THE STONED CROWS / DRUSILA / TIGER MIMIC - Camden Assembly, London 30.06.19
PHOTO CREDITS: 131 IMAGES
If anyone had any doubts about the next generation of bands and young musicians then tonight’s line-up on a hot Sunday night in North London should help alleviate their fears. Sadly due to the vagaries of the “revised” train timetable, I was unable to see the opening band, THE FIX.
Next up however were TIGER MIMIC, a four-piece, fronted by the petite Jess Rhodes. Described as an indie-rock band, their eight-song set comprised the three song releases from their debut-EP ‘Elephant Skeleton’ together with some brand new compositions. Jess’ vocals ranged from quiet and gravelly through the more poetic tracks to full siren as the rest of the band kicked the heavier songs into gear. Sharing vocals and song-intro duties with Jess was fellow American and band co-founder, guitarist Bram Johnson. The TIGER MIMIC set was a diverse mix of styles, reflecting the bands’ keenness for each member to contribute their own musical taste and compositions. Bassist Ben Willis and drummer George Latham were tight and the percussive harmonies stitched each track together, whatever the direction. Bram’s fluorescent pink Fender was pressed into action for most of the evening, providing a range of rhythms and solos, whilst Jess sprinkled some synth-keyboards throughout the whole show. Certainly a band to look out for if you have an eclectic range of musical tastes.
Portsmouth-based duo DRUSILA took to the stage next. I’ll add electro-pop to the indie-rock epitaph to describe them. Vocalist, synth/keyboardist, occasional guitarist and even more occasional floor-tom drummer George Robert kept the audience mesmerised with his haunting vocals, moon-walking and expressive moves on stage - and off it - when he took to the floor to sing, play and involve the crowd. For a band that has only been together for just over a year, with four singles already under their belt, they are clearly in sync with each other on stage.
The solid, catchy rhythm and then off-beats of Hugo Seckington’s drums kicking in at exactly the right time for Robert’s improvised guitar feedback or synth-pedal effect. Reminiscent of The Cure frontman Robert Smith or The Smiths animated singer Morrissey, the foppish hair, boyish good looks, trendy sockless attire and emotional gestures belie the fact that Robert is a very charismatic and talented musician. Comparisons to that other 80s duo The Pet Shop Boys are obvious, but the heavier, often improvised, compositions give an edgier, fresher feel to DRUSILA. I think they’d go down well on the outdoor stages at some of the dance-oriented festivals this summer.
Headliners THE STONED CROWS took to the stage from a more filled-out floor and immediately set about upping the tempo and rock quota for the evening. The four fresh-faced guys, with a great taste in winkle picker-style boots, were clearly enjoying themselves as they hit the first three tracks without barely taking a break, and with the only audience conversation being from lead singer and guitarist Keaton Smout informing them that “we’re the Stoned Crows and we’re here to rock and roll”.
Opening with their single ‘Madman’, the boys delivered their own blend of rock and roll and rhythm and blues with a bit of a punk-edge– think Dr. Feelgood meets The Rolling Stones with a dash of The Clash. Seguing into ‘Go Your Own Way’ and then ‘Nothing’ they finally took a well-earned rest between songs.
Drummer Bernardas ‘Bernie’ Zakaras kept the whole band going all night, combining heavy rhythms with some great bluesy drum licks and rolls, especially as they started ‘Told You So’. He was ably supported by Harry Chard on bass. The Dr. Feelgood influence became apparent as Keaton asked if the audience liked Dr.F before launching into a blistering cover of their ‘Take A Trip’. What was becoming very apparent was that this band had a tight sound and tone beyond their years.
Resplendent in his black and white striped shirt, guitarist Enguerrand ‘Ron’ Cleron was the most animated of the four, throwing his guitar around and stomping around as much of the stage as he could. I thought ‘Over Moon’ had a very commercial feel to it – which could work as the next single, followed by the lovely guitar intro to ‘Walkin’ By’. Both Keaton and Ron wrung every note out of their respective Gibson ES-355 and Fender guitars all night, both with and without the use of the glass slides that gave a lovely tone to the following track ‘Hypnotic’.
The purpose of the evening was to launch the new single ‘Blind’ which was up next and the band were joined on stage by the Meyer Dancers, who also appear in the accompanying video. With the ladies adding some gogo shimmy and shaking to the proceedings, the boys ripped up the stage with enthusiasm. Dropping the tempo slightly next for ‘Dizzy’, Keaton left his guitar and took out his harmonica to add to the track. The dancers stayed through and into the final track, the very 60s-feeling and with the addition of the Meyer girls 60s-looking, ‘Heart Attack’ with Keaton’s faithful Gibson restored round his neck.
To audience shouts of “one more song”, which Keaton said rather embarrassingly “We haven’t got anymore – but we’ll do a f**king heavy version of ‘Madman’ for you”, which they proceeded to do.
Leaving the stage to great applause they certainly delivered on their promise to ‘rock and roll’ the Assembly. These boys can go far - worth checking them out if you haven’t already.
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