Black / Eve White
Once more into the cellar full of strange things that is Tesco Disco, London's Wednesday night excursion into the art of noise. And here's a strange thing: notwithstanding the club's avowedly 'art' approach, sometimes Tesco Disco ends up booking bands that are...well, downright normal.
Take Miss King And The Kougars, for example. A six-piece band, crowded onto the miniscule stage like polar bears on a vanishing ice floe, they flam up a big, brassy, jazzy, rockin' brew. Every song is a showstopper, like a big production number from The Commitments. It's brash and upbeat good-time music, absolutely the right thing for an open-air festival stage on a hot summer's day, when you've got friends and family around you, and someone's just dished up the ice creams. Unfortunately, we're in a cellar under London after dark, the only refreshment to hand is a stratospherically priced beer, and it just ain't working for me.
Fortunately, things are about to be shunted in a more promising direction. There's a sudden drastic reduction in the amount of rock 'n' roll hardware on stage, not to mention an even more drastic reduction in the quantity of human beings. Sam Amant is a solo artist - so solo she doesn't have a backing band. Instead, she has a sampler and a shiny red Stratocaster, just like Hank Marvin out of Cliff Richard And The Shadows. She hits the go button, and all of a sudden she's freaking all over the stage - ripping out a mutant-soul vocal while beats bounce off the walls. She thrashes frenziedly at her shiny red Stratocaster (this, it must be admitted, is where my clever Hank Marvin comparison falls apart, for Hank never thrashed in his life) and generally conjures whirlwinds from the ether.
Underneath all the energy-bomb stuff, however, it's possible to discern Proper Songs attempting to make their presence felt. I dare say Sam Amant puts a great deal of thought into her music, painsakingly putting together a set's worth of neatly-constructed numbers...only to unceremoniously kick 'em all over the stage. That might not go down well with the Society For Prevention Of Cruelty To Songs, but it goes down just fine tonight.
Just to ensure that the karmic balance of the evening is maintained, our next band features one less instrument but one more human being. Eve Black / Eve White are a two-girl sampler driven combo, but let's not jump to any conclusions here. They take things in a different direction to Sam Amant's rampant sample wipeout. Torch song melodramas, tales of doomed romances and gone-wrong love affairs drift into the air, as blue as cigarette smoke. Although the band have just one sampler and two voices at their disposal, they somehow manage to create a full sound that expands to fill every corner of Tesco Disco's murky wine cellar - which, by the way, is the perfect venue for the band. This is definitely subterranean, after-dark music. You couldn't imagine this band on a festival stage, blinking incongruously in the sunshine. Some things just naturally plumb the heart of darkness.
On lead vocals, Eve White (or possibly Eve Black - I'm not sure if the Eves always stand in the order of their names, like Ant and Dec) recounts her low-life soap operas with detatched composure, while Eve White (or possibly Eve Black) summons up the voodoo electronics and lends her voice to the bits that need emphasis. In a way, Eve Black / Eve White are like a twenty-first century version of those sixties girl groups, who sang all those songs about moody leather-clad boyfriends dying horribly in motorcycle accidents. But here it's all filtered blearily through post-modern, post-closing time cabaret, and an almost tribal electro-beat. With Eve Black / Eve White to provide the soundtrack, dead man's curve looks good tonight.
more photos from this gig, find Eve Black / Eve White here.