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Viva Le Link flyerViva Le Pink
Knocksville
Ruckus

The Black Heart, London
Friday November 23 2012

 

 

 

 

Pink rock at the Black Heart, under purple lights. Right, that's tonight's colour scheme sorted out. Now let's bring on the bands.

Ruckus live up to their name. They're a cheery bunch of rockabilly hoe-down merchants, kicking around a Bill Haley-ish noise - a slight surprise in itself, given that most bands in the 'billy scene tend to make themselves sound as mad and bad as they possibly can.

But Ruckus are the band you can invite to the high school hop without worrying that they'll spike the punch and start a fight with the jocks. Amiable and fun stuff inspired by the frequently overlooked poppy end of the 'billy scene - lest we not forget, back in the 50s this stuff was pop music. All we need now are some twirling bobbysoxers.

What we have now is Knocksville, whose self-consciously retro-Americana flavoured name makes the band sound like they'll be a none-more-traditional bunch. But that's not really so, for while Knocksville do knock the rock around in a suitably punchy style, they pile in plenty of tough, blues-fuzz guitar, too, which gives the band an almost Pixies-ish feel at times.

The bassist and guitarist swap instruments and vocals, the drummer keeps everything almost supernaturally tight, and it all stacks up into a fine racket. Knocksville are that rare thing - a band on the 'billy scene with an instantly recognisable individual sound.

Ruckus / Knocksville


There's plenty that's instantly recognisable about Viva Le Pink, too, especially if you've spent any time hanging around London's more punky corners. Fronting the band is Missy Le Pink, who you may know as Kiria, pink punk queen of London. Now she's reinvented herself as a rock 'n' roll diva, and tonight's gig introduces her new music to London's rockin' cacophony.

Before Viva Le Pink's rock kicks off, there's a pole dancing interlude - not, it must be said, a traditional feature of a rockabilly shindig, but traditions are there to be messed with, that's what I say. An entire venue of hard-bitten rock 'n' roll types gawp in astonishment as the dancer seems to defy the laws of physics, but then it's time to get all eyes to the front, as Missy Le Pink appears on stage in a low-cut basque that also seems to defy the laws of physics.

Viva Le Pink

The band crank up a gutsy ramalama, the guitar/bass/drums digging in like groundwork contractors on overtime, while a supercool gent in a supersharp suit - he looks like he's just stepped down from JFK's limo - honks a sax. Missy Le Pink herself commands the stage with much sass and swagger, and leads the band into a set that's heavy on the covers - a reminder, perhaps, that Viva Le Pink is a very new project - but heavy on the rockin' style.

'She's Wicked' - originally a psychedelic freak-out by the Fuzztones, if the record cataloguing stystem in my head hasn't failed me - sounds rather good in a stripped-down Viva Le Pinkrockin' version, but it's when Missy Le Pink grabs her Gretsch for some of that two-pronged guitar assault stuff on her own 'Queen O' Jack' that it all starts sounding really big 'n' bad.

It's a blast, equal parts sweat and fishnet, down-home Americana given the north London no-nonsense treatment, with Missy Le Pink playing with great good humour and plenty of attitude.

The set is short, perhaps another function of the band's newness - but better a short sharp shock than outstaying your welcome.

The rock is wrapped up, the final "Cheers, g'night!" is said. Yeah, that was a good one. The Black Heart got itself painted a fine shade of pink tonight.


Viva Le Pink: Facebook

Knocksville: Facebook

Ruckus: Facebook



For more photos from this gig, find Viva Le Pink by name here.

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