A better value version of the Camden crawl, Shoreditch's one day music festival offered some high quality music for just fifteen quid. Londonist caught some bands, drank some beer and hid from the scenesters.
The Twilight Sad @ 93 Feet East
A hard slice of Glasgow cuts through the Hoxton swill as the marvellous Twilight Sad come on stage. Are there less Shoreditch fools in here or is it just too dark to see them?
Comparing a band to Joy Division is a low trick, but for the first few songs it's hard not to hear the band wading through dark swamps of sound like a resurrected Curtis, bruised with an additional haunting Mogwai-esque drag. Above layers of noise singer James Graham glares out at the audience like he wants to f**k you or kill you; it's hard to say which. The TS occupy this aforesaid fine line most effectively in moments of bubbling noisy rage or tender emotion, but during the bits in between the music seems to lose direction a little. The newer, more affable material doesn't seem to quite cut it as much as the keening guitar jam of their ball-grabbing moments.
On record they sound absolutely majestic, and it’s only in fits and starts where TS really hit their groove. Too often Graham’s bass-like howl is at odds with the wall of guitars layered behind him, particularly on 'That Summer, at Home I Had Become the Invisible Boy', where Graham slows the song down to a maddeningly stilted version of the epic album version.
Graham's charismatic visuals are more than slightly marred by the bassist, who looks like he fell asleep en route to the gig and is yet to rouse from his slumber. The sense of coherent band is thus lost slightly, but this doesn't stop the arresting, engaging sense they convey. They're a young band, and they come so very close to a great live experience. Only time will tell whether they can really match up to their stunning recorded work.
Image from turquoise boy's photostream under the CC licence
Dananananaykroyd @ 93 Feet East
Polite anarchist pipsqueaks Dananananaykroyd perform with the confidence of seasoned hardcore pros, despite their collective age being about 42. The sense of being at the coolest sixth form disco in the world accumulates as they tear off their tops, dive into the crowd, shriek into their microphones and dive for the nearest drumkit. A Les Savvy Favs for the teen market, the band mix high quality screaming pop-rock with a tearing live performance with unaccountable ease. Keeping well-rehearsed fingers in both these pies is a gift some bands will never possess, but Dananananaykroyd know how to accelerate hard into a show that impresses and enlivens in equal measure.
Image from sugicy's photostream under the CC licence
Lets Wrestle @ the Old Blue Last
And so to the Old Blue Last in Old Street. This has always been a nest of c***ts and so it proves tonight. The bar downstairs if rammed with check shirt Hitler Youths and red-mouthed, spangled, Bat For Lashes wannabes. Do they not know there's a band playing upstairs? Unfortunately, up said stairs the collected crowd for Lets Wrestle is no better. There's just less of them. The overriding question is, who are these bastards and how can we get away?
When Lets Wrestle shamble on stage their powerful grunge pop cuts right through and drowns out most of the scenester chatter. In fact, they're rather brilliant, unleashing tune after tune of heavy guitar, tight drumming and insistent base. Think Nirvana by way of Weezer. Alas, the aforementioned nest seem to want to do anything but listen to a band. The Tabithas and Nathans turn to each other and squawk relentlessly. Why are they here? They'd be as happy a V festival watching the Kooks, and yet here they are cluttering up the place with their look-at-me schtick and incessant vacuity. Escape means cutting the rather marvellous Lets Wrestle short, but the dull chatter and boisterous posing has sucked the life out of this venue. Better to end the night on the up than be dragged in the vintage shop mire with these plebs.
Photo by Lola Peach on the band's MySpace page
Words by Adam Richmond and Chloe George