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The Human ValueThe Human Value
Punk, London
Tuesday May 22 2007

The ever-mutating London music scene shifts again. Not so long ago it was possible to fill a club simply by playing a routine mix of house 'n' garage beatz for undiscerning punters who had bought into club culture more or less by default. But now, rock 'n' roll rules. That means that Punk - a Soho club originally conceived (under another name) as a downtown dance dive, has suddenly given itself a rock music makeover and is now putting on live bands on a regular basis. Tonight a motley assortment of beat combos is lined up to submit themselves to the revealingly temporary-looking Punk PA, but we're here for just one: The Human Value.

Hauling through London on their never-ending UK tour, the band seem to be thriving on their diet of endless motorway miles and gigs, gigs, gigs. Tonight's crowd might be, by and large, the usual random bunch of London indie gig-heads - The Human Value have not quite built up their own barmy army as yet - but the key point is that at least the band are out there doing it. Superstardom can never be guaranteed in the crazy world of showbiz, but hitting the gig circuit with a hefty wallop at least puts you in the running in a way that certainly won't happen for bands that stay at home. The Human Value are doing the right thing.

Here goes. The wall of guitar-noise cranks up, half way between a shimmer and a shudder, and sometimes both at once. Drums crash and crump, exact and ecomomical and yet filling the place with sound. The Human Value have that knack of creating a big racket from a minimal line-up, and while they're by no means the only band around these days to do this, there's a kind of steel-blue coolness about this band that lifts them above most of the other thrashers and bashers on the circuit these days.

The Human ValueVocalist Turu lets rip with her gritty punk-blues wail, a voice that reminds you of every late night you've ever had in a backstreet bar, up-ending bottles until the bleary dawn. Or perhaps that's just my idea of a good time. Guitarist Hiram conjures sounds from his instrument that guitars just shouldn't be able to make - he's a one-man sonic storm, an entire band in six strings and a few effects pedals.

The set is mostly new stuff, a somewhat academic point for tonight's audience, most of whom are unfamiliar with the band, but it does demonstrate the essential point about The Human Value: they never stop pushing forward. The assembled indie-heads seem to like it, that's for sure.

By the time the set scrambles to a conclusion, the final guitar chords clanging like corrugated iron in a strong wind, The Human Value have added a few more converts to their cause. They'll recruit their barmy army yet.

Essential links:

The Human Value: Website | MySpace

For more photos from this gig, find The Human Value here.

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  Page credits: Review, photos and construction by Michael Johnson.
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