There are a bunch of free gigs in London. Each week I go to three and review them.
The rating system is simple. How many beers did I buy (drink)? The more, the better.
5. Fake Turins, Shattercones and Japan Review @ 26 Leake Street, London
Wednesday, 29 May 2019
Henry learns that Fake Turins are NOT Hard-Fi beats with William Burroughs inspired lyrics.
This was my first visit to 26 Leake Street.
It’s an open-plan, neon-lit bar, hidden under covered railway arches near Waterloo station. I’d describe it as ‘organise your next post-work binge here and it’ll probably impress your colleagues’ cool.
Yeah, swathes of graffiti, skateboards clattering and kids screaming, ‘fuck off’ at each other. The bar’s also hosting an official Nelson Mandela exhibition, so there’s culture too (great excuse to miss that mandatory weekend gallery excursion).
It inspired me to ask myself, “is 26 Leake Street a bar for revolutionaries?”
Then I remembered that I knew the answer to that already:
Yes, of course it was!
Are you Nation of Ulysses? Oh well, chin up…
I was there to see Fake Turins.
The facebook event page described them as, “Nomadic Disco-Punk that blends the poetic irreverence of Burroughs with the modern cynicism of David Foster Wallace.”
How Henry inspired Fake Turins
The description quoted above has been revised.
Ahead of the gig, it claimed that the band were, “Hard-Fi beats overlayed with poetry inspired by William Burroughs carrying the modern cynicism and irony of David Foster Wallace.” Or something like that.
It’s funny, they must have changed it because they overheard me saying how ridiculous it was. Look Fake Turins, I know I’m a pretty big deal, but please stop being so insecure.
I’m sure I’d heard boasts like that before!
Who did it remind me of? Oh yeah, Nation of Ulysses, everyone’s favourite Washington DC punk band to quote when you’re having an argument about how Refused aren’t that original. You know, that band that claimed to be revolutionaries working hard to overthrow the capitalist system.
Fake Turins seemed to be describing themselves in a very similar way. But maybe they were just joking.
I mean, I don’t mind a bit of intentional over exaggeration (I’m not a monster, am I?).
Then they did sound check.
Between ‘1-2 1-2’ Fake Turins’ front-man recited poetry.
It confirmed my suspicions: Fake Turins were really pretentious (and insecure).
So, having established that this review is completely objective, let’s get to it:
The actual review
Japan Review kicked it off with some dreary dreampop; a lot to distortion and aural landscaping (the legacy of U2 lives on). Singer sounded like Thom Yorke, but the songs weren’t very interesting (no fake plastic watering cans).
I hadn’t showered or changed my boxers that day. Guess who was drearier, my boxers or Japan Review? Nailed it.
Next up: Shattercones. They promised a unique and (potentially) unhinged performance. I can now confirm that no, fiddles do not make performances unique or unhinged. Vocals like Johnny Cash come that posh guy with the double-barrel surname from the Vaccines, but those mid-western vibes might have just been inspired by the attire; they looked like they’d walked off the set of a high-school production of Stranger Things.
And now to Fake Turins.
I’d held out one hell of a lotta hope for Fake Turins.
I mean, they were meant to be “Hard-Fi beats overlayed with poetry inspired by William Burroughs carrying the modern cynicism and irony of David Foster Wallace.”
Can you imagine?
Oh wait, you probably can’t.
I’ll help you.
Imagine that song, Living for the Weekend. Now surgically remove the vocals.
Now, I know this one’s difficult, but what do David Foster Wallace and William Burroughs have in common? The former is ‘iron-ic’, the latter shot his wife in the head during a drunken parlour game and then let his friends abuse his son.
Go on, I know you read.
What they have in common is the throbbing (imagined) iron of Naked Lunch’s Steely Dan III: a rubber dildo used to penetrate the dead body of a hanged man.
So Fake Turins were going to play Hard Fi’s Living for the Weekend and read that scene about Steely Dan III from Naked Lunch.
Oh wait, they didn’t.
Actually, they sounded alright. But after so much boasting, they weren’t able to live up to the hype.
The music wasn’t interesting, inspired, or even that different.
It was just a lot of people playing a load of instruments (including bongo drums) and two guys wailing over them cryptically.
The highlight was that Charlie came.
Charlie, don’t worry, the beers are for the bands, not you.
Fake Turins: Don’t promise what you can’t deliver.