Powerplant / Legss / Folly Group – Old Blue Last, 11 March 2020

Powerplant / Legss / Folly Group – Old Blue Last, 11 March 2020

Impenetrable poetry with Legss, coal-powered punk and inspirations of self-doubt

Last night I saw Powerplant, Legss and Folly Group at the Old Blue Last.

Ahead of arrival, I sat in the window of the Shoreditch High Street Pret, drinking coffee and writing six (very) short stories.

I mention this, because prior to the gig I was elated with my imagined artistic credentials. Afterwards, I wasn’t.

Legss’ impenetrably poetic performance forced me to reassess my recent literary output. It helped me conclude that I’m still wanting.

It’s one hell of a thing when a band inspires that sort of retrospection.

English Literature Students Must Know Legss

I’ll start by setting the scene.

Upstairs, the Old Blue Last was rammed with English Literature students from Queen Mary. Considering Coronavirus achieved pandemic status earlier that afternoon, it was an impressive turnout. It also made me notice that the air was acrid, and the usual East London scents weren’t in attendance.

Before the first band, the crowd muttered of assignments due, lecture attendance, summer aspirations, and how often they’d been to Printworks.

Pints were swilled with youthful enthusiasm. Maybe gulped is better.

Someone even wandered around the crowd, shouting to his friends, “You know what we should do, we should buy some drugs.” Yet to realise that everyone does drugs and it’s not really worth screaming about.

It was cool to be present with a student audience though, however obnoxious they may have been. At least they actually seemed to be excited about something.

Folly Group

First up were Folly Group, an experimental, four piece electronic, punk (?) band from London.

Interestingly, they had two percussionists.

Maracas shook, pulse tubes chimed, the vocalist braaped, and the guitarist and bassist shifted scales up and down with reckless abandon.

Each song employed contrasting tempos, but the only one I recognised was Butt Not Rifle (probably because it’s the only one on Folly Group’s Soundcloud and the only one I know). 

The set was interesting, but it was hard to distinguish between songs. So I guess that means some of it lacked distinction.

Legss

Before Legss took the stage, I unknowingly stood behind a young man with a mullet and a clam-shell necklace. Who knew he’d be the drummer?

Get your Legss out

Legss kicked off their set with a poem that was hard to navigate, but made the night’s keywords easily identifiable (yes, Folly Group and Powerplant got a mention). 

The baseball cap adorned singer references the mundane against the literary and the group acknowledged that this was Legss main draw. Stories of the banal, and yet not so banal, spoken in a way that reminds you of how Pete Doherty rambles, but with better references and way, way more bite.

It was strange that the frontman’s manc accent (??) didn’t translate into his performance. Unless it was a concept thing about how poetry should only be spoken proper. Either way, it made for strange listening against the ‘banter’ between sets.

His lyrics bewildered, but intrigued, that may not really make that much sense when they’re drilled down, but they were the sort of thing that could inspire you to fear and question your own ability to write prose.

I’m focussing too much on the singer. It sounds like I’ve got a crush.

Instrumentally, Legss were an expected post-punk affair. One lead into a song sounded almost exactly like Slint’s Good Morning, Captain. Perhaps it was.

Everything worked, perhaps because it’s easier to weave bizzare concepts with words than experimental sounds.

Legss were bold, pretentious and very different.

I really liked Legss, but perhaps that’s down to me wanting to be bold, pretentious and very different.

You should really go and see them.

Powerplant

With a fill of Legss, I considered leaving before Powerplant started, but having wedged myself in the corner and suddenly surrounded by students, I was forced to stay. 

Can you see his bowl cut from here?

Powerplant played explosive, proto-punk with some electronic elements. 

The frontman had an almost Johnny Ramone bowl cut. He also kept requesting more guitar, which is in form with a Powerplant. Did you know that a coal firing power station can take up to six months to prep (clean)?

I’d heard Powerplant’s recordings before and found them flat. Not so live.

In stark contrast to Legss, it wasn’t like they were really doing anything that new, but they did play well constructed, muscular punk. While listening through all of their latest album, People In The Sun, can get samey very quickly, it was actually really electric live.

The crowd liked it too.

But I think most of them had only gone to throw beers, get soggy and inappropriately touch their friends.

Perhaps punk and metal gigs are some of the last bastions of sexual harassment.

I wouldn’t know. I was standing in the corner.

GIG REVIEW: False Advertising – Three Free Gigs #7

There are a bunch of free gigs in London. Each week I go to three and review them.

The rating system’s simple: how many beers did I buy (drink)? The more, the better.

7. False Advertising @ Old Blue Last, London

Monday, 3 June 2019

Is it False Advertising if they were definitely playing alternative rock?

False Advertising at the Old Blue Last
False Advertising pretending not to play alternative rock @ the Old Blue Last

Today, I saw False Advertising, a half female / male fronted alternative rock trio at the Old Blue Last. They were there to launch their latest single, You Won’t Feel Love. It’s pretty cool. Listen to it.

As the night’s only band, False Advertising didn’t need to do much to hold the crowd’s attention. Despite this (maybe they didn’t realise), they still delivered a solid performance that didn’t seem to lose momentum despite two drummer / guitarist switches. (I have no base comparison, but their parents seemed delighted, so I’m going to stand by that statement)

The songs were the standard alternative rock stop / start affair, mixed with some jarring hardcore rhythms and the usual discordant guitar. The lead single inspired memories of Veruca Salt’s second effort, Eight Arms to Hold You. That’s meant to be a positive. Also, it was definitely better live. They’re actually pretty decent live.

To mark the single’s launch, the band bribed the audience with a mason jar filled with swirly-pops. I didn’t take one because my reviews are totally impartial, but apparently the track’s lyrics were singed into the stopper. Sweets are obviously the natural extension of the concept art that’s accompanied a few of their singles (You Won’t Feel Love, You Said and Give It Your Worst) – yeah, actual examples of false advertising.

The rest of the performance sounded a bit more like Shudder to Think mixed with a bit of Jawbox– but less hardcore and alternative now it’s 2019.

Good gig for a Monday.

NB: If False Advertising find themselves stuck for inspiration for the next single, I’d recommend Head & Shoulders (visibly reduced flakes at a distance of 2-feet – yep, the claim was investigated in 2006 but it’s still on the bottle).

Four_Beers

FOUR BEERS