Some Weird Sin @ Buffalo Bar
Friday September 13 2013
Now here's a question. If Las Kellies can be universally
feted as the twenty-first century's answer to The Slits, how come our
very own Shopping - a band that kicks around similar influences with
equal aplomb - haven't had such plaudits hurled in their direction?
I suspect it's really nothing more than industry logistics at work. Las Kellies are on hip indie label of the moment, Fire Records - not exactly the Universal Music Group, sure, but as indie labels go Fire has enough heft to hoist its artists into the media spotlight.
Meanwhile, Shopping are scrabbling about in this ill-lit north London basement. Honestly, there ain't no justice.
But scrabbling about in basements can be fun, too. Shopping certainly seem to be having plenty.
They generate an insistent bass
'n' drums groove that's equally angular and flowing, half an invitation
to dance, half tripping hazard. The guitar pokes its nose into the spaces
in the rhythm,
prodding and needling, an entirely
un-rock style of playing that would seem downright incongruous in the context
of a rock band if Shopping were anything less than blithely confident at
what they do. The guitarist's fingers flick and dance over the strings,
the Shopping groove unfurls with a spiky grace until it
fills the Buffalo Bar, while the band exchange grins and go for it.
It's a landmark gig of sorts for The Priscillas tonight. Guitarist Guri Go-Go is leaving, and although this is by no means the first line-up change the band has been through, she's a founder-Priscilla, a constant factor in the band's various incarnations so far, and her departure can't help but be a bit of an upheaval.
But she hasn't quite gone yet - there's still one more show to go, and here it comes now.
The Priscillas hit the stage rockin', like the nightclub scene in a sixties surf movie come to life. They've got a garagey grace about them: they're all clang and fuzz and dragstrip swagger.
They look like a grrl gang off
to menace the shoppers in Carnaby Street, and they sound like a medium-wave
pirate radio station crackling through late-night atmospherics.
They go steaming into the set with a righteously punky 'Gonna Rip Up Your Photograph', all guitars and drums and take-no-shit attitude, and at once we're reminded of how effectively The Priscillas can rock out. But they're a pop group too, as they demonstrate with the Shangi-la harmonies and high school angst of 'Loopy Girl'.
The Priscillas' rock 'n'
roll garage is located next door to the poptastic soda fountain, obviously,
and the band step from one to the other with cheerful confidence. 'All
The Way To Holloway' is naggingly infectious, and even 'Fly In My Drink',
with Guri Go-Go on choppy powerchords, has a lilting
to make any beat kid sing.
But in the end, it's time to say goodbye. Vocalist Jenny Drag pops the champers. As glasses are raised all over the room she presents Guri Go-go with a goodbye cake, and it all gets quite emotional there for a moment. But The Priscillas are nothing if not showbiz troupers, and they've still got the big finish to go. So it's a headlong plunge into 'Superhero', surely the best bubblegum anthem Johnny Thunders never wrote, complete with some monster riffage from Guri's guitar.
Next time we see The Priscillas, someone else will be handling the monster riffage. And I bet it'll be good.
But one day, when the history of London's rock 'n' roll underground is written, I bet they'll be saying this was the classic line-up.
For more photos from this gig, find The Priscillas by name here.