Following September’s gig at The Shacklewell Arms with the driving ethereal soundscapes of Gemma Cullingford, our October installment of GIHE live saw us return to The Victoria in Dalston for what felt like a super special night filled with the best music, best people and best vibes. Massive thanks to Jemma Freeman and the Cosmic Something, KIN and Trouble Wanted, and to everyone who came down to pack out the venue and helped make it a night to remember.
Here, Mandy Bang writes a few words about the night to accompany Jon Mo’s fantastic pics…
It’s Friday night and The Victoria is packed – a glass smashes on the dancefloor and is carefully kicked aside by revellers determined to have a good time. Tonight’s opening band conjure a murky dive bar on the wrong side of the tracks: the saloon doors unexpectedly swing open, everyone turns to look up at the new arrivals, jaws drop, gasps are audible… there’s a new stranger in town – Trouble Wanted.
The London-based five-piece have just one song available on their Bandcamp page, but, when it’s the “sexy, queer exchange between Lonely Cowgirl and a mysterious dyke trucker”, it’s one hell of a special treat. Live, Trouble Wanted blend menacing basslines, dreamy guitar touches, dancing drums, sexy synths and the occasional burst of alluring saxophone with semi-spoken vocals. Lucy sings of unrequited lust and dysfunctional mother/child relationships and pistol-whips songs with loaded humour. By the end of their set they have encouraged the whole room to shake off their inhibitions as we all sing “I want you in my bed” with wild abandon!
Tonight is Ritu Arya’s last gig with KIN, who played their second ever show for GIHE back in 2019. The band dedicate the drummer’s favourite song to her and later in their set proceed to initiate their first crowd sing-along during a cover of Wheatus’ ‘Teenage Dirtbag’.
The release of the trio’s new single, ‘Soapdish’, coincides with tonight’s gig and is a melancholy ramble through a relationship that is better to be left behind, as singer/keyboardist Grace asserts, “I’m not going to change my mind”. In amongst KIN’s atmospheric indie pop, there are sparse guitar echoes which momentarily bring to mind unexpected eerie Bauhaus vibes. Meanwhile, their 2020 single, ‘L.O.V.E.’, possesses the kind of upbeat energy that demands to drive us to sunny days spent dancing on a beach somewhere far out of reach.
Our final act of the night is Jemma Freeman and The Cosmic Something and Jemma’s party look this evening is demonic jester with a touch of Jaz Coleman of Killing Joke fame. The trio put on a frantic display of musicianship with psychedelic and garage rock leanings, skipping from one catchy song into the next which throws the audience into an array of shapes.
“I don’t know what I’m supposed to know”, declares Jemma before shredding so enthusiastically a guitar string breaks. Jemma conducts the quickest string change ever carried out by a musician mid-set, whilst the bassist and drummer keep an impressive backbeat flowing. One gets the impression that this rhythm section could quite happily lay down a two-hour instrumental jam as if performing at a ’70s music festival. Jemma, seemingly impressed by said bandmates’ calm professionalism, exclaims, “I don’t really need to be here“.
Jemma’s in-between song banter hints at a vulnerable front person with an awkward confidence. Lyrics are laced with self-deprecating humour and a composition from the band’s upcoming new album, ‘Miffed’, is a tale of a bad Tinder date that involved getting locked in a park – “Sounds exciting, but it’s not good”, they assure us before dedicating ‘Lump’ to “weird and petty gay people – like me!”.
Rather than the rallying ‘girls to the front’ mantra, Jemma encourages each audience member to look behind them and to move aside if those behind are struggling to see the band bathed in orange, green and blue lighting. I’ve only ever been at one other gig where the band has been this wonderfully thoughtful (namely Dream Wife) and Jemma half-jokes that it took ten years of therapy to ascertain: “I’m five-foot two-inches tall and I’m going to take up space and be unafraid“. A sentiment that gets a huge cheer from this crowd.
Big thanks to all three of the incredibly fantastic bands on Friday night! As for us, our next gig will be at the Sebright Arms next month with a lush line-up of Breakup Haircut, Piney Gir and BCOS RSNS on 17th November. Tickets can be nabbed over on Dice and we’ll see you down the front!
Words: Mandy Bang / @mandybang
Photos: Jon Mo / @jonmophotography