- God On My Right
Not one word of a lie, as I’m putting in my earplugs at the start of the evening, someone standing nearby blindfolds themselves with their scarf and sits on the floor. Perhaps someone else covers their mouth at the same time. Don’t be mistaken – GOD ON MY RIGHT aren’t evil, though perhaps they wish they were. At their best, this duo and the noise they make – a synthesis of drum machines and buzzsaw guitar not far removed from Muse’s Supermassive Black Hole – are dark and sexy. They’re followed by ETCHES, who are sounding fierce these days. Apart from the passing resemblance to Radiohead (not new or old Radiohead, but the same musical thread that runs through that band’s catalogue), more than one of my fellow gig goers mentions them in the same breath as Performance-era Outfit. High praise indeed.
Deathly Records’ avowed mission is to seek out the sinister, and they’ve found it in OVVLS. They wear their heart on their black, trailing sleeve. That said, even among the MIDI vocals, singer Stephanie Stokes’ delivery of her lyrics calls to mind the great alternative frontwomen of the 90s – Shirley Manson or Justine Frischmann, perhaps. They’ve got a strong aesthetic, but just as you’re wondering what else they have to help you get a purchase on the set, they drop Winter, which really ought to be a Bond theme.
Like 007, LILIUM have a great silhouette. With bridesmaid of Frankenstein Emma Heselton on bass and a backdrop of candle wicks, fluid dynamics, and glowing filaments, their gothic accoutrements are neatly balanced by the bags of charisma possessed by arch-druid and lead singer Andrew Heselton. They’ve got tunes too. A pleasing mixture of 70s rock, Jeff Buckley-esque vocals, and prog metal (step forward, guitarist Graeme Heywood) reaches its culmination in new single Disappear. This whole event is the launch party for the song, and it’s an old-school (primary school) party with party bags, pizza, and cake. As well as drummer Sam Dobbyn working his behind off, they’re joined for a few songs by guest vocalist and mistress of the keys, Nicola Hardman.
Even technical problems can’t diminish the sunny disposition of this band, who are so obviously chuffed to be in a Kitchen Street packed out to see them and welcome their new release into the world (Completely Me also gets a wild reception, before it’s even begun). By the time Chocolate closes the set, Heselton is singing to everyone atop a stack of amplifiers, and the whole room feels like it’s up there with him.