It was a pretty heavy night. I’m not talking metal, and I didn’t even get wasted. No, I saw a trio of punky, bluesy, garage rock bands, headlined by the fierce Deap Vally who thrashed around and ultimately turned The Haunt into a giant mosh pit, with people willing to take their clothes off for them.
Kicking off the chaos was Brightonian space-influenced quartet, Kill Moon. The leather-clad post-punk rockers, composed of a female lead vocalist with males on guitar, bass and drums, played a hauntingly grungey set. Seriously – front girl Izzy didn’t smile once as she whined emotionally and stomped about in killer platform heels. Who’d have thought that the band met while browsing through stationery in WHSmiths?
Next up were hotly-tipped duo Drenge with their ferociously punky blues rock. Brothers Eoin (vocals, guitar) and Rory (drums) Loveless, at the tender ages of 21 and 19 have already gained Zane Lowe’s approval, with their latest single ‘Bloodsports’ being hailed hottest record in the world. The Peak District boys’ turbulent drumming and chaotic guitar rhythms twisted and turned in unexpected yet satisfying ways; once you thought you’d got the tune pegged it brutally morphed into something else. With blunt song titles such as ‘People In Love Make Me Feel Yuck’, ‘’I Wanna Break You in Half’ and ‘I Don’t Wanna Make Love to You’, you can start to appreciate their angst-fuelled style.
We went from two English guys with an attitude to their American female equivalents as headliner Deap Vally took to the stage. This feisty LA twosome met at needlework class – almost as rock and roll as Kill Moon’s beginnings. Like Drenge, they follow the White Stripes and Black Keys paradigm where one whacks the guitar and sings – Lindsey Troy – and the other bashes the drums – Julie Edwards. They swiftly introduced us to their bluesy garage rock, not unlike that of The Black Keys, with ‘Baby I Call Hell’. This raw rock and roll track instantly got the crowd bopping along to Julie’s beats and Lindsey’s distinctive howling accompanied by her buzzing guitar.
Maybe it’s an American thing, but they effortlessly worked the crowd and bantered with the drunken male-heavy audience. At one point a guy at the front tried to rip off his shirt but someone came over and disciplined him – I didn’t know that was a rule? Julie joked, “Sir you can’t show us your pectorals, you’re compromising us as women!”
Next up was ‘Lies’, another catchy track with its roaring, riffed-out force that saw Lindsey really show off her sexy squealing vocals as she flicked her blonde bangs. Meanwhile Julie whipped her curly ginger locks as she smashed the cymbals. Besides the fact that they were wearing matching necklaces that fit together to make a heart (hence their band logo), you could tell they are best buds by their so-in-synch vibe.
Things got pretty hectic when they played their memorable debut single ‘Gonna make my own money’. As soon as that scuzzy guitar riff dropped, it took one intoxicated reveller to start madly jumping about and the riot begun. Indeed the moshing never ceased from there on. Lindsey even commented: “You guys are rowdy I love you guys.”
Even through their new and lesser known material the crowd intensity didn’t fade. It must have been their infectious melodies and catchy vocal riffs such as the “La de da de da daa” of ‘Ain’t fair’ and the repetitive chorus in ‘You’re Love is a Lie’. And of course Lindsey’s intensely rough vocals that capture raw emotion – while she makes a pained sex face. Oh and Lindsey’s unfaltering rhythms – as she sits legs wide open wearing skimpy black pants. No wonder guys were getting naked for them.
As they announced their last song, they cued even more mental moshing with crowd surfing left, right and centre. ‘End of the World’ was a personal favourite with its rock-hard grit and the way it starts with a forceful repeated guitar note throughout the verse and transforms into a powerful droning guitar riff in the chorus that just screams anarchy.
Bloke overheard at the bus stop afterwards: “I haven’t seen anything that crazy since the mosh pit at Tenancious D – when we got thrown out!”
These girls will continue to bring all-girl soul to dirty rock and roll as they tour Europe and hit the summer festivals. Watch this space for their debut album.