Wednesday 4th January 2017
Photos: Alberto Pezzali
When I think about those prophetic moments I heard a great band for the first time, then I often recall that quote by Lester Bangs: “They’re events you remember all your life, like your first real orgasm.” The problem is, if its guitar bands that turn you on, then your ears would have been decidedly chaste, or at least only transiently promiscuous, over the last few years. But as we welcome in the new year, Gigwise has tipped a whole host of strat-wielding young groups for big things in 2017.
I head down to The Old Blue Last on a Tuesday evening to catch two of these promising artistes, namely Goat Girl and Dead Pretties. The latter climb the stage first, and they sort of embody their oxymoronic nom de guerre – pretty terrifying, like some menacing thrift shop Stigs of the Dump. The three-piece play – or rather convulse – an electrifying 30 minute set of almost continuous distorted punk noise, as the lead singer pulls faces over it all in distressed shrieks and occasional rasping tenderness. They have no official releases yet, but if they translate even half of that energy from stage to record then you won’t want to miss it.
Goat Girl, on the other hand, already had two singles released towards the end of last year with Rough Trade and are billed tonight as the headline act. These singles, if you hadn’t heard them already, evoke a similar punk energy to the preceding act, and erupt in the conflict between their infectiously obscene lyricism and melodic delivery. The band’s set is a relentless stuttering of repetitive, train-track riffs that evokes, if anyone, the brilliance of The Fall – pulling the crowd in to a sort of rioutous throbbing inertia as the songs explode in their subtle variations and biting words.
A few publications I’ve read recently have tried to draw out a narrative of a new scene emerging here, but perhaps they’re only raging to order words of the sea. East London, good-looking bands, crowdsurfing, spotting Geoff Travis; a conglomerate of things last night seemed vaguely reminiscent of the guitar band revival of 10 years back – though on the other hand, these days the gentrified hypocrisy of Shoreditch is enough to turn your stomach. I would say its early days yet, and these are bands worth respecting in their own right before any sort of recognisable ‘scene’ emerges, but it was exciting to see them working as a collective, a reminder that guitar bands have and will always be there to rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Thankyou for reading, you can see my review published on Gigwise via the link above.