For our second gig of the month, following our emotional farewell to DIY pioneers Charmpit a few weeks ago, we returned to The Shacklewell Arms to host long-term faves ARXX! Support came from incredible up-and-coming duo Fräulein and fierce new band Lusa Morena. It was truly an honour to host three such exciting bands – it was such a beautiful night filled with not only immense music blasting from the stage, but all the nicest vibes and loveliest people. And to sell out the night was a dream come true – we’ve raised another £300 for vital organisation Abortion Support Network, so huge thanks to all who came along!
I’m struggling to put into words just how wonderful the night was, but I’ve written a few sentences to accompany some fab photos, courtesy of Harry Levin…
Opening the night is Portuguese, London-based band Lusa Morena. Blasting out an immense, swirling energy as impressive relentless riffs roll out alongside front woman Bárbara’s immersive charisma, they cement themselves as definite ones to watch.
Next up, one of the most exciting bands around – duo Joni and Karsten, aka Fräulein – deliver an utterly impressive set. Having headlined for us at The Victoria back in January, it’s wonderful to have them play for us again delivering their gritty grunge-fuelled anthems. I’ve seen Fräulein live a few times now, and each time is even more incredible than the last – as Karsten’s frenzied pummelling beats accompany Joni’s raw, impassioned vocals and swirling hooks, they really are a truly unique, captivating force to be reckoned with. It’s also particularly lovely to have them on the same bill as ARXX, as I first fell in love with them a couple of years back at an online festival that Hanni curated.
To top off the dreamiest of line-ups, total long-term faves ARXX take to the stage to Shania Twain’s ‘Man, I Feel Like A Woman’. And then Hanni and Clara blast into our eyes and ears with that perfect balance of raucous energy and joyous charm that we’ve come to know and love over the years. As they treat us to an eclectic set, offering some of their more poppy recent releases alongside the grungey edge of some of their older songs, they fill The Shacklewell Arms with a euphoric sea of admiring fans – smiling and singing along in blissful unity. New or old, each track is delivered with the duo’s trademark colossal anthemic musicality as the sassy allure of Hanni’s vocals soar over immense catchy hooks and Clara’s buoyant beats and witty between-song chat. With all the colourful, empowering vivacity that you could ever hope for, ARXX once again prove themselves to be a band consistently honing and developing their sound to create the freshest, most addictive of tunes. Impossible to pigeonhole into one genre, they continue to impress with everything they do (including the surprise ‘Sk8r Boi’ cover with special guest vocalist Beth White!), and remain truly one of the most exciting – and completely lovely – bands I’ve ever come across. It’s such an honour to host them at one of our nights again that I notice silly little tears (of joy and pride) trickling down my cheeks as the set draws to a close.
Massive thanks again to the three AMAZING bands who played for us on Friday, to all at The Shacklewell Arms and to everyone who came along and sold out the night, raising £300 for Abortion Support Network. A really special night!
Next month we have another two gigs in store for you: 12th August at The Victoria with Manchester band Nikki & The Waves, First Frontier and Panic Pocket – tickets here, and 20th August at The Cavendish Arms with Australian duo Mannequin Death Squad, Maya Lakhani and Dogviolet – tickets here!
Words: Mari Lane / @marimindles
Photos: Harry Levin / @harrywlevin