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Dice Club flyerLord Auch
O Children
Ex Lion Tamers

Dice Club @ Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, London
Sunday January 11 2009



Angular and staccato, Ex Lion Tamers are the very model of a modern new wave band. In a way, describing them as 'angular and staccato' doesn't really say much, because the woods are full of bands doing the angular and staccato thing these days. If geometry was made illegal, half the current post-post-punk scene would vanish overnight.

But although they're competing in a crowded field, ex-Lion Tamers have enough of their own chops to make an impact. Their songs are controlled explosions, noise-bursts within strict parameters, and a little interlude of melodica lends a wistlful air that ensures we never get completely ensnared by the angles.

Ex Lion Tamers, O Children

I've been a little scathing of O Children in the past, reckoning the band to be not much more than the sum of its parts - most of which previously belonged to Joy Division. But tonight, I'm more impressed. O Children step out of the long shadow cast by their influences, and cook up a roiling stew of darkly-tinged sound, like thunderclouds looming over open country.

The vocalist stands stock-still at the microphone - and then, as if someone's applied electricity to his nerve endings, suddenly twitches into action, jerking his way through some almost-parodic Travlta-esque dance moves, his abrupt bursts of movement all the more surprising after his previous stillness. It's an oddly hypnotic sight, and, notwithstanding the fact that you can still tell pretty accurately where O Children are coming from, musically, the band conjures up a heady and compelling sound, too. Even the sudden demise of the bass amp can't stop the flow - it goes worryingly quiet, much to the consternation of the bassist, who has to spend the final song fiddling with it, while his colleagues rock on regardless. Hmmm, yes. Not bad, not bad. We'll file O Children under 'better than expected', then. That's a result.

Lord AuchIn a musical mileiu more or less based around darkly angular post-punkisms, Lord Auch are the odd band out. Formed from certain snippings of Black Wire (certain other snippings went on to form Televised Crimewave), they've headed in a more traditionalist direction. Lord Auch clearly like both types of music - rock and roll, and the frontman's got the quiff to prove it.

Emoting their way through their noir-ish anthems of rock 'n' roll romance, like a Carnaby Street incarnation of the Gun Club, Lord Auch manage to evoke the coffee-bar beat culture of sixties London - you can imagine them sipping strong coffee in Soho, alternately fingering the switchblades in their pockets and leafing through slim volumes of Kerouac. And then, at the same time, the music drops hints of of 50s Americana, Tex-Mex spooky rock 'n' roll, all ringing guitar and reverb, robust crescendos and hot-rod thunder. In the British new wave scene of today, that's a unique mix.

In the grand scheme of things Lord Auch probably can't claim too many originality points, but they certainly stand out from the angular crowd. Best thing about tonight's set is the cowbell solo - I kid you not, the frontman downs guitar and goes hog-wild on the percussion, as his bandmates on bass and drums kick the rhythm around. Just goes to show - you can't keep the two-headed monster of rock 'n' roll down.

[Postscript: shortly after this gig, Ex Lion Tamers chasnged their name to Wild Palms. The link below goes to the band's new incarnation.]

Lord Auch  

Essential links:

Lord Auch:
Website | MySpace

O Children: MySpace

Wild Palms, ex-Ex Lion Tamers: MySpace

Dice Club: MySpace

For more photos from this gig, find the bands by name here.

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  Page credits: Review, photos and construction by Uncle Nemesis.
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