The Ketchup Soaked Crybabies. You won’t have heard of them, at least not yet, because they don’t exist. I typed my name into an online band name generator site and it randomly came up with that. Nice.
What to call your band? There’s a story behind each one. The names of the talent tonight are veering towards the more absurd side of things, if we are honest, and you can only guess the conversations that led to their inauguration.
The Hoxton Bar & Grill, epicentre of the hipster Shoreditch brigade, hosts all manner of upcoming acts in its back room. Tonight’s organisers, Trial and Error recordings, are a small London based label who’ve been putting on some decent nights of late – tonight included.Wet Paint stroll on looking as if they’ve just been teleported from a North American backwater town with their lumberjack chequered shirts and enough facial hair to compete with the ghost of Frank Zappa. The four piece, who are made up of members of the bands Absentee and Economy Wolf, thrash out catchy and well crafted Pavement infused tunes. It Rots reminds of the Wowee zowee era with lead vocalist Babak Ganjei’s vocals starting off gently before building up to a dependable Stephen Malkmus shrill.
New single Save The Whale is soaked in poppy inflected aesthetics and their cover of Excuse Me Please has clear Dinosaur Jr influences. Their impressive performance made me want to dig out my ’90s American indie rock albums and go on a nostalgia trip.
Part Chimp, a three-piece formed in London’s delightful Camberwell, have something of a reputation for eardrum annihilating loudness. They lived up to their rep, delivering an intense and utterly captivating performance. Signed to Mogwai‘s record label Rock Action, their heavy, sludgy, crashing sound reverberates around the intimate venue with vocalist Tim Chimp screeching into the mic like a man possessed. Past audience reactions to ‘the chimpsters’ have included people being sick and/or crying, here the eager audience face an onslaught of noise with only a few seconds before the next attack, they react with furious head bopping and loud applause.
Each song erupts like a bomb being dropped and a reckless tempo is maintained throughout. Hello Bastards, with its use of fuzz pedals creates a wall of sound and final track crowd pleaser 30 Billion People with heavy distorted and unpredictable guitar solos gives a final barrage of sound to ensure all ears in the place will be ringing for days after. It’s not hard to believe they broke three amps in one show whilst on tour with Mogwai in Japan.
Lead guitarist Ian said in an interview: “We’re trying to sound louder than everyone else.” On the evidence of tonight’s performance they might well of managed it. Someone call the Guinness Book of Records.
Chrome Hoof can best be described as a mix of electro, disco, doom and funk boasting a vast array of musical paraphernalia and a hefty stage presence. Female lead singer Chloe Herington and the other nine members with names as run of the mill as Mr Custard certainly have an interesting fashion sense. Dressed in glittery pink hooded monks cowls they look like a mysterious cult from the future or extras from a remake of Flash Gordon. They surely don’t nip out to their local shop to get some fags wearing that lot, but if I see them I’ll be sure to say hello.
Trumpets, violins, guitars, keyboards and a host of other instruments are their staple diet with the audience inhaling their sounds hungrily, the die-hards at the front chanting “hoof, hoof, hoof” in between songs. The two dancing girls on either side of the stage add a dose of frenetic energy putting movement to the terse sounds of the brass, hasty riffs and experimental beats.
Their performance is enjoyable but for all their enthusiasm and musicianship you can’t help but feel that there’s not much collective coherence to their sound. It’s as if all the musicians are selfishly playing their own instruments as isolated units hoping that their collective sound works somehow.
The crowd lap them up, sounding their appreciation as the final note is played, the Shoreditch trendsters shuffle out, their hearing barely intact, having been treated to another dose of idiosyncratic but pleasing bands.