LIVE: The Big Moon – The Lexington 17.10.19

Joy incarnate: The Big Moon‘s sold out headline show at The Lexington on Thursday night was a playful, polished affair that left us grinning from ear to ear. The four-piece have been busy supporting The Pixies on their UK tour, but found time to debut some of their new material to excited fans for their final gig of 2019.

The band were left beaming after their affectionately dubbed “guinea pigs” responded with cheerful applause to song’s from their sophomore album, Walking Like We Do, which is set for release in January 2020. The tracks are filled with the same buoyant melodies and charming choruses as that of their debut, Love In The 4th Dimension, and are sure to be popular singles upon their official release.

Their set opened with a trio of classic Big Moon tracks: ‘Silent Move Susie’, ‘Sucker’, and ‘Formidable’. Delivered with trademark enthusiasm and superb vocal harmonies, it paved the way for a series of new songs including ‘It’s Easy Then’, followed by older material such as ‘The Road’ and ‘Cupid’ during the latter half of the set. Lead vocalist Juliette broke the fourth wall during crowd favourite ‘Bonfire’, raising the room temperature by more degrees than we cared to count.

Whilst The Big Moon’s music is undeniably infectious, it’s their camaraderie on stage that makes their live shows such a joy to witness. Juliette, Soph, Celia & Fern have an enviable chemistry; they bounce off of each other (sometimes literally) throughout their set, and always appear relaxed and at ease in each other’s company. Their attitude and their music shows that even in the darkest of times, there’s always a space for friends to come together to have fun and let go for a while.

This is proven once again during their performance of recent single ‘Your Light’ at the end of their set. Its luscious chorus and atmospheric keys fill the venue with a shiny sense of optimism, a feeling that’s enhanced by the reflections of the disco ball above the crowd’s heads. The Big Moon proved once again that they are stars in the making, and we’re one of many fans who were blinded by their glorious garage-pop light.

Pre-order your copy of The Big Moon’s new album, Walking Like We Do, here.

Follow the band on Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Pooneh Ghana

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

LIVE: Dream Nails – Old Blue Last, London 07.10.19

“You are not your job! Work is not your life!” belts lead vocalist Janey from feminist punk band Dream Nails – a validating statement that has their sold out crowd at Old Blue Last shouting back in agreement. Celebrating the release of their new single ‘Corporate Realness’ (from which the lyrics are taken); Janey, guitarist Anya, drummer Lucy, and bassist Mimi lit up the stage with their defiant anthems.

Get In Her Ears have been to many a Dream Nails gig, and we keep returning to see them for the same reasons: empowerment, solidarity, and comfort. Their songs about avoiding creepy grief thieves (‘Tourist’) and getting ghosted (‘Chirpse Degree Burns’) use humour to deflect from the stresses of navigating everyday life, but their ability to switch between the silly and the serious is what makes their live performances so vital.

Delivering their familiar and necessary chant of “women and non-binary people to the front, men to the back” three songs in, the band present an unshakable confidence as they blitz through their 40 minute set. Janey’s voice soars over the perfectly curated noise that Anya, Lucy & Mimi create, and is equally as commanding when she speaks about worthy causes and shameful statistics between songs.

Championing the cause of Solidarity Not Silence, Janey shouts out to the first support act of the night, Nadia Javed of The Tuts. She encourages the crowd to believe and support women who speak out against their abusers, and to follow the campaign that Nadia and other female musicians are a part of.

The band’s collective rage boils over during ‘Joke Choke’, a song that takes down people who think rape jokes are funny in a country where two women a week are killed by a current or former partner. It’s two minutes of frenzied guitar and crashing percussion, and a cathartic burst of righteous energy.

Much like second support act The Baby Seals – whose frontwoman Kerry described her sweat level as “bio-hazard” – Dream Nails know how to get their crowd working out. During their song ‘Jillian’, which is dedicated to cult fitness coach Jillian Michaels, the band ask everyone to squat down for a few moments, before leaping back up to join them in their poppy ode to the health guru.

It wouldn’t be a proper Dream Nails gig without renditions of iconic singles ‘DIY’ and ‘Deep Heat’. The first arrives mid-way through the set, with the crowd screaming back “Do It Yourself!” at all the right intervals. The latter closes the band’s set in furious style, proving that the band’s hex on Donald Trump and his British counterpart Boris Johnson is still as potent as ever.

With their militant mindset and knockout delivery, Dream Nails set at Old Blue Last was a reminder to all to keep fighting in the face of adversity, and to have a fucking good laugh whilst you’re doing it.

Follow Dream Nails on Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Chloe Hashemi & Emily Barker

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

LIVE: Lingua Ignota – Oslo, London 30.11.19

Catharsis incarnate: Lingua Ignota‘s sold out show at Hackney’s Oslo on Monday night was a vicious, yet vulnerable affair. The industrial/metal multi-instrumentalist’s hair-raising vocal range and dramatic performance style held her crowd in captivated silence, as she used her pitch perfect voice to sing songs about vengeance and violence.

With a set-list formed primarily of new material from her recent album Caligula, Lingua Ignota (aka Kristin Hayter) used minimal, but effective lighting to help deliver her brutal truths. Sometimes screened by a translucent plastic sheet at the back of the stage, sometimes strung up by her own hand with the wires from her lights; Hayter mastered the art of appearing calm as she intermittently screamed her lungs out. Whilst all of the songs performed were worthy of merit, her rendition of ‘Do You Doubt Me Traitor’ cut the deepest. It’s a powerful, vilifying song designed to unsettle and ignite fury, and Hayter used her operatic voice as a weapon to do just that.

Like an Anglerfish that dwells in dark waters attracting its prey with a dazzling light, Hayter used her portable spotlight to lure and illuminate her audience when she broke the fourth wall. The crowd obediently flocked towards her wielding their smart phones (naturally desperate to document the moment), but as with all live music; it’s best appreciated without the shield of a screen. Hayter’s fearless taking up of other people’s space perfectly accompanies her savage lyrics about taking down those who deny her, or abuse her self-autonomy.

A survivor of abuse and of industry misogyny (read her excellent interview with The Guardian here), Hayter has defiantly risen from these ashes in Phoenix-like fashion, and her live performance acts as proof of this. Her interrogative spotlight is not easy to escape, and her powerful voice is impossible to ignore.

Kate Crudgington
@kcbobcut

LIVE: The Coathangers @ Arts Club Loft, Liverpool, 30.04.19

Why aren’t The Coathangers better known? It’s a question that occurs whilst writing this review. Perhaps, with their self-titled debut coming along in 2006, they emerged at a time when bands were pretty uniformly all-male and ironically pro-choice band names were unheard of. Whatever the case, it’s led them here, to a smallish loft venue in Liverpool on a Tuesday, calling in support from two of the city’s emerging punk acts.

Piss Kitti take to the stage by degrees, with guitarist Dominic, bassist Quinn and drummer Daniel already onstage and set up before lead singer Esme followss. The group are joyously unrefined and uncoordinated, whilst the set is shallow fried DIY punk – all power chords and burps down the mic, shrieks and thuds. But there’s social commentary too: “We always get told off for doing this one because it’s about the lad bands round here that are absolute melts”, Esme announces before the band crash into ‘Bore’.  It’s ironic, and perhaps deliberate, that it has the best chorus of the set.

After Salt the Snail tell us “We’ve got absolutely nothing to say”, we wait for what seems an age for The Coathangers to appear. When they do, they creep on in darkness – so dark, in fact, that the gold lamé hooded dresses worn by all three of them are quite startling when the lights come up. It’s an eerie opening too, with jungle sounds and the bassless lilt of ‘Lithium’ and its tale of medication, sung sweetly by singer/guitarist Julia.

In some ways, it belies the rest of the show, most of which flits between Julia’s vocals and the gritty Wanda Jackson pipes belonging to drummer Stephanie. The set is largely taken from new album The Devil You Know, with several album track highlights that reflect the band’s duality: ‘5 Farms’, a straight up garage slammer that meanders into swing; ‘Stranger Danger’, equal parts creepy and bluesy; ‘Hey Buddy’, a maraca-backed cool AF 70s rocker.

But The Coathangers are more in-sync than in-opposition: bassist Meredith takes lead vocals on ‘Memories’, and towards the end of the set, the band have all swapped roles, with each taking a turn on lead vocals and drums. At one point, the band finish a song and collapse into laughter. It’s an insight into Coathanger World, and helps explain the trio’s willingness to go on making music, for over ten years and across six albums. “We’ve been on tour for five months!”, offers Stephanie, by way of explanation.

There’s a smattering of older tracks for the diehards in the room – the titular track from previous LP Nosebleed Weekend, its lead single and the band’s signature tune ‘Make It Right’, and ‘Shut Up’ from 2014’s Suck My Shirt – before the band close with fan favourite ‘Squeeki Tiki’, featuring Julia playing the song’s hook on a dog’s squeaky chew toy, before they strut off, those dresses flashing gold. There’s no encore, after a set with very little bantering with the crowd and no endless tune-ups. Just 45 minutes of pop-rock, garage and Runaways-style punk performed with a minimum of fuss. It’s worth its wait.

John McGovern
@etinsuburbiaego