So the Christmas countdown is well underway. Funds are shrinking and you’re still trying to find a girl to place under mistletoe. Sound familiar? Hopefully not. Despite all my running around, I still managed to find myself in the bunker at Nice ‘n’ Sleazy, where Frankie Rose & the Outs were headlining. All the way from New York and there’s still a Subway and a Starbucks on every street.
First up were the Midnight Harlots, a four-piece band who walked a fine musical line between primitive and contemporary. Singer/guitarist Kadie sang with a distressed sincerity, freely trading lyrics with guitarist Chris. Not many acts succeed in revisiting the sounds of the Stooges without sounding like a cheap imitation but the Midnight Harlots do so pretty well. Could it be the female touch? “She Devil” and a smart version of the White Stripes’ “Fell in Love with a Girl” were highlights of a set that will surely have convinced a few people to pay attention. Go, see!
In not quite dissimilar fashion, North American War followed. Although the use of the bowed instrument didn’t immediately work, this act - once known as La Somnambule - soon got into their stride, taking aim at their audience with an onset of moody, atmospheric sounds. Quite pleasing was the contrast between the young female singer and the apparent musical storm in which she stood. A noise band with a difference, you could say. Worth checking out. Just don’t stand too close in case you get sucked in.
Last on were Frankie Rose & the Outs, who seem to have rescued the term “girl-group” from the confines of homogeneity. Showing a level of experience that can’t be read from their looks, the girls ran through a short-lived set of atavistic pop-rock. Imagine the Ronettes - complete with instruments - playing Velvet Underground songs and you’re about halfway there. The deceptively saccharine “Candy” was the highlight of a set that could perhaps have lasted a bit longer. In saying that, a shady basement is no place for young women. Watch out for this act in bigger, better, brighter venues in times ahead.
So, that’s that. Pen put away for another night. Time to go back home and plot the downfall of big business, bankers and anyone else standing in my way. If you run really fast in a crowd, people will fall over. That’s a start.