Round here, we like both types of music - rock and roll. And who better to hurl some of that good old noise at our heads than Devilish Presley?
This is what happens when you filter classic rock 'n' roll Americana through some take-no-shit East London attitude: you get a musical hot-rod with no brakes. In the close confines of this little basement venue, Devilish Presley go off like a nail bomb. It's loud and mad and fast fast fast. The guitar scythes out of the PA, the bass throws punches like a rugby scrum getting out of hand. The drums set up a clatter like someone's just knocked over Top Cat's trash cans. Wait a minute - drums? Yes, drums. After making their name as beat box rockers, Devilish Presley now have a real live human being walloping real live drums. Johnny Navarro and Jacqui Vixen are now joined by Ragborn Rosy (who's a bloke, lest there be any confusion) who keeps the rhythms rattling by means of a minimalist stand-up kit. This, I suppose, gives the band the full line-up the rock crowd demands. No matter how effective your beat box programming might be, the fact remains that if you want to make it in the world-o-rock it helps if you're seen to rock. And that means getting a drummer in. But we're not talking Phil Collins here: Devilish Presley's beats are still as stripped-down and driving as ever, and so are the songs. 'She's Not America' is a bile-fuelled blast; 'Billy Rattlestick', the world's first Shakespearean tribute set to a rock 'n' roll beat, screeches like burning rubber on the drag strip. There's even a sudden stage invasion by a PVC nun. 'This is Sister Superfluous,' remarks Johnny. 'We stole her from The Damned.'
The three-piece Devlish Presley certainly kick up a fine racket, and tonight's audience - a motley crew of rockers if ever I saw one - digs it mightily. And indeed the audience tonight is a very varied lot: the days when Devilish Presley played most of their gigs at deathrock clubs to a crowd of bemohawked goth-punks are long gone. I think the band realised that there's limited mileage - and a distinctly linited audience - in being a 'scene band'. If you want to get ahead, the only way to do it is to get out there and play to everybody.
One thing's for sure: since Devilish Presley quit the deathrock scene, they've never stopped touring, which illustrates just how many more opportunities exist for bands which are prepared to vault the barriers. Good rockin' tonight...and tomorrow night, and the next night, and the next. If you don't want to stop, you don't have to stop. On tonight's evidence Devilish Presley have certainly nailed their accelerator to the floor.
For more photos from this gig, find Devilish Presley by name here.