It’s Wednesday so it must be London. I don’t normally “do” London, too many people, I prefer peace and quiet. But when you’re given the prospect of celebrating the release of the Seconds / Joya split lp, plus support from Witching Waves H. Grimace and Rodents, even dedicated Northerners like me have to take the plunge.
The venue is a little off the beaten track, and is one of the many amazing art spaces you see cropping up all over the country. Reminded me of the Empty Shop in Durham City, a place for anyone to do anything without the need of big money backing or support, a place for art of all kinds to blossom and grow. Plus very friendly animals!
But on to the music. I was unfamiliar with Rodents before, and to be honest I still don’t know much more about them. 4 piece post punk with echoes of pop sensibilities, almost Joya like in places. Definitely one to watch out for.
Witching Waves were up next, playing a mix of tracks from their hopefully soon to be released second album and a handful from 2014’s superb Fear Of Falling Down (the vinyl sold out long ago, you can get it on Amazon and iTunes still) including an amazingly intense version of Barber, worth the entrance fee alone. Anyone who knows me already knows how much I love Witching Waves, they seem to get better every time I see them and by all accounts the new lp is another step towards global domination. Tonight was no exception – Ed rock solid as always on bass, Emma overcoming a seat malfunction by doing her best Lemmy impersonation and Mark throwing some guitar shapes that occasionally looked a little risky, but I’d been doing a H&S check during the day so maybe I was being over-cautious. Whatever – they’re superb and you need to go and see them, they’ll be coming to a town near you later this year (unless you don’t live near any of the venues of course. Haven’t you heard of public transport?)
Next up, Joya, who played I think mainly new songs. The lp does feature older tracks and the line up has changed recently, so that’s more than understandable. By now the room was getting extremely hot and sweaty, and the songs seemed to reflect that. High gain guitar, the songs are complex but at the same time tuneful, Andrew Doig is a tremendous songwriter and they’ve got another lp in the pipeline already – watch this space!
The sheer wealth of the talent released by Soft Power Records was in evidence tonight, and H. Grimace carried that on perfectly. I’ve been hoping to see the band for ages and looked on wistfully as they appeared to play every town in the US earlier this year. Their recordings are lush, flowing waves of sound, but what you get live (or at least on this occasion) is all of that plus an intensity that blows you away. I’d hoped they would play Royal Hush from the I Am Material ep (criminally and, if you haven’t bought it yet, fortunately still available) and that was their finishing track, somehow managing to be better than I’d imagined it could be. It was enough for me (cheesy lyric reference – sorry), for now. Can’t wait to see them again. If the world is a just place, they’ll be in everyone’s conscience some time soon.
Glasgow’s finest (with a hint of Lancastrian) Seconds headlined tonight. Whenever anyone asks me to describe Seconds I struggle. There really isn’t anything out there that makes me think “oh, that’s just like a Seconds song”. If I was really pushed the only answer I can give is Roxy Music, not because they particularly sound like them, but because they’re dong something different, it isn’t entirely clear where it comes from or why it exists, but we’re all probably better off for them being there? All the tracks from the lp were on show tonight, played superbly as always,and I think there was a couple of new songs in there too which are hopefully going to be recorded soon. When He Calls is quickly becoming my favourite, I’m going to call it post punk doo wop pop for now – brilliant will do just as well though.
A tremendous night for all who managed to attend (tube strike started about 90 minutes before the gig started), and just confirms my conviction that Seconds, and all of the bands playing tonight, are destined for much more. Thanks to all, Andrew Doig for putting the gig on and Soft Power for having a nose for talent that very few can claim to have.