Review: Silver Rocket, Upstairs at the Garage, London, 07/01/05

It’s not often you go to a band night and every act is utter quality but tonight this is the case, and all for a fiver too. [url=http://www.silverrocket.org]Silver Rocket[/url] has been running monthly for quite a while now and last year they celebrated their 50th night by putting out a double CD with 50 tracks from bands that had played their gig/club nights. If we’re allowing compilations then it’s one of my top albums of last year. There isn’t a track on it that I feel the need to skip. All three of tonight’s bands are on that CD.

First up are [url=http://www.thesehandsband.org/]These Hands[/url], a fantastic slice of edgy hardcore in the mould of early Fugazi. The singer Andrew moves around the stage ragdoll-like, flapping his hands, the mic cable round the back of his neck screaming up into it with his eyes closed. He’s everything you want in a frontman – pure energy and totally into everything they band are doing. They open with the track they have on the SR50 compilation and then blast out full-on for the rest of the set. Their drummer is some sort of ambidextrous marvel, playing like demon, with his arms uncrossed; they have some trouble deciding when to finish a couple of their songs and the audience love it. So do the band, it seems.

[url=http://www.theedmundfitzgerald.co.uk]The Edmund Fitzgerald[/url] are named after a ship, apparently, and they don’t have a bassist: just two guitars and drums. Lina tapes up her Mustang before plugging in her pedals through a mess of wires. Yannis simply plugs his guitar into some sort of home-made heavy wooden pedal box. There are a lot of pedals there so it’s probably a good thing they have roadies! One can only presume they do it for the love or else they’re being paid in the universal currency of beer. The singer has gone with a haircut that can only described as strangely fascist and quite appealing. They open, like These Hands, with the track from the SR50 compilation and seeing it live is quite an experience. This is ‘mathrock’ and done really well, with varied time signatures, incredibly tight start/stop moments, intricate double guitar work and sublime drums from Jack. It’s hot work up there and he goes through the entire recommended intake of water between each song. There’s a long pause after the first track while they retune and the audience heckle good-humouredly.

We’re told, “This is a new one so it’ll probably fall apart,” and it does…in the first three seconds. The drummer tells them to get in tune and there’s a second tuning pause before they start back in, Jack still having misgivings, it seems. Personally I thought it sounded fantastic. There’s another long tuning pause with more heckling and abuse from both sides before they crash into a long final piece. Toward the noisy end a wild sweep of Yannis’ guitar flings the mic and stand out into the audience, practically killing the ‘band photographer’. Jack finishes the gig wiping his sweaty face against the cool skin of his snare.

The final band of the evening are [url=http://www.tw99.fsnet.co.uk]Cove[/url], another two guitars and drums three piece, though in different style to The Edmund Fitzgerald. While there are mathrock elements here, the early part of the gig is a fast, thrashy, intelligent affair: think “In A Minute” by Shellac. They have the distinction (in my mind) of one the greatest song names ever in “Thelonius Monk vs Melodious Funk”. There’s a strong sense that the band are actually improvising half the set and if that sounds like a criticism it isn’t, because everything just feels fresh. The two guitars are very different in both sound and style, and while you might think the odd 70s ‘rawk’ riffing would be out of place here, the wild bends and power sit perfectly over the regular, sharp, angular sound provided by the other guitar. This is really something special and once more we’re presented with some of the best drumming I’ve seen in a long while, they guy managing to put in some truly heroically inventive drum patterns and heavy beats: That orange perspex snare drum really sounds good!

With that over the club night starts in earnest, but I have a busy day tomorrow so slope off home before the tubes end. I’ll have to return next time and fill out one the rather cool slips that lie by the mailing list: “Please play … and I promise to dance like a mad thing.”

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One Response to Review: Silver Rocket, Upstairs at the Garage, London, 07/01/05

  1. Anonymous says:

    sounds like i wudda loved that gig, lovvly review x

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