at the audience. He works himself up into a right tizzy, lecturing us about the amount of drugs he's done (lots), how he got Hep C (a dirty bank note jammed in his nose sometime in the 80s) and living with Boy George (fraught).  It's a remarkably self-centred set, but it's alright to be self-centred if your centre is this interesting.  As he bends over the crowd, spit flying from his mouth over the skinny, blue-haired girls pogoing around the front of the stage you feel he's reached some kind of apotheosis, some unvarnished kernel of punk.  It was great is what I'm saying.

Fake Club
By this time the venue had filled up nicely, the shitty comedy had been knocked on the head and everybody was ready for Fake Club.  Only five seconds into their first single Beauty Queen I know I had to go and check them out. They sound like the bastard children of X-Ray Spex and Bikini Kill combined with the candy-coated "up yours Grandad!" anger of my beloved Shampoo.  They didn't disappoint, occupying the stage like they owned the place. They bounce about, smiling at each other with a smart as hell, easy confidence - they know exactly how good they are.

The only downside is that though the crowd has grown they're not exactly doing much.  I'm in a mood to have someone's bony elbow whack into my jaw, but everybody seems to be standing around not doing much.  The only real movement in the crowd is a photographer ferreting backwards and forwards in front of the stage stepping on people's toes and barging them out of the way. Fuck it, I've got enough cheap beer in me to have fun on my own, bollocks to everyone else if they want to play musical statues.

The highlight of the set is Beauty Queen, though a song dedicated to David Cameron complete with the guitarist donning a cardboard mask and slightly spookily posing is a close highlight.  The grin leering out over us is a nice, if surreal image.  Fake Club don't seem overly political, but all the same it's nice to know which basket their eggs are in. I like almost everything about this band; on stage they kick ass, off stage they maintain the same cocky, pouting demeanour.  In an unlikely twist they have a film, Powder Room, out sometime soon - I've got to see it!  When's the launch party?

Quite rightly the gig ends abruptly, to screams for more from the crowd.  I'm all sweaty after this much dancing and someone spilt some beer on my back, so I call it quits and head home. Aside from the godawful films projected on the wall this was a fantastic night, and all for free! Ears ringing quietly I later go to sleep with a smile on my face.

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