Live Music + Gig Reviews

Brassy @ Garage, London

1 June 2000



Who were those strange people in the very tall hats and very short… shorts? When The Garage’s doors finally opened and when nearly everyone had had the time for at least three drinks, the support act appeared. It comprised four particularly tall blokes with peculiarly daft expressions and tall ‘artful dodger’ style hats. They proceeded to screech and scream their way through an overly long set which, we were told, included their next single, called…. I Don’t Buy It.

Long before the end the general mood seemed to be one of exasperation that this “band” were still on stage, their lead “singer” standing on amplifiers and shaking his hat about. It was too much to bear. Several random people offered opinions that ranged from “if you have to have big silly hats to identify your music, your music can’t be that good” to “they sucked hugely”. Indeed, these opinions were some of the more printable ones…. anyway, we were here on Highbury Corner for Brassy, so almost anything was bearable.

When, seemingly years later, Brassy appeared, we were almost surprised to find Muffin Spencer still wearing those boxer-style shorts of hers, but at least Stefan Gordon had somewhere between The Borderline and here lost *those* dungarees. The band were here as headliners to promote their long-awaited debut album, Got It Made, so it was perhaps unsurprising that most of the tracks played were taken from said album. They launched into No Competition before cranking up the pace with the last single Work It Out and the most punky track on the album, Nervous. Muffin’s stage presence has long been a talking point, snarling out at the audience in her shorts as she does while bobbing her bunched hair about and lauding the audience for pogo-ing around.

DJ Swett (Jonny Barrington to you and I) was moving around enough for everyone, playing a pseudo-drum kit while trying to spin some toons on his decks. Amazingly he not only succeeded but did so with some aplomb. Karen Frost’s bass, up close, is even more impressive, all big and round and pale blue and Stefan’s riffs tie neatly in with her rabble-rousing notes.

The Brassy live set has barely changed since I first saw them and this is the fourth time I’ve experienced it. If you are one of those people, like I was, who would scoff at the very notion of going to see a band whose major influences are punk and hip-hop then think again. Brassy MUST be seen. Again and again and again and again. They’ve even got some really sweet young fans now who come complete with beads. Three of them scampered off happily with the advertising posters from outside the venue at the end of the evening. Several of them, surely no older than 15, had seen Brassy for the first time. “It was great, wannit,” grinned one as we all waited for the Victoria Line. “I didn’t stop dancing all night.” A perfect evening.

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More on Brassy
Brassy @ Garage, London
Brassy – Got It Made
Brassy @ Borderline, London
Brassy: “We’re the ones who write the songs, but we don’t get any of the money” – Interview