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Big Sexy Noise
Televised CrimewaveDear Thief
Dear Thief

The Lexington, London
Saturday November 7 2009

 

 

Half way up the hill to Angel, and up the stairs to the band room at the Lexington. Tonight this authentically scruffy indie venue plays host to a collision between New York no wave, and London low life. Our headliners are Big Sexy Noise, otherwise known as the collaboration between Lydia Lunch, on acerbic vocals and attitude, and Gallon Drunk, who provide the after-hours bump 'n' grind on the music.  A marriage made in heaven...or at least the saloon bar.

So, let's get the drinks in and cast an eye over the support bands. Dear Thief do a kind of low-slung new wave art-blues, all guitar-grind and oratorical vocals, riffs and angularity. Imagine a middle-class Mark E. Smith intoning over Orange Juice and...that's not a million miles away from the Dear Thief sound. In some ways the band seem to be going for some sort of down-and-out-on-the-Bowery feel, which, it must be said, doesn't quite work, here, tonight, half way up Pentonville Road. There's a bit too much of the polite English indie band about Dear Thief to make their off-kilter musical geometry and downtown grittiness seem authentic. Why, at times, the guitars positively jangle.

We'll be staying in the indie zone for a while yet. Televised Crimewave might have emerged from the twenty-first century London post-punk mish-mash, claiming influences from Sonic Youth and The Birthday Party along the way, but tonight they seem to be in default-indie mode. The singer's blue denim jacket drops a visual hint: when out-there is subordinated to everyday casualwear, we know we won't be going anywhere too radical with the music.

Televised CrimewaveThe band turn in a set of somewhat Smiths-flavoured songs, guitars ringing out with confident indie craftsmanship. The singer, gamely trying to whip up some enthusiasm from a crowd that's obstinately hanging back, wearing politely disinterested expressions, leaps from the stage and sets up shop on the floor. He shoves himself at the audience in a bid to provoke a reaction which, alas, never quite arrives.

Televised Crimewave aren't bad, but tonight, in front of an audience that's far more interested in Lydia Lunch's low-lifeisms than English indie schtick, they're the wrong band at the wrong gig.

Lydia Lunch wears her sardonic, world-weary persona - as if she's long since resigned herself to how crap everything is - like a favourite overcoat. And yet, here and there, the coat swings aside and we catch a glimpse of another Lydia - humourous, amiable, and, tonight, clearly having fun. Although she might try to maintain her disdain - ever and anon surveying the audience with a sternly unimpressed gaze - she can't help but crack a smile as the band cranks up its bar-room stomp.

Guitarist James Johnston gets a good six-string chug going; Terry Edwards plunks a keyboard and blows a mean low-down sax. Big Sexy Noise have certainly got their crocked cadences nailed: the music has a rambunctious fighting-drunk swagger. The songs swing along as if spoiling for a dust-up.

Up front, Lydia holds court, positively bristling with don't-mess-ness. She takes verbal sideswipes at adversaries, and sets the world to rights with lyrical pot-shots and put-downs alike. Her drawled, half-spoken vocals spread themselves over the music like a half-cut film star sprawling inelegantly over a chaise-longue, but you'd better believe she's gonna demand your respect.

'Kill Your Sons', with Ian White setting up a good old tribal clatter non the drums, is a ragged apocalypse; 'Your Love Don't Pay My Rent', with its barreling, circular rhythm, is a vinegar-flavoured eviction notice with no right of appeal. Lydia's tour de force, her ultimate statement of this-is-me-fuck-you, has to be 'Another Man Comin' ' - 'While the bed is still warm,' she growls, caustic and magnificent, while old-school Hammond organ sounds skirl gleefully about the beat, like musical v-signs.

Big Sexy NoiseThe set stalks and grumbles to a close, and Lydia stomps off, leaving us with a parting shot to the effect that we shouldn't bother asking for an encore '...cause you're not fuckin' getting one.' Well, that's us told, then, isn't it.

But for all Lydia's growly sarcasm and stand-offish demeanour, there's something warm and positive about Big Sexy Noise. The band's rollicking backyard blues, in unceremonious collision with Lydia Lunch's prickly, disdainful demeanour, creates a brew that slips down with deceptive ease. And you know they're all enjoying it.

 

 

 


Big Sexy Noise: Website | MySpace | Facebook

Televised Crimewave: Website | MySpace | Facebook

Dear Thief: Website | MySpace

For more photos from this gig, find Big Sexy Noise by name here.

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